A new year means an opportunity to start fresh. Whether you’re determined to succeed in a new service desk manager job or you’re looking to improve your game in an existing role, it’s always good to get some tips from those who’ve been there and done that.

Here are eight tips from experienced service desk managers to help you make the most of your fresh start and flourish at your MSP.


Deep dive into client information

“When starting as a service manager for an MSP, one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself is to spend time becoming familiar with your client base, being aware of common issues, as well as being familiar with any third-party applications. Client familiarity goes a long way, and knowing things like the email host, ISP, and network setup can cut troubleshooting time drastically and build a more positive relationship with the client.”

Jason Cooley, Support Services Manager, Tech Experts
Jason Cooley
Support Services Manager, Tech Experts


Delegate technical work

“As a new leader, it’s sometimes hard to resist involvement with every technical issue your team faces, but your team will never grow or challenge themselves if you work the issues for them. Give them the tools to be successful by meeting regularly to get feedback and ask questions about projects and roadblocks. Set small weekly goals with your team and celebrate their victories—a genuine thank-you works wonders.”

Chris Warnick, Service Desk Manager, Vision Computer Solutions
Chris Warnick
Service Desk Manager, Vision Computer Solutions


Don’t “fix” processes you aren’t used to

“You may witness a process that makes no sense and you’ll be inclined to fix it. Resist this urge, as it may have deep organizational roots going back to the early days. There’s usually a reason for everything, though it might make little sense seeing it for the first time. Ask questions about it—maybe the process you thought was ‘broken’ really isn’t, and you can instead focus on more urgent matters.”

Justin Folkerts, VP Infrastructure Services, Supra ITS
Justin Folkerts
VP Infrastructure Services, Supra ITS

Start with why

“Always start with why. You need to understand the current reality of the organization before making changes. You don’t know what you don’t know, and when you come into an established structure you need to first understand it before you begin to leverage the knowledge you had coming in. Often the real value is combining aspects of the established approach with insights from a new team member.”

Kevin Wolthuis, Operations Manager, Macatawa Technologies
Kevin Wolthuis
Operations Manager, Macatawa Technologies


Focus on KPIs

“Figure out what the most important KPIs are for your team to focus on, and use a tool like BrightGauge to start daily and weekly check-ins on those metrics. Explain why they’re important to get your team to buy into the number. And have fun while you are doing it—slow and steady will have the biggest impact!”

Erick Anderson, Remote Services Manager, The Purple Guys
Erick Anderson
Remote Services Manager, The Purple Guys


Keep an open mind

“Every MSP is different—everything from the tools and utilities they use, to the vendors they work with, and most importantly their procedures and standards. The secret is to have humility. There’s a Buddhist principle called shoshin, or ‘the beginner’s mindset,’ which emphasizes the need to be open-minded and ready to learn.”

Iain McMullen, Technology Associate, Birmingham Consulting Inc.
Iain McMullen
Technology Associate, Birmingham Consulting Inc.


Don’t overlook small clients

“Don’t get too focused on big clients. Small clients need technology just as much as big clients, and they’ll be loyal to you for helping their business grow. Leadership begins at the top. Set the best example for your techs and show them how to deliver unparalleled customer service, and watch them take your example and run with it.”

Mark Connelly, IT Service Manager, Pavlov Media
Mark Connelly
IT Service Manager, Pavlov Media


Learn your team’s quirks

“Learn your techs’ strengths, weakness, their habits, and their little quirks. The better you learn them, the better you’ll do, and in turn the company will do better. And submit your ideas in the company format. I was in the military and that’s what we would tell everyone that was new to the base, and it applies to MSPs as well: Learn the policies since they’re there for a reason.”

Chris Wilson, CEO, 1080 Titan Technologies
Chris Wilson
CEO, 1080 Titan Technologies