Maximize Profits by Optimizing Your Service Team
Profitability is crucial to any business, but it’s doubly true for MSPs. With per-user and per-device contracts becoming the de-facto business model, fulfilling a client’s service agreement without going bust becomes the most critical piece of your operation.
Identifying where to optimize for the biggest benefit can feel like a guessing game. How do you maximize the efficiency of your support hours? How can you offer the highest-quality service without ruining your bottom line? As it turns out, there are several great opportunities to make your services more profitable if you’re looking in the right place.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch
If you want to improve efficiency and increase profits, it’s best to start by critically evaluating how your service offerings are performing.
When it comes to getting the best possible value from your services, there are two metrics that stand out: the cost of supporting a client and the quality of your customer service. For now, we’re going to focus on client costs (customer service will have its moment in a bit).
Knowing if a client is worth it can be difficult. On one hand, a customer is a customer, and any revenue is better than none. On the other hand, you’re not in this business just for the thrill of it.
According to MSP consultants Taylor Business Group, you should be looking to make a 65% gross profit on each client you sign. If you’re coming up short, you may need to evaluate how you’re pricing your services, retool your support, or address specific shortcomings for the given client (like outdated hardware, improper training, insufficient documentation, or excessive neediness).
However, just because you’re making acceptable profits from your existing client base doesn’t mean you couldn’t be making more...
Supporting your services
Maximizing profits from your services often means taking a hard look at your support operations.
Getting the most from your technicians is about more than just tweaking salaries and benefits. A functional, motivated, and productive help desk resolves tickets faster, which makes for significant revenue boosts in the mid and long term.
How much? Industry research group MetricNet polled a sampling of service providers and found, on average, the cost per support ticket clocks in at $15.56. Given the incident resolution times they were quoted, costs broke down to an average of $1.60 a minute to resolve a single issue.
No surprise — the longer your technicians take, the more it eats into your revenue.
It’s tough to gauge, but employee satisfaction has a huge impact on your support’s efficacy. When your technicians are dragging their heels, ignoring customer service basics, and just plain ol’ checking out, it eats into your bottom line.
In another study by MetricNet, negative job satisfaction was strongly correlated with poor customer satisfaction, absenteeism, and higher rates of turnover, the last of which could cost you an average of $12,000 per full-time employee in wasted recruitment, screening, and training.
Improving job satisfaction is easier said than done, if only because it isn’t always the easiest to measure. If you haven’t made routine employee satisfaction surveys a part of your performance evaluation, it might be a good time to start. Finding common threads, be they staff shortages or process issues, can help you retain existing technicians while addressing fundamental support issues that are likely costing you money in addition to negatively impacting your employees.
You can also take supporting your staff a step further by identifying and rewarding productivity goals for both individuals and whole teams. This can range from monetary bonuses for clearing or reducing the queue month-over-month or something as simple as an office lunch for meeting specific quotas throughout the week.
A specific metric worth incentivizing is one that’s probably already on your support-focused mind: first contact resolution.
Yep! You knew you weren’t getting out of here without a mention of FCR. For the uninitiated, first contact resolution is the number of support requests resolved within the first interaction with your team. That means by the first time a customer hangs up, ends a live chat, or completes the instructions given over email, their support issue has been resolved.
FCR is the gold standard of customer service benchmarks. Dozens of studies across just about every customer service-reliant industry show an extremely strong correlation between high customer satisfaction and first contact resolution.
And it makes total sense why FCR is so important. When a client needs support and receives a satisfactory solution right out of the gate with no tedious back-and-forth, it’s a complete win-win. Your client gets the best possible support experience (and gladly remembers why they pay you) while your help desk shreds their ticket resolution time.
If you want to see a deeper breakdown of the financial benefits of first contact resolution, we have a great summary of what you stand to gain by making FCR a priority.
Better services use better tools
Supporting your staff takes more than just process improvements. Your technicians need the resources to actually deliver on the quality of service capable of turning higher profits.
Among the chief complaints of technicians is having to utilize ineffective tools. The fastest way to hating your job is being forced to do it with both hands tied behind your back, and that’s exactly what you’re asking your support staff to do with inefficient resources.
Fortunately, there is a ton of exceptional software available that can help with or completely resolve many of the issues keeping your services from being as profitable as possible. Software like PingPlotter lets your technicians work faster and more efficiently, improving both operational costs and customer satisfaction.
For starters, PingPlotter’s proactive network diagnostic tools show you the active path of your customer’s app data in real-time. If a client starts to experience packet loss, high latency, or severe jitter, your technicians can not only be alerted to the poor conditions but can also see where along the route the problem originates. Your service team will be ready and waiting with actionable data, significantly improving the rate of first contact resolution.
This also combines with PingPlotter’s straightforward interface and ability to monitor hundreds of endpoints at once. Technicians can easily see the status of every connection, significantly reducing the time spent seeking out diagnostic data or scrubbing through Command Line output. Every minute is money, and PingPlotter saves your help desk quite a bit.
The amount of time PingPlotter can save your technicians is nothing to blink at. IT services company Dimension Data found proactive network monitoring decreased incident response times by 55% while also reducing resolution times by 36% when compared to supporting networks without any form of monitoring integration. That’s a significant reduction, and you can be certain it’ll be reflected on your P&L.
Lowering ticket resolution time doesn’t just impact you, either. On average, network downtime costs a business $5,600 a minute. Using software like PingPlotter to get ahead of or quickly resolve outages helps you justify to your clients just how valuable your services are.
True change comes from within
When you’re looking to maximize profits, optimizing your support is a perfect place to start. It’s both the cornerstone of your service offering and the easiest place to implement smaller changes for the largest gains. Making your help desk more efficient makes your whole business more efficient, and between the time saved and the improved client satisfaction, you’ll be more excited than ever to see the numbers sitting at the end of your balance sheet.
If you're ready to make your service team more efficient, we're here to help! Download PingPlotter Professional and use it for free, no strings attached, for 14 days — no payment info required! No matter your support needs, there's a PingPlotter that's perfect for you.