“We are what we repeatedly do. Success is not an action, but a habit”
Managed service providers (MSPs) often ask me the formula for running a successful IT business. My answer? Building good habits within the business.
To put it in more business-like language: Ensuring there are documented processes in place to ensure the right activities take place effectively and consistently.
But let’s just refer to them as good habits, shall we?
I’ve said before that it’s unremarkably easy to be remarkable, to do the things that every business knows they should, but simply don’t.
Here are three good habits that are easy to implement, but provide marked benefits within your MSP.
- Talk to a client every day
When was the last time you spoke to one of your client’s to ask them how business was?
I’m not talking about a technical support request, or chasing an overdue invoice, or putting in a sales call. I’m talking about picking up the phone or visiting a client with no agenda other than to ask them how business is treating them.
For most MSPs, this is something they mean to do, but never quite find the time to get around to.
When I ran my own MSP business, the senior members of staff were reminded to call (or call in on) a client at least three times per week to ask them, “How are you doing?” or “How are we doing?” Far from being a nuisance or a waste of time, clients always appreciated this interest in their business.
Many times, we uncovered information that helped us avoid a support grenade. “Business is good. Did I mention we’ve got a new starter joining Monday?”
Or we uncovered an issue that may otherwise have festered. “Yes, everything is fine. Oh, apart from that printer that isn’t working. Didn’t I mention it before? Well, it’s been broken around 6 months…”
And no client in history has ever slammed the door in my face when I’ve turned up at their site with a box of cakes and no agenda other than popping by to see how they are.
Talking to a client every day is something a number of people within your business could do, from the owner to the service desk manager to the service desk techs.
- Randomly review a support call
As MSPs, we all strive for a better quality of service. Help desk tickets that are concise, yet contain all the relevant information. Tickets that are closed rapidly, yet to the client’s satisfaction. Tickets that aren’t left to go stale and unattended.
Yet, as MSPs, most of us don’t uncover a problematic help desk ticket until it’s too late. The ticket is overdue, the ticket is missing key information, or the ticket has been closed without the client being informed.
By randomly reviewing a support ticket every day, you can spot issues, raise standards, and avoid complaints from clients.It’s as simple as that.
Once per day, commit to picking out a ticket (open, closed, or any other state) and reviewing the information it contains. Is it concise? Is it accurate? Are the client responses well-worded?
The key here is not to catch engineers out. We aren’t trying to assign blame. We’re looking to improve standards.
In fact, when is the last time you praised an engineer on a ticket that was well managed? Randomly reviewing support tickets could give you more opportunities to do this too.
- Hold a daily team meeting
When is the last time you held a team meeting, either for the entire business (if you’re smaller) or for your department (if you’re larger).
For most MSPs I speak to, it’s been something they’ve meant to do but haven’t done yet. Are we noticing a pattern here yet?
A team meeting doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out affair. It can be as quick as five minutes first thing in the morning where everybody involved shares:
- What they worked on yesterday. What was easy? What was hard?
- What they are working on today. How are they going to proceed with that job?
Even just a five-minute conversation of this nature can help your team disseminate information, ask for and receive help, and build up trust and rapport.
It’s simple, but it’s effective.
I’ve listed three actions that the most successful MSPs I come across consistently undertake: speaking to a client every day, randomly checking a support ticket, and holding a daily team meeting.
None of these ideas are rocket science, nor are they likely to create success for your business overnight.
But consistently executed, every day, every week, month after month, year after year, these are the actions of a company that wants to grow. That wants to provide great service to their clients. That wants to do the little things that their competitors can’t or won’t do.
As Aristotle said, success is not an action, but a habit. What good habits are building into your business?