If it’s your first foray into hiring a remote dispatcher for your MSP (a.k.a service desk coordinator), we are sure you have a few questions about how that works. You might be wondering things like:
- What exactly are the tasks of an MSP dispatcher?
- Can they handle low-level support tickets, or should they just stick to coordinating the flow of the help desk?
- Can a remote dispatcher living abroad work an MSP’s regular business hours in Western time zones?
- Should a dispatcher have some technical knowledge?
These are just some of the recurring questions we get when we speak to MSP owners. As a remote company providing MSP staffing services, we have had so many conversations with MSPs over the years who have gone on to hire remote technicians through us. That is our inspiration for writing this article, as well as offering some more insights on the dispatcher position. Thus, we will cover the following:
- Answers to frequently asked questions about dispatchers
- What to look for when hiring a great dispatcher
- Should you prioritize a dispatcher as your next hire (by exploring some of the benefits)?
We are big dispatcher fans around here. We believe it’s one of the most common variables we see in the MSPs that scale their help desk to tens and tens of support staff and exponentially increase their business goals. For that reason, we are all too eager to dive into this topic and answer these questions!
What does an MSP dispatcher (service desk coordinator) do exactly?
This is probably the most asked question we get about dispatchers.
We understand that most MSP owners already know what a dispatcher is, but probably ask this question to seek more clarity on the duties of the role. That, or they want a better picture of how a remote dispatcher’s work day might look in their specific MSP environment.
Dispatchers, and service desk coordinators, whichever you prefer to call them, are responsible for the flow of tickets being created and assigned to technicians and overseeing their progress and status. It’s under their coordination responsibilities to receive calls and emails from clients that turn into tickets, or assign automatically-created tickets that come in via email or voicemail. Ideally, they should also be checking tickets regularly to make sure they are getting resolved, receiving follow-ups or being escalated according to procedure.
The help desk should be able to comfortably rely on a dispatcher for the following:
- Keeping an eye on the ticketing system and assigning new tickets that come in
- Making sure idle tickets are updated with a status that applies to where the ticket currently stands
- Making sure the ticket is updated with notes that shed light on what’s going on with the ticket
- Following up with techs and other staff who have forgotten about updating a ticket or dropped the ball on resolving one
- Making sure tickets are scheduled for future action
- Ensuring tickets have the existing or new client’s contact information
- Closing tickets that should be closed
- Checking in with techs to see if they have anything left to work on with a ticket that is sitting idle
Can a dispatcher handle some IT support tickets too?
This is the second most asked question we get, and the answer is… it depends.
This is completely subjective to your specific needs, structure, and pain points. Many MSPs have a dispatcher who is simply that customer service outlet and internal coordinator for the help desk. On the other hand, plenty of other MSPs have a dispatcher who is also acting as a triage or low-level tech who can knock out some of those low-hanging fruit issues.
Here’s a table with a clearer picture of how a sole dispatcher role might look compared to a hybrid tech support dispatcher who is also performing some technical tasks.
|Hybrid Dispatcher-Low Level Tech
|Creates and/or assigns all tickets that come in to levels 1-3 technicians.
|Creates and/or assigns tickets to techs, and can assign themself some lower level tasks like password resets, basic login issues, etc.
|Spends their time creating tickets, entering client information, and assessing which support level to assign a ticket to. There’s no attempt at fixing the issues themselves.
|Uses their time to both assign tickets, as well as work on easier tasks, ideally no longer than 30 minutes. They can then escalate the ticket if they can’t resolve it themselves.
|During down time from assigning tickets and coordinating the helpdesk, they can perform other admin tasks, such as updating documentation, client information, ticket statuses, etc.
|During downtime from assigning tickets and coordinating the helpdesk, they can perform those admin tasks, as well as update ticket notes with more in-depth information to assist escalations.
|They have a limited, basic summary knowledge of frequent client issues in order to understand who best to immediately assign the ticket to.
|They have more working knowledge to assign tickets to themself if they can, log into the machines of client users, take screenshots, and try to figure out what’s going on before assigning them to another tech.
So as you can see, it truly comes down to what your personal needs are, and where your help desk must plug a hole that will really improve the operations. For some, that will be a dispatcher whose sole focus is to be a customer satisfaction-driven, organized coordinator. For others, that will be a dispatcher who also has a working knowledge of common, basic IT issues that don’t need escalating due to their simplicity.
Can a remote dispatcher abroad work an MSP’s regular business hours?
The good news is, yes, they can!
We understand why many MSPs want to make sure this is possible, as they want a dispatcher to be utilized during the hours when clients are most actively calling in and sending emails.
They want to ensure there will be a strong cultural fit with the voice and vibe over the phone or emails, corresponding with their customers.
We understand as well the reservations people have when they think of remote customer service reps and imagine a common trope they’d like to avoid… That they’re in some far away, mysterious call center that’s crowded, working at night in a totally opposite society.
But as long as you outsource your remote MSP dispatcher from a company that finds culturally compatible, English-proficient staff who can operate during your regular business hours, then this is not a problem at all! To your customers, your dispatcher will feel just like any other in-house team member.
Another option for working hours, particularly if you have a sparse amount of tickets to resolve, is to have a dispatcher working overlapping business hours. Their shift can start a few hours before your MSP’s business hours, in order to handle some tasks that come in outside of regular working hours. And if they are performing low-level support duties, they can knock out some lower-tier tickets that came in during the evening or night. If they can’t solve them, they can get back to the client to create a positive expectation of resolution and escalate the ticket to someone who can.
They can also do that if they’re not performing any tech duties–just respond to clients, establish that correspondence, and assign the ticket to a tech. They can also use their downtime to do some housekeeping tasks, such as updating statuses, ticket notes, documentation, etc.
What types of job applicants make the perfect dispatcher?
This is a hiring decision where it would serve you better to prioritize personality over a technical background.
Great dispatchers are those with prior work experience in supervising and coordinating. They also tend to be those who are relentless in truly wanting what’s best for the company and they are super invested in its growth. This will be reflected in their detail-oriented approach and consistency in following and enforcing procedures.
You might also want to look for someone who is either curious about the technical side of the industry or has dabbled in it for fun, even if they don’t have a wealth of prior experience. People like this can be trained to eventually become techs or might have just enough experience already to do the hybrid dispatcher-low level tech role.
Here’s a list of personality traits and work experience indications to look out for during the hiring process:
- A self-starter
- Leads by example in the following procedure
- Leads by example in adhering to systems, documentation, and workflows
- Diligent and methodical
- Prioritizes tasks for the whole team
- Reminds others of directions and procedures when they don’t follow them
- Stays focused in a rapidly moving environment
- Likes to understand the systems of a company as a whole
Should you prioritize a dispatcher as your next hire?
Let’s now take a look at the last question we often get. It’s some iteration of MSPs wanting to know why bringing in a dispatcher might be their next best decision as a business.
We feel that bringing a dispatcher on board is a game-changer.
Nevertheless, that is a subjective question, and the answer depends on your greatest pain points. So let’s explore the benefits of hiring a dispatcher to see if they resolve those tricky areas of your operations.
Hiring a dispatcher is cost-effective
Sometimes simplifying some of your processes and getting more organized can be more economical than throwing more money at the problem. That’s the power of hiring a dispatcher. It naturally costs less than hiring more senior employees, such as a level 2 or level 3 technician.
Now of course, if your niche or clientele issues require mostly senior support tasks, then it’s understandable that a level 2 or 3 technician is absolutely the best solution for you.
But if your MSP’s biggest struggles are a lack of organization, staff who communicate unprofessionally with clients, or the pitfalls of a ring group structure, hiring a dispatcher is often a great next move and an affordable solution.
It will add more structure to your help desk, without breaking the bank or dipping more into business savings that could be used for other departments.
Plus, you have the option of getting two for the price of one if you go the hybrid dispatcher-technician route.
You can provide better call-answering customer service
A big area of frustration for a lot of MSPs is that they want to provide personable phone answering as the first point of contact, but they are relying on lone wolf type techs. These technicians can often be asocial or just not as jovial talking to a stressed client as they are with their friends outside of work.
Thus, they are a mismatch for answering the phone. Having random techs answer the phone this way sometimes leaves a bad taste in the mouths of clients, which is why it made our list of the top 6 worst MSP practices.
As for the techs, they’ll grow to resent their job if they have to constantly break focus from wrapping up tasks or projects in order to answer the phone. Senior techs especially prefer to work in a stress-free, well-organized environment. And because so many employees don’t communicate their frustrations with their managers out of fear, they could exit the company and leave you feeling blindsided.
But by simply having a dispatcher, you can have someone receiving phone calls whose job is dedicated to doing so. If you want a human being on a phone line to be the first point of contact for clients, it will make a world of difference if it’s a charismatic, personable dispatcher who is relaxed in receiving incoming calls and makes clients feel taken care of.
And best of all, everyone’s happy. There’s order at the help desk, which the dispatcher feels a sense of pride for. The clients have a positive routine of feeling taken care of and supported. Techs can feel left alone and able to breathe, focus, and get their work done. The MSP owners can feel that proper delegation and adequate allocation of tasks are helping the company run like a well-oiled machine.
MSPs can grow seamlessly with a dispatcher
Sometimes, growth is about working smarter, not harder. Oftentimes, when an MSP is growing, their first inclination might be to hire clones of their more experienced techs. We see how this leaves some MSPs blind to bigger structural pain points in their company. Some that we frequently see are technicians cherry-picking tickets and neglecting others, poor time tracking and ticket completion rates, no escalation policies and unfriendly customer support.
Putting out those types of fires by throwing more techs on them might work sometimes. Hiring a dispatcher, however, really stabilizes those problem areas and prevents those fires from popping up again. When you have someone who is making sure procedures are being followed, tickets are being resolved and followed up on, and issues in limbo are being escalated in a timely fashion, a lot of your biggest frustrations start to disappear.
Once these structural fires have been extinguished, your business can more easily focus and truly dive into neglected areas for growth, like marketing, sales, and recruitment. You’ll truly have the regulation and coordination of the help desk to thank for that.
So having a dispatcher truly builds a bridge between the strategic systems of your MSP and the technicians who are soldiers within it. This all provides consistent relief for your clients, and just as important, for your ability to carve out a plan for expansion.
Looking for a remote dispatcher for your MSP?
We hope this article helped answer some questions you might have had regarding hiring a remote MSP dispatcher. As you’re probably aware by now, we provide remote MSP staff to clients who are mostly located in the USA, UK, and Canada.
So if you want to get a conversation going on hiring a dispatcher, and what that looks like for the nuances of your help desk, feel free to reach out to us. You can get the ball rolling by clicking here. We look forward to hearing from you!
If you have any questions about dispatchers that weren’t answered in this article, feel free to comment below, or shoot us an email.