Ask Intronis: As an MSP, how can I efficiently manage my IT help desk tickets?

Posted by Courtney Steinkrauss on Aug 3, 2015 9:11:19 AM

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Q: As my managed services business grows, we’re monitoring more IT environments and receiving more support tickets. It gets chaotic and can be hard to keep up! We need a more organized process for responding to support calls. How can we streamline the ticketing process to more efficiently respond to our customers?

That sounds overwhelming, but the good news is it doesn’t have to be. There are a number of different tools and solutions available to help you manage the ticketing process, and in a short amount of time, you can develop the resources you need to support your customers more easily.

TicketsHere at Intronis we know how crucial it is to respond to customers in a timely and efficient manner because we’re only successful if our partners are successful, too. That’s why our Partner Success and Support teams spend most of their days talking to our partners, through email, in our online portal, over the phone, and even in person. So we knew John Carroll, manager of Partner Support, would be the best person to ask for advice on how to respond to customer support cases more quickly and easily. Here are John’s top tips:

1. Automate ticketing

For IT service providers who are just starting out, make sure you research and chose an automated billing and ticketing tool. Professional Services Automation (PSA) tools are used by MSPs and other IT professionals to automate service tasks, like billing your clients or receiving support tickets. Using of one of these tools will immediately begin to alleviate the stress of managing inbound service tickets.

It’s important to choose a PSA tool that integrates with your CRM system so that tickets can be entered, assigned, and distributed to your technicians. At Intronis, we’re able to process web tickets, email tickets, and chat line tickets and assign cases to our Tier 2 and Tier 3 support engineers through our CRM system, Salesforce.com. Within our system, we can also assign values to each case, letting the partner know the status of their case. This transparency allows for clear communication between our engineers and partners.

If you’re an MSP who’s been in business for a while, you probably already leverage these types of tools. So, when you’re evaluating vendors for other solutions, such as cloud backup, ask if they offer any integrations with these types of tools. You want to simplify your experience with a combined solution that consolidates the tools and platforms you use to protect your customers' environments. Managing the support process will be much easier if the systems you’re using are able to work together.

2. Prioritize tasks

After you’ve put the proper systems in place to manage the ticketing process, you need the right process for prioritizing and resolving customers’ issues. First, figure out what kinds of support cases you’re seeing most often so you can determine what your customers’ biggest pain points and challenges are and what you can do to address those issues.

From there, develop a process for responding to each type of support case. Some situations are going to require a faster response time than others so you’ll need to be able to prioritize your tickets as they enter the system. This way you’ll have a better idea of what needs to be addressed first and how it will be handled.

3. Hire the right talent

Once you have an idea what your highest priorities need to be, determine whether or not you need to hire more people to help keep up with tickets and keep response times resonable.

If you need to hire more help, be sure to invest in the right talent. Knowing the types of cases that you see most often, you’ll have a better understanding of what skillsets and expertise technicians will need to join your team. This will make the interview process easier and help you retain the best employees. Remember to offer ongoing training to your technicians to assess their abilities and provide them with opportunities to develop their skills.

4. Create an FAQ sheet

After you’ve pin-pointed the most frequently asked questions you’re getting from your small business customers, write out complete responses for each one. You can give this FAQ sheet to your customers and share it internally with your technicians. This will help reduce the number of tickets coming into your system, and each of your employees will know how to appropriately respond. 

5. Use a chat line

To reduce the number of phone calls for your technicians and help prioritize tickets, add a chat line for your customers. Dedicate someone on your team to manage the chat line and answer questions as they’re asked. If your ticketing tool is integrated with your CRM system, you can quickly assign questions from the chat line to a technician.

6. Schedule regular check-in calls with technicians

Understanding your customers’ needs and addressing them as soon as possible is the most important part of managing the support process. To do this effectively, you need to reach out to your customers before they have an issue. Be proactive and schedule regular calls with your customers to check in, see if their needs have changed, and answer any questions they might have. This will also help reduce the number of tickets you receive because customers will be able to ask their questions during your scheduled calls. 

Communication is key to a successful partnership. Keep that in mind as you process service tickets and hire new technicians as your company grows. The more proactive you can be in supporting your small business customers’ IT environments, the less you’ll have to stress about managing the ticketing process. And, making use of the automated resources we mentioned will help you streamline the process and focus more on growing your business.

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Ask Intronis is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between. Submit your questions by emailing AskIntronis@intronis.com.

Photo Credit: Steve Snodgrass on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 license. 

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