A great service manager makes sure service work is being done, clients are happy, and techs are working hard without getting burned out. In other words, a great service manager can have a significant impact on the financial situation inside an MSP.
There are several ways a service manager can directly affect the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow of the business every month. Here are five things a service manager can do to help create strong financials.
1. Close projects
Projects that sit at 95% complete—waiting for that last little bit to be tested or finished—are a killer. Not only do they sit on the board screaming “not done yet,” they usually represent a lot of billable time that’s been spent but not realized as invoiced work.
Get them done!
Get the bill out the door and to the client. Remember, the client usually has 15 or 30 days to pay the bill after they get it. It’s quite possible you’re not getting paid for work up to 60 or 70 days after it happens, and that kills cash flow.
2. Close service tickets
Similar to projects that sit just shy of the finish line, tickets with a few hours on them that sit in some status for days, weeks, or months are just plain bad. Even if you’re all managed services, an incomplete ticket is at best a loose end with a client, and at worst a nagging, ongoing problem you haven’t put to bed.
If the work is for a time-and-materials client, these tickets represent money—cash that’s owed to your company. You’ve already covered the delivery costs because you’ve paid your techs.
The longer these tickets stay open, the greater the chance you’ll have to eat all or some of that time. Who wants a bill for something that old?
3. Leverage your RMM tool to script and automate tasks
Too often we see RMM tools used as an expensive remote-control tool that generates daily noise. If that’s the case with you—stop!
Dedicate time and resources to getting a handle on your tool’s monitoring and alerting so it isn’t generating unnecessary noise. Going beyond that, find a way to build out your scripting and automation to take care of recurring issues.
Becoming proficient in your RMM tool is one of those things for which it’s hard to dedicate time. But you won’t get the full benefits of the tool, and certainly won’t be able to leverage it to minimize staffing needs, until you make it a priority.
4. Train your techs to think, “Should I fix this problem?”
I frequently see technical staffs solving problems that really should be eliminated by replacing the equipment involved.
Until you get mature enough in your account management, your techs are the frontline in recognizing when something should be replaced, not fixed. Make it a cultural thing in your service department to ask the question: “Should we fix this or change the environment?”
If that answer is to change the environment, inform your clients—because it’s an opportunity to make a sale.
5. Track where your techs spend time
And be deliberate about the time not spent on client-facing issues!
Human nature is to look for an easy way out. Left unchecked, techs will bury time on managed services agreements (which hopefully you have a handle on). Then, if you let them, they’ll take any unbillable time and throw it into the admin bucket.
All your techs will have some time that’s not billable. Manage that closely and know where the time is being spent. Are they training? Doing research? On Facebook?
Set up your PSA tool and watch the categories so time that should be used helping clients (billable time) isn’t leaked away and stuffed into the admin bucket.