Picture the scenario: your best technician walks out, having accepted a position for another managed services provider (MSP).
At first, you don’t have any issues, but a few weeks later, one of your customers experiences an outage. You put the next senior-level technician on the job, and they fiddle around with a network device. They work directly from the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for your company. But once they fix it, something else in the environment breaks down.
It turns out, the network device was set up using an odd configuration. Unfortunately, the only person who understands why the environment was set up that way left weeks earlier. It takes the new technician hours to figure out the full environment’s architecture and resolve the issue—while your customer sits around, increasingly fed up.
In most organizations, if you lack a consistent, enforceable system for documentation, you can end up with wildly varying results. Even with strong SOPs requiring technicians to keep detailed notes and logs, people may not document to the extent you need.
Consistent documentation is critical for MSPs for five key reasons:
1/ Faster resolution times
When issues arise, customers want them fixed fast. Even with forgiving service level agreements (SLAs), you still want to beat them as often as possible.
Consistent documentation helps technicians solve issues faster. By integrating your documentation system with your RMM solution, you can automate a significant portion of the documentation process. This means teams can jump in, know what they’ll expect to see on the documentation, and trust that it’s accurate—helping them solve issues far more quickly.
2/ Consistent service delivery
Some MSPs rotate technicians on accounts, while others keep one technician per account. Even if you rotate technicians, customers sometimes develop a preference for specific technicians. It’s not always about ability; sometimes they just “click” with a particular technician, or they have one outstanding interaction with someone and don’t want to switch. If a technician works on an issue and that technician isn’t the one the customer prefers, the customer already has a mark against the new technician. If the same technician takes a while to fix the issue or introduces a new error because the technician doesn’t know the environment well and the documentation is poor, the customer could become upset. This could lead to undesirable consequences for your business. With strong, consistent documentation, you can rotate technicians across accounts without as much concern.
3/ Fewer troubleshooting issues
Most MSPs would love a world where each customer is set up exactly the same way—where they can walk in, make a change to one specific device, and know it won’t break anything else. Unfortunately, that world doesn’t exist. Customers have edge cases. Some have invested in specific technologies they don’t want to part with (or can’t until their contract expires). Some have employees with atypical technological needs.
If you have consistent documentation, customers can trust the unusual setup was deliberate and avoid making changes that could break other parts of the environment. Or, you could manually add documentation about the configuration so technicians know what not to do. Ultimately, fewer troubleshooting issues means fewer frustrated clients.
4/ Bring new technicians up to speed faster
It takes time to get acclimatized to any job. When businesses hire someone, they expect that person to operate at a lower capacity for a time before they can contribute fully to the team. Documentation consistency and consolidation can help new team members become productive more quickly.
5/ Onboard new customers faster
Let’s say you’re pitching a potential new client. The client has another person pitching at the same time, and you’re unwittingly in a bidding war with the rival MSP. All things being equal, if you can onboard the customer more quickly than the competition can, you’ll likely win the deal. When you have a consistent process documented for onboarding new clients with SOPs anyone can follow, you can get customers up and running much more quickly. This lets you avoid hiccups early in the relationship and impress them with your ability to professionally handle everything that arises.
Consistent documentation helps nearly everyone in the organization. Fortunately, tools exist to help you manage this process. SolarWinds® Passportal + Documentation Manager is built to help boost your team’s efficiency and drive profitability by consolidating your documentation and passwords within a single platform. It integrates with several RMM platforms, allowing you to keep your documentation current and consistent. Plus, it includes multiple security safeguards, including multifactor authentication (MFA) and robust encryption, to help keep your customers’ information safe from cybercriminals.
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