Feeling trapped in an endless loop of micromanaging your MSP staff? We know it’s not fun for you. This is also a big faux pas in that it’s cause for one of the most frequent complaints from employees in the MSP space. Nobody likes a micromanager.
So how do you stop micromanaging MSP staff? By creating clear standards that are introduced and enforced during training. This helps develop consistent self-accountability for employees that works so well, that your operations run on autopilot.
So what are some steps that you can take to create this system of self-accountability that is running like clockwork? Let’s delve into it!
- Acknowledge the Signs of Disorganization in your MSP
- Create a Strong Culture by Sticking to Industry Best Practices
- Use a Dispatcher to Really Take Your Helpdesk to the Next Level
- Create a System of Self-Accountability
- Train Your MSP Staff the Right Way
- If All Else Fails, Just Remember Nobody likes a Micromanager!
Acknowledge the Signs of Disorganization in your MSP
MSP managers need to look deep into the current structure of their business to see where it’s lacking in the first place.
Imagine that you’re feeling all set with five technicians who are handling about 200 tickets a week. Everyone appears to be doing a great job until suddenly, a client complains out of nowhere. You might have a knee jerk reaction to scold the technician responsible for the ticket and associate their performance with the complaint.
If you do this every time there is a complaint without understanding the deeper systemic issues that could be leading to client dissatisfaction, then this is a very reactive way of running your business.
It’s also a form of micromanagement.
Well you may have a surface level, vague perspective on what is required of your technicians, to the point where your reprimandings might be unfounded.
As MSP staffing specialists, we at Support Adventure have noticed over the years how much this can make technicians feel like they’re being micromanaged in a very unfair way. They don’t enjoy working in companies where an MSP manager blows up at them without understanding flaws in their own system that catalyze complaints. So how can you avoid this?
Incidents like this can be a symptom of not having a proper system in place. Perhaps you don’t have set standards for exactly how you want clients to be nurtured. You simply left your staff to their own devices to figure out the best standards for solving tickets, resulting in everyone having their own individual rules for client correspondence.
But if you are not even giving your staff actual instructions or mentoring, how could you expect better than the delivered result?
If a client complains, that means they haven’t received customer service according to their expectations. It’s as simple as that. You shouldn’t judge your staff based on such events. Provide structure instead. Not having this is what leads to micromanaging your staff for every little problem that occurs.
Create a Strong Culture by Sticking to Industry Best Practices
The first thing you should do as an MSP manager is create and implement the use of documentation and best practices for training new hires. This makes things crystal clear for technicians to know what is expected of them. They won’t have to knock on your door every five seconds for clarification or keep bugging you in Microsoft Teams. Instead, they’ll instinctively understand what kind of service should be delivered to the clients.
Team members need to know the ins and outs for how to handle the most crucial situations. For example, here are two areas of customer support that you cannot afford to have any confusion about:
- What happens when a client sends a ticket via email vs. calling in to report an issue.
- What happens when a customer has a time-sensitive issue or emergency.
Situations like these mustn’t reside in a gray area. They must be defined by the manager to develop an accountability culture in which your staff should be trained. This will remove the need to micromanage down the road.
Use a Dispatcher to Really Take Your Helpdesk to the Next Level
One of the best ways an MSP manager can create regularity and enforce guidelines with ease is by hiring a dispatcher. They have the dedicated responsibility of coordinating tickets and checking in on the progress technicians are making with them. They will ensure the existence of proper notes and that procedures for customer service are being followed.
The dispatcher creates consistency in how customer service is dealt with, which helps your clients to always have a positive experience.
Create a System of Self-Accountability
You won’t have to micromanage your MSP staff at all when you create a system of accountability where everyone understands the standards they’re being held to.
This is the ultimate way to not only stop having to repeat yourself all the time, but to also trust your team with ease. You don’t have to keep accosting the technician associated with a ticket which incited a customer complaint because self-accountability systems help prevent that. In case a technician still has to be disciplined, even after they’ve been trained in accountability guidelines, delegate this responsibility to a manager or supervisor.
For instance, if a ticket doesn’t have clear notes on it, then a manager can talk to the technician responsible for it and remind them to improve their notes.
You can also take advantage of having a dispatcher who could look at every ticket and flag some details or notes that need to be improved upon. Make sure to give them a guide on what to look for regarding proper ticket notes and standards for customer service.
Accountability standards in these areas will make it much easier for managers to monitor tasks of the staff without team members feeling micromanaged.
Train Your MSP Staff the Right Way
One of our favorite entrepreneurial mindset quotes is, “When you’re training someone, it’s not micromanagement, it’s training.” This essentially means that the training period isn’t just for looking over someone’s shoulder while you hold their hand through your processes, but it’s the foundation of the trainee being able to do what you need them to themself. From the very beginning, trainees need to have:
- Documents that help them structure their tasks and their day, à la:
- The most important information on how to perform their tasks to client satisfaction.
- Communication guidelines for urgent and non-urgent communication.
Doing these things greatly strengthens your team without you having to put too much extra work in. You should also have weekly reviews with the technicians where yourself and management can give feedback on the techs’ work and hear about what has been challenging for them.
This feedback is necessary for MSP managers to make your system better rather than micromanaging on the fly.
When things aren’t functioning as planned, you need to take a step back and get an overall view of your system and assess:
- Whether or not everyone is working cohesively.
- How well a dispatcher, if you have one, is regulating the helpdesk.
- Whether or not tickets in the system are moving along in a more automated manner.
- How everyone involved in running the system is feeling about it–whether positive, negative or neutral.
- Whether or not results are being produced to your satisfaction.
When you put all these parts together and look at the system as a whole every once in a while, there won’t be a need for micromanaging.
If All Else Fails, Just Remember Nobody likes a Micromanager!
Seriously. No one. Chances are you never liked it yourself which is why you started your own business or became an MSP manager. You like the control you have when you are responsible and accountable for yourself. And guess what, so does your staff. They want to work for a company that has a solid structure so that they can do their job in peace.
When an MSP has implemented a system of guidelines and well-defined roles, everyone knows what to do and expectations are crystal clear. You will then only need to speak to staff in weekly meetings and discuss how to improve the already great results you are experiencing.
Of course, in the ever changing environment of the MSP, there will be novel situations where you can’t quite avoid micromanaging. But as long as you can transition out of doing it after a period where it felt necessary, then that is the ultimate goal.
Your objective is to make your operations consistent with standards that staff members already know. As long as you are fulfilling this goal, then you can let go of that old version of yourself that felt trapped in a cycle of micromanagement.
We hope you learned a lot from this article and feel ready to implement our recommendations. We can always help you on your journey to improving your helpdesk with our MSP consultation offerings. So feel free to check that out, or leave a comment below to let us know what part of the article resonated with you the most.