Stephen D Buyze

“Empowering Managed Service Providers to Increase Profit”

From Chaos to Zen in Just 45 Days. This is How You Do It

Wow, how does it feel to have all  IT Customer Requests segmented into one of these four workflows?  

  • Incidents 
  • Service Requests 
  • Project Management 
  • Recurring Visits 

Pretty great, huh? 

One Managed Service Provider (much like yourself) saw that once their requests were segmented, the implementation of this Technician Dashboard helped transform them from Chaos into a Zen environment in only 45 days.  

Click here to gain access to the Recommended Technician Dashboard how-to build guide

Now, let’s dive a little deeper and give you the full overview of exactly how this MSP achieved their Zen environment… 

 From Chaos to Zen: A Case Study 

We met on July 13th. The situation they outlined was a mire of chaos concerns: overrun by Customer requests, Project Management, Sales to Service Delivery Handoffs, moving from a Break/fix to Managed Service model, SLA’s, Automation…in other words, the normal stuff. Techs not knowing what to do next topped the list. 

We went to work, collaborating first on Market Segmentation and then onto dashboards that help, rather than making matters worse. On August 21s– just 45 days later – during our regularly scheduled IT Service Delivery Optimization conference call, it was reported that by noon, the Techs had caught up. The next SLA due was tomorrow, and they were wondering if they should keep working on their Ready to Respond list, or if there was something else that they should fit in. 

Wait a minute, just over a month earlier they were being overrun with tickets, not knowing what to work on next, the open to close ratio was upside down, and as was soon to be determined, more open tickets were floating into black holes than anyone realized. 

What happened What made the difference?   

The answer was simple & consisted of these four steps: 

  1. A mindset shift to Customer Request segmentation. 
  2. Adding priorities and dividing the segments by priority and sub-priority. 
  3. Reconfiguring the SLA module to manage all non-project and non-recurring tickets. 
  4. A Dashboard that made sense: 
  5. Clarity on what they needed to work on next. 
  • Visibility into what may disrupt them at any moment. 
  • When they were scheduled next, so as to park what they were working on. 
  • Other Team collaboration information such as: 
  • Who is off today? 

         – Who else has the Customer has responded to(in case they were off or not available)? 

         – What is going on in the Triage queue?   

         – And last but not least – what is their current performance level? 

The Key to Zen? The Technician Dashboard! 

**The Technician dashboard that was developed for this MSP is in the screenshot below. Instructions on how to use it will be discussed in the rest of the article. ** 

The goal is to provide a holistic view of everything on your plate, including what is most important for you to be working on, with an awareness of everything else that may become front and center at a moment’s notice. 

Ready to be Resolved widget 

In the top left corner is the most important widget – “Ready to be Resolved.” This widget is your primary worklist. It lists all of the tickets that need to be closed in an SLA priority order. If you do nothing else but work on these requests from the top down, you will be doing your job. 

Waiting Status Tickets widget 

When a ticket that’s assigned to you is put into a waiting status (Waiting Customer, Waiting Vendor, Waiting Parts, etc.), the SLA clock is paused. The pausing of the clock removes the Next SLA Event Due date/time. This then drops the ticket to the top or bottom of the Ready to Resolve widget and is therefore out of priority order. For this reason, we move the ticket to the Waiting Status Tickets widget and prioritize the order by Last Activity Date.  

Please monitor this Widget, and if the Last Activity Date is more than a few days old and the Customer has not yet responded, pick up the ticket to see what you can do to move it along. (For example: ping the Customer, check on the parts, ping the vendor, etc.)  

If you know when the response you are waiting for is coming in, feel free to move the status to “On Hold” and change the due date to when you expect the response. This will move the ticket out of Waiting Status and when the due date is reached, it will be put back in the Ready to Resolve widget. 

Service Calls Scheduled 

This is a list of the next Service Calls on your calendar. They may be on-site or remote engagements, but they’re also times promised to the Customer. Keep an eye on the widget and adjust your Ready to Resolve engagement so when the appointed time comes, you can easily disengage from the Ready to Resolve widget and engage on the scheduled service call.  

Don’t worry about open scheduled tickets with no future service calls. These are on the Service Coordinator’s dashboard, and they will be reaching out to ask about rescheduling, contacting the Customer, or asking you to document, finish the time entry and close the ticket. 

Out of Office this Week 

This widget provides an awareness of who is working and who is not. The idea is to save you time, so you aren’t tracking down someone who is unavailable. Also, if you are aware of work that needs to be done, but the person assigned to the work is off, it gives the team an opportunity to respond in advance, rather than when something goes haywire. 

My Open Tickets 

This widget is the one place where every non-recurring ticket that is assigned to you can be accounted for and accessed.  

Total: 

It depends on your operations how many open tickets are manageable at any one time, but in general, less than 20 is the norm. If the number is over 20, work with the Service Coordinator to close the 5 oldest tickets today or this week to get the amount down. Of course, this assumes you can keep up with the new tickets that are flowing into the Ready to Be Resolved widget.  

Overdue: 

These are past due, so not much can be done to keep from disappointing the Customer. The best thing to do is to keep the number from growing by focusing on the Ready to be Resolved widget and to work with the Service Coordinator to close the 5 most overdue tickets. 

Open Critical: 

Critical Customer Requests have a different protocol (SOP) than any other request. While an all-hands-on-deck approach is too disruptive to the operation, making sure everyone is aware that a Critical Customer Request has come in goes a long way to expedite service to the Customer. Unless you are the designated go-to person for a Critical request, or in a good place with the rest of your responsibilities, continue focusing on the Ready to Be Resolved widget, but be prepared to be disrupted if needed. 

My Customer Responded to Tickets: 

At any time, a Customer, Vendor, or Parts delivery may respond to a ticket in waiting status (there is a first time for everything). When this happens, the ticket is moved to the Ready to Be Resolved queue.  

This sub-widget serves two purposes: 

  1. It alerts you that a response has come in. 
  2. It provides easy access to the ticket by clicking on the number in the circle. 

All Customer Responded to Tickets: 

This sub-widget alerts you that a Customer has responded to any ticket. If no one is on PTO, continue focusing on the Ready to Be Resolved widget (are you noticing a theme here?). If someone is off, you may want to click on the number in the circle to check and see if the response is for someone specific. 

Team Hours Worked This Week 

This is a collaborative, positive, habit-forming widget. It is a subtle reminder if you have not put any time in yet today, or even worse, yet this week. It also provides you an opportunity to be a good team member and encourage the rest of the support team to get their documentation and time in on a real-time basis. 

Projects 

This is a list of tickets or tasks assigned to you. When to work on them should be in the Service Call Scheduled widget, but this gives you easy access to where you need to put your time and other notes in. It is prioritized by the due date, but that does not mean it is in the order the projects need to be worked on, just the order they need to be completed in. 

Next SLA – Triage (First Response) Summary: 

No action item here for you, unless you are covering the Triage queue. If you are covering the Triage queue, then this widget takes priority over the Ready to Be Resolved widget. New tickets or other tickets needing Service Coordination will be accounted for here.  

Assigned / Completed Ratio over the last 3 Months: 

This widget shows the short-term trend of the Technicians’ volume of work as well as whether or not he is addressing the total Open Tickets number. At the very least, they should be focused on closing more tickets this month than what was assigned to them. It would be even better if this month they closed more tickets than the previous two months. 

Next SLA – Tech Engagement (Resolution Plan) Summary: 

The Next SLA – Tech Engagement widget details the open tickets assigned to you and which ones are coming up on the Tech Engagement SLA Due list. By focusing on the Ready to Be Resolved list, hitting SLAs should happen naturally. This widget is provided so that when time permits, you have a glimpse into what is ahead of you.  

Next SLA – Completion (Resolve) Summary: 

The Next SLA – Completion widget is worth knowing about because it shows the open tickets assigned to you as well as which ones are coming up on the Completion SLA Due. By focusing on the Ready to Be Resolved list, hitting SLAs should happen naturally.  

My Aged Tickets 

This is such a handy widget. The number of tickets reported should match the Open Tickets widget / Total sub-widget number. It displays the Total open tickets spread across the last four weeks and more, providing an indication of how old some of the tickets are. 

On Hold – non-widget 

There is a ticket queue where on-hold tickets are placed out of your current view. This is on purpose and provides a place to put non-project tickets where engagement is off into the future, mostly due to the Customer’s request.  

By putting the ticket status equal to On Hold and setting a future date, Workflow Rules will move the ticket from view and return it to the Ready to Be Resolved widget when the due date arrives. Rest assured, the Service Coordinator has a widget showing all tickets that are on-hold. 

Click here to gain access to the Recommended Technician Dashboard how-to build guide

Coming up next: 

Stay tuned for next week’s article where we take an in-depth look at the recommended Service Coordinator dashboard. In future articles, we’ll cover these dashboards:  

  • Service Manager (Team Performance)  
  • Project Manager (Team availability, utilization, and project status)  
  • Owner’s Service Delivery (metrics that matter)  

 

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