After you close a new client contract, what should be your next step? Successful managed services providers (MSPs) will start with planning, meaning they’ll look to their team to determine the right people to take on the job. If you’re like most MSPs, however, there might be one thing holding you back: you don’t have any insight into who on your team is available to take on more work!
As an MSP business owner, you’re focused on serving your clients and overseeing projects in the most efficient way possible. Therefore, you need to have a clear view of your team schedules to ensure everyone is being utilized to their fullest potential. With this kind of visibility, you can assign tasks accordingly, avoid overworking someone who already has their plate full, and most importantly, ensure your projects stay within scope. So, to give you the visibility you need to run a more successful MSP business, here are three ways you can leverage smart automation technology to improve collaboration and efficiency.
1. Synchronized Team Calendars
When you don’t have visibility into your team’s schedules, it can cause you to overlook how overwhelmed they may be or if some technicians are being underutilized. By synchronizing your Google or Exchange/Office 365 calendars to your smart automation platform, you’ll be able to get a complete log of your team’s appointments and commitments. This will let you see everything your team has scheduled, enabling you to understand how busy they are right now compared to how busy they’re going to be in the near future. Additionally, your Team Calendar should automatically adapt and update as workloads change—so that you always know who is tasked out or available (in real-time) to work on a project.
The right smart platform will allow you to forecast your profitability, monitor your projects, and update your team calendars—so that you can focus on the more important things like servicing clients and sustaining growth.
2. Simplified Project Management
As an MSP, you wear several hats. From business owner, to service delivery leader, to project manager—juggling multiple contracts or projects at once can be hard work. However, you can make things easier for you and your team by using a smart platform with a team scheduling dashboard. This type of feature allows you to drag and drop tasks into a team member’s calendar, or reassign them work you no longer have time for, without having to send numerous emails or calendar invites.
With the right platform, you can easily build and customize your dashboard to ensure everyone is spending their time wisely. And, when you add specific tasks to a project, smart automation can estimate the time it will take to complete each one. You can also see how much each team member is contributing to your overall profitability (or a lack thereof) in an instant, and compare different individuals or departments from one simple place. The more visibility you have into exactly what is on your team’s plate, the better you’ll be able to delegate out work and simplify the way you manage projects.
3. Centralized Client Information
Let’s face it, you simply don’t have time in your day to waste searching your inbox or lengthy email threads to locate specific client information. It’s simply not efficient! That's why you could benefit from a shared team inbox, where all client-related communication is automatically stored for anyone to search or access at any time.
This eliminates the need to dig through your inbox to locate information relating to a client of a former employee, or one that’s out of the office on vacation, because all that information can be right at your fingertips. In fact, your clients could experience higher levels of client satisfaction when you no longer have to worry about finding the correct information, delayed response times, or rehashing old conversations.
When clients can see their communication history, request quotes or retainer types, and stay on top of unpaid invoices (without having to jump between tools or deal with scattered information), life becomes easier for everyone. So, if you’re looking to improve your operational efficiency, you can leverage smart automation technology to boost company-wide transparency so that you, your team, and your clients are always on the same page.
By Gretchen Hoffman
By Paula Griffin