From a CEO level, what do service managers need to protect for their managed services to thrive?
Hint: It doesn’t simply come down to hiring the smartest engineers.
Why not? The truth is that the best engineer might not be the best at running a services department. And yes, there is a difference between managing people and managing servers.
The former involves reading people, interacting with people, upselling services, and protecting time and revenue.
The former is about engineering people—not computers. It was never about engineering servers.
Does this make sense? Good. Because while getting to your tickets fast—and meeting your service level agreements, is ideal—the key performance indicators (KPIs) don’t end there.
Here are some of the top KPIs for keeping service managers accountable:
1. Agreement Profitability
Are your clients remaining profitable? Conversely, are some becoming too profitable too quickly?
Agreement profitability is crucial, and if you’re not paying close attention, problems could arise. The most important thing here is to have your finger on the pulse for your clients. This will allow you to work toward the sense of balance you need to succeed.
Now, having lower-tiered resources performing more work will increase profitability. As you become more mature, you can start to afford a broader range of positions and boost your profitability.
Technical writers are a great example of this. Tier 3 techs can record a conversation of themselves resolving an issue, and the writer can come in and quickly document the fix—allowing a Tier 1 person to easily review the content at a later time.
By strategically adjusting your resources, you can increase your documentation significantly—say, from 30% to 70%—and become more profitable.
2. Service Member billability
Now, there’s much confusion between utilization and billability.
From a utilization standpoint, if you work a 40-hour week, you’ll want to ask yourself how many hours you actually spend working. Whether it’s internal or external, billable or non-billable, think about how many hours you’re being utilized.
Billability, however, involves the number of hours per week you are billing clients. Not all work is billable, but all work involves utilization to some degree.
Now, anytime someone is working on a customer request or project—unless it is sales—the work is billable. And a good service manager needs to hit 100% where billability is concerned.
That’s not a hard KPI to hit, but the service manager needs to make sure their people are billing for every instance a customer took up their time.
3. Client Satisfaction
To evaluate your client satisfaction, look into your survey response rate.
Best-in-class would be 30%, or even 45%. When you see 12%, however, you have to ask yourself whether you and your service members are truly making an effort to collect feedback.
Does the client like to interact with your team? Do they feel comfortable reaching out to you? Surveys should go out in an unbiased way, to everyone who requests a ticket. You want that response rate to be high, even at the risk of occasional negative feedback.
Because at least then you’ll know what you’re doing well, and what you might improve upon. So dive deep into client satisfaction for more insight into the steps you can take.
With that, there are a number of KPIs that are more on the microeconomic scale. They’re still important, though—because they allow the service manager to operate more efficiently. These include:
• How many tickets the service team closed vs. how many tickets were open at the time.
• How many tickets have been triaged and quality checked by the service manager.
• Whether there’s a mechanism for helping or even mentoring engineers, so they can respond to tickets more efficiently.
• How many tickets were solved through automation.
Do these KPIs make sense? At this point, you’ll want to remember that companies grow when their people move the ship forward.
As a service manager, it’s your job to turn things that are failing into opportunities to learn and improve. It’s also your job to reward your people for a job well done.