Over the years, I’ve seen on-site time drop as remote access tools, hardware reliability, and procedures have all improved. However, as you grow your MSP business, you’ll find you reach a point where you’re regularly sending engineers out to client sites. You may already have multiple engineers who spend most of their time out on-site—maybe that’s their role in the business—but how are you tracking their performance to ensure you are not over- or underutilizing your resources? How are you tracking which engineers are your top guns and who needs some additional training?
By using field metrics, you can help ensure your customers and engineers are happy, which ultimately helps to grow and expand your client base and team of well-trained technicians. Here’s a look at some of the metrics you should be looking at and what you need to know to get started on accurately measuring the effectiveness of your field staff.
1/ Make Sure You Have a Tracking System
Before you can track any metrics, you need to have reliable, automated systems and policies in place to track them. There are several field engineer apps available to track arrival and departure times and to also allow clients to sign off work performed. The key is to use a system that integrates with your ticketing systems as much as possible to help reduce manual data input.
2/ Measure Client Satisfaction
When a job has been completed, you can ask the client to sign off on the work—a quick question asking how satisfied they are can give you a lot of information. Client satisfaction is the fastest way to see if there is a problem that needs to be investigated further. If a client says they are very satisfied, you generally don’t need to worry whether or not the work was carried out to a high standard.
3/ Keep Tabs on Your Call to Response Times
Clients love fast response times. If they log an issue on Monday and an engineer doesn’t arrive until Wednesday, it’s going to hurt your customer satisfaction score. While not every issue requires quick action, any business striving to be the best must have low response times. If you are seeing long call to response times, then maybe you need to allocate more resources to your field team.
4/ Managing Arrival and Departure Times
Using a mobile app that allows engineers to log when they arrive and leave a site is a great way to automate the capturing of time spent online. If you’re not using such apps, then simply using Google® location history can be a first step towards automatically tracking locations and times. When engineers manually enter their site time, they can refer back to the location history gathered from their mobile device.
5/ Time On-Site vs Estimated Time
In an ideal world, your actual time on-site will match your estimated time—but over- or underestimating will lose you money quickly. This can also be a good indicator as to whether engineers need additional training, because your estimated time should be based on your experience of the work required and previous jobs.
6/ What’s Your Recall Rate?
Having a way to track calls that are triggered by an engineer not doing the job correctly in the first place is vital. Do you have an engineer who needs more training or is missing essential tools to get the job completed correctly the first time around?
7/ Are You Correctly Utilizing Your Resources?
This is a measurement of how much time engineers spend working on tasks. Do they spend most of the time travelling? Perhaps you need to invest in software to better manage travel routes—savings in travel time and fuel costs will more than pay for the software.
8/ Measure Your First-Time Fix Rate
This is the percentage of issues resolved on the first visit. Improving this metric will result in lower travel costs, making you less busy by freeing up more engineers, and can result in higher customer satisfaction. You can improve this metric with technical training, better work planning, and availability of the right tools for engineers.
9/ What’s Your Mean Time to Repair?
This is the average time it takes from the client’s first call to them signing off the work as complete. While it’s useful to know, it is not essential. A low mean repair time may give you bragging rights with your competition, and you can also use it to set your company standards or as part of your marketing messaging.
10/ Do You Suffer from Contract Leakage?
This is where you’re not charging for visits or return visits correctly, either through confusion with client’s contracts or through engineers simply forgetting to log their time correctly. This is a sure-fire way to lose large amounts of money slowly over time, so you need to keep a careful eye on this.
Tracking field metrics is important in running a profitable business, but also for tracking how satisfied your clients are. When deciding which metrics to measure, it’s best to start with a small number and automate them as much as possible. Once you’ve done this, you can review them regularly and make improvements where needed, looking to add more metrics further down the line.
Using metrics is crucial to helping ensure your clients’ happiness, growing your business, and becoming more profitable!
Ian Waters is a senior partner at MSP Southern IT Networks Ltd and works as the technical director. Ian has been working in IT for over 15 years since finishing his degree in computer science and artificial intelligence. An Office 365 expert and author of the book, Microsoft® Office 365®—Exchange™ Online Implementation and Migration—Second Edition. You can follow Ian on his personal blog here.
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By Ian Waters