What does it take to manage all open tickets and drive tickets from new to completion beyond the dashboards?
Collaboration and Reporting.
When the ticket backlog grows significantly more than 20 tickets per Tech, just managing the dashboards might not bring the backlog down. It may take a Service Manager stepping up and pulling the whole Service Delivery Team together to address the problem.
What is a ticket backlog?
It is a combination of ticket groups that are not meeting expectations:
- Incidents, quick hits, and minor service requests over 7 days old
- Major Service Requests and Installations more than 30 days old
Note: In other words:
- For tickets that fit into the Ready to Engage widget, any ticket over 7 days old.
- For tickets that need to be scheduled in a calendar, any ticket over 30 days old.
If an MSP is dealing with a ticket backlog, our recommendation is a Wednesday afternoon backlog ticket killing session.
The session starts first thing Tuesday morning with a backlog ticket report. The report contains all Incidents, Quick Hits, and Minor Service Requests over 7 days old, and all Major Service Requests and Installations over 30 days old.
An efficient way to drive collaboration at your MSP
Our experience is, as soon as the report comes down (mostly because the Techs know that tomorrow afternoon they will be on the spot), tickets start getting closed.
The ones that do not get closed drive collaboration conversations throughout Tuesday as to what it will take to complete the request the next afternoon. This is a very efficient way to drive collaboration because the escalated Technician has all day to:
- Get up to speed
- Think through solutions
- Figure out how to communicate back to the original Tech what to do
Then shortly after 1 pm the next day, there is a quick mentoring session and the ticket gets closed with all objectives met, except the SLA.
All hands-on deck to tackle those tickets…
When Wednesday afternoon rolls around, it is all hands-on deck. All projects and other scheduled work plans are suspended for the afternoon. One person is on standby for Critical/Severity–1 requests, but the rest are focused on closing all tickets over 7 or 30 days old.
Here the Service Coordinator is instrumental in facilitating the session and running things to ground with the Customers. They can also take responsibility for all waiting tickets in the report:
- Waiting Customer – call the Customer to be sure they know the Techs are waiting on them, gather the information the Tech needs, and get it in the ticket.
- Waiting Parts/Materials – track down the ETA and schedule the Tech to engage the two days after the arrival date. This gives time for small shipping delays as well as time to check in the material.
- Waiting Vendor – contact the vendor and schedule collaboration time.
As mentioned, the key to the Wednesday afternoon ticket killing session is a Tuesday morning report. Reports (in general) are key to a Service Coordinator staying on top of their game.
By the way, one MSP we know is using this system every week and has no Incident tickets more than 14 days old. Is this true for Your MSP?
SLA Performance Report:
The SLA performance report is like a Service Coordinator’s grade card. I still remember carrying mine home to my parents three times a year as the elementary school doled them out.
My guess is that today, it is all online and parents need to login to check out how their kids are doing. That is a shame! Standing there with grade card in hand and reaching out to give it to my parents was one of the most terrifying or joyful times of my childhood, depending on how much of myself I had been.
Now hear us out. The intake process (Triage/First Response) is squarely on the shoulders of the Service Coordinator. But if we expect them to drive all tickets from “New” to “Complete” then shouldn’t the Tech Engagement (Resolution Plan) and Completion (Resolve) also be on them? Just say “Yes”. Therefore, the SLA performance report is their joyful report card.
Scheduled Tickets with no Future Service Calls:
You’ve heard us say many times that all Major Service Requests, Installations, Projects, and Recurring Scheduled Events need to be scheduled.
The dashboards show which Service Calls are coming up over the next 30 days, but what about the ones that are in the past with no future service calls?
It is easy to show Service Calls in the past, but it’s not as easy to show if the last Service Call on the ticket is in the past. This takes a Live Report (sorry Connectwise, Dashboards and Live Reports are two of the reasons why we are Autotask Raving Fans).
Project Availability Forecast (PAF) report:
If you have the Datawarehouse and a SQL report writer available, there is a way to automate this report and display it on the Intranet. If not, there is a way to write it as a live report. When used with ticket UDFs, there is also a way to color code the report as to what type of schedule each service call is.
However, just knowing how tight the schedules are over the next 3 days (hourly view), 3 weeks (daily view), or 8 weeks (weekly view), is highly valuable to a Service Coordinator.
The report not only comes in handy as a sales tool to close opportunities today rather than later, or to the Service Manager as they balance the Sales Pipeline with Staffing levels (yes, you can project out far enough to hire in time to meet demand), but also to the Service Coordinator.
The PAF report speeds up the where to schedule decision and is easier to read when on the phone with Customers than the Dispatchers Calendar.
The Dispatchers Calendar remains the bible as to what Techs are doing when, but with report in hand, the Service Coordinator has a wealth of information at hand:
- Who is available and when
- How much availability there is over the next 3 days, 3 weeks, and beyond
- The best time to schedule the next project
- When there have been too many floating holidays approved
…All issues a Service Coordinator deals with on a daily hourly minute by minute basis.
If by now you still do not see the value in having a Service Coordinator, please call my associate Carol. As those who have attended the weekly Autotask/Datto RMM Ask the Expert calls can attest to, she will give you an earful.
If by now you have more than 3 Techs and are having a hard time justifying the position, call me. I’m happy to run the numbers with you.
How do we know? Because we have 22+ years of Autotask System Administration and Service Coordinator/Manager experience on staff. Which is another way of saying we have been there and done that.