The MSP help desk is THE indicator of whether or not the whole company is functioning well. For this reason, there should be a service desk manager dedicated to optimizing the help desk’s workflow and quality of service provided so that the company can scale safely.

The work of the service desk manager can be defined as:

  • Creating and implementing systems that ensure growth, reliability and ownership.
  • Overseeing and managing the helpdesk staff.
  • Coordinating tasks, escalations and communication with other departments.
  • Resolving overall issues with the support system. 
  • Collecting data for the purpose of presentation.  
  • Monitoring the helpdesk for what needs improving. 

Service desk managers look at the big picture. They employ systems with the aim of making the process of providing high quality support better and smoother.  

This manager role has an important influence on the end user experience, and as such, should be delegated to the right person. But which traits should a service desk manager possess? 

Service desk managers need personality, experience and skills

The managerial nature of this role service manager requires someone who knows all the nuts and bolts of the procedures, as well as solutions to problems that may come up along the way. 

Qualities and behaviors to look for when hiring for this are:

  1. Someone who has been a helpdesk technician themself and managed a team of technicians.
  2. A good negotiator.
  3. A diplomatic personality that can merge different perspectives for a viable solution.
  4. An analytical thinker who can understand systems as a whole.
  5. Someone who can draw conclusions and act from both metrics and anecdotal feedback.
  6. Someone comfortable with handling communication regarding client satisfaction.
  7. Someone who can see how each department interacts with the others and create systems to improve the workflow amongst them.
  8. An intrinsic desire to help staff improve. 
  9. Someone who can help their company grow by influencing efficient output of productivity and great client satisfaction. 

Read more about what to look for when hiring for this role on our service manager hiring checklist.

Service desk managers develop systems as a basis for great workflow and productivity

One of the main roles of the service manager is to create and implement a system and procedures the helpdesk relies on. And not just any system, but one that ensures greater productivity and a strong environment that fosters satisfaction for the technicians and customers. 

Service desk managers are crucial for any MSP that has more than 5-7 technicians. 

How do we know this? 

Well, at Support Adventure, we’ve helped over 40 MSPs create a distraction-free environment, hire and onboard the best staff, optimize documentation and raise the overall quality of service. 

And something we have seen time and time again in MSPs is that having a star service desk manager helps provide a more premium service. They truly understand the power of delegating responsibilities and ensuring an ownership-based, unobstructed workflow.

This in practical terms means:

  • Creating clear documentation that reflects on useful procedures.
  • Sorting out ticket intake and distribution.
  • Implementing a ticket-writing procedure.
  • Improving internal escalation patterns.
  • Developing an all-hands-on-deck type of emergency threshold.
  • Following onboardings and ensuring they run smoothly.

The onboarding of technicians should also be done through a reliable system with documentation so that they are ready to log in and start working from day one.

Overlooking and managing helpdesk staff to make sure systems are functioning

Once the systems and procedures are in place, the service manager has the task of making sure that the technicians are following them. This can be done using metrics or anecdotal feedback that carries valuable information.

Listening to technicians’ feedback on the systems and implementing positive changes derived from that feedback is a big part of the service manager’s job. It helps them create a distraction-free environment that is beneficial not only for the technicians, but for the business as a whole.

The service desk manager also helps the technicians understand their role in the system and assists them with tasks that are not clear. Following each technician’s performance can create unique insight and spark ideas on further improving the service. 

So not only are they a manager, but they are also a mentor. They can also implement mentorship by creating guides and other useful documents that serve as a go-to when technicians feel stuck or can’t remember something.

Service desk managers must coordinating tasks, escalations and emergencies

The service manager makes sure there is a system that minimizes harmful events using preventative strategies.

By creating a document that details a clear escalation procedure, auditing and login and credential changes, they maintain a more secure operation. However, they should still be prepared for extraordinary events that may occur and have a procedure in place that resolves those in the best way possible.

This means defining what types of incidents should be categorized as an emergency. They identify which events should ring alarm bells in the company, and when such events happen, they make sure certain actions are prioritized to resolve the emergency. 

Examples of emergencies are:

  • Data breaches
  • Security threats
  • Major incidents

Having a plan in advance for these situations eliminates a potential panic response and instead  steers the situation in the right direction for solving the issue successfully.

The service manager also develops escalation processes which are crucial for an efficient workflow to knock down as many tickets as possible. Having clear escalation procedures in place is one of their main areas of focus. 

We have a free ticket note writing guide if you and your service desk manager are in need of improving the use of your ticketing system. 

Resolving issues and taking responsibility for customer success

If the help desk technicians are not able to get an angry client to cool down, then the service desk manager should be able to. 

Customer complaints is an inevitable part of the job description for the service manager and they are best suited to handle this responsibility because:

  • They listen to customer feedback and incorporate it into the functioning of the helpdesk.
  • They understand more than technicians what is truly at stake for the customer.
  • They manage expectations with integrity and consistency, creating trust through reliability.
  • They are good negotiators with a diplomatic approach.

In analyzing the nature of the complaints, the service manager then implements changes to the system that will prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.

Service desk managers collect data to make operational improvements 

Measuring the success of the systems employed through a key performance indicator (KPI) can show how well the system is working, as well as the quality of the results it is producing.

The service desk manager uses this data to better assess the strengths and weaknesses of the helpdesk. Keeping in mind their goal of improving the success of the company, they maintain a bird’s eye view of the help desk, frequently looking at data for implementing modifications. 

The service manager’s daily tasks for creating a better workflow and positive results

Daily tasks of a service manager go along the lines of:

  1. Creating a vision of how a client should be serviced. 
  2. Developing required documentation. 
  3. Overseeing onboardings.
  4. Analyzing metrics using KPIs and stats for how well the system is performing.
  5. Following the performance of each team member and addressing issues they are facing.
  6. Listening to feedback from technicians and clients in order to make modifications to procedures. 
  7. Managing the system in place and brushing up the details of it daily.
  8. Handling complaints and feedback from clients and managing client satisfaction based on their user experience.
  9. Having a bird’s eye view of the service and looking out for problem areas the company is experiencing.
  10. Analyzing the progress of the tickets and the time it takes to solve certain issues.
  11. Removing obstacles that are disrupting workflow.
  12. Reporting to the executive level about business-related results, deadlines and projects in order to assist in crafting the way future plans will be carried out.

Service managers allow businesses to scale steadily and systematically

Service managers create an ownership-based system for dealing with tasks, ensuring reliable delegation of responsibilities that improve the company culture. If you want to scale your MSP, and as fast as possible, bringing on board the best service desk manager will make the process so much better for you. And if you need further help with implementing the right changes to your MSP, check out our outsourced MSP staffing services to learn more.

Kristina @ Support Adventure

Hi there! I'm Kristina Antic, the voice behind the articles you've been enjoying on the Support Adventure blog.Welcome to the crossroads of travel, transformative career advice, and all things MSP!Since joining the team in 2020, I've been weaving my experiences from traveling across Europe and Asia into stories that resonate with tech enthusiasts and wanderlust-filled souls alike.From the world of translating and IT customer service to teaching, I’ve worn many hats, all of which I now bring together to help you navigate the exciting remote landscape.Whether you’re looking to kickstart your career in tech, dreaming of digital nomad life, or seeking the best MSP practices and staff, I’m here to share what I’ve learned in a way that feels like we’re just chatting over coffee.See you on the blog!


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