You are not alone. We have sat in your seat, and we feel your pain. Right now, everyone has the cloud of uncertainty hanging over their heads.
Here is a brief insight into what the Managed Service Provider Industry is currently experiencing, what to do about the ticket backlog, and how to track what remote Techs are working on.
COVID-19 Effects on the IT MSP Industry
Depending on how close you are to a Virus hot spot, Customer preparedness and the resiliency of the Support Team determines what you may be experiencing.
For example, here in the States, the President declared a national emergency on March 11th. The following Monday, which is when most workers started working from home, Ticket Creation counts spiked. The range of increased requests was anywhere from 13% to a whopping 80%.
Some MSPs spiked the week before and by the end of last week the weekly range was between flat to 100% above average. A few MSPs have a Customer base hit so hard by the Work-From-Home order, their ticket creation level actually went down – think Customers who are predominately car dealers, restaurants, or other retail.
The spike has hit different MSPs on different days, but in general, this week is trending better than last, except for the ticket backlog.
Dealing With Backlog Tickets at Your MSP
When time permits, here is how to address the burgeoning ticket backlog…
In preparing to write this article, we reviewed our article from December 6th, “6 hacks to addressing the Ticket Backlog.” To be sure, that article seems light in comparison with what we are dealing with now.
These are our recommendations on managing the current Ticket volume in the midst of all the chaos:
1. This truly is an all hands on-deck situation (even though we strongly advise to avoid these situations).
2. Appoint someone as an expeditor. What follows are the guidelines to get through the situation, but some requests need to be done anyway, and when that happens, someone needs to decide how.
3. Separate requests from Managed Service Customers and non-Managed Service Customers:
- Let Account Managers know that Managed Service Customers come first due to “Contractual Obligations.”
4. Redefine what is a backlogged ticket by creating a widget or report that looks at all open tickets (based on priority) more than:
- Critical: 1 day old
- High: 2 days old
- Medium: 3 days old
- Low (and all other priorities) not scheduled
5. Have the Expediter Re-triage the backlog tickets. Some will be important enough to push back into the Service Delivery workflow. Others can wait due to everyone working from home. The rest will need to wait until there is enough bandwidth to start catching up.
6. Prioritize all Projects, Installs, and any other service request requiring onsite as the lowest priority (Low, Standard, Normal, Project etc.). Put them on hold, with a due date of more than 30-days out.
By then there is a chance that some workers will be returning to work from the office. Still others will never return, as the Work-From-Home model, once in place will prove to be very advantageous to the Business and to the Employee.
From here, the 6 hacks of how to address the ticket backlog make more sense:
- Review all incidents over 30 days old to determine if they are still needed – if so, schedule time to remediate.
- All Service Requests that are over 30 days old, schedule.
- Afterhours Ticket killing party.
- Wednesday afternoon ticket killing party.
- Pizza and Beer on Friday afternoon ticket killing party…practicing social distancing, of course 😉
- Select the 5 oldest backlog tickets reported and collaborate on how to get them completed this week. Continue keeping up and addressing the oldest 5 tickets week after week, and in time, you will be caught up.
How to Track Remote Tech Productivity
As we talked with Service Managers and what they are currently facing, one of the major concerns we’re hearing is how to manage techs working remotely.
It is easy to say “Just look at the hours they are putting in” – but how many of those hours are buried in a Managed Service contract ticket where the hours worked often times is overlooked?
In an effort to help Service Managers manage remote Techs, especially during this time, we are providing an Autotask Live Report mockup that looks at Techs’ productivity. It is difficult to review a high volume of tickets on a daily basis, but a Live Report can quickly be scanned to show several key pieces of data:
- Start time of each time entry turned in during the day
- Duration of hours
- Summary notes in the ticket
While it is still not easy, it is possible to scan the report, looking for gaps, unusually long-time entries, and summary notes that do not match the Technician’s effort.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about how you’re coping in the rapidly evolving COVID-19 era. Share your stories, dilemmas…anything that comes to mind. As always, we’re here for you – and together – we WILL find innovative ways to transform this chaos into Zen.
p.s. If you need to talk or brainstorm a situation, book a FREE 30-minute coaching call with Steve – we are here for you.