Jan. 11, 2019

Nailing Response Time

Steven Wilson

We recently received a note from a customer we took over earlier this year:

Very much appreciate how quickly you were able to get over here and help me out – our old provider would have taken several days to call me back and then a few more days to do the fix. So glad we switched to your company!

Have a good evening.


We love hearing this from our clients, so I wanted to outline how we get such fast response times. Basically it boils down to the following: tools, herd immunity, and utilization.

Tools and Automation

We spend a lot of time to select and implement best of breed tools in our space. Having good tools allows us to become aware of issues before they adversely affect our clients.

By deploying sophisticated monitoring tools we have the time to resolve issues before they result in help desk tickets and gain flexibility in scheduling as we can triage these alerts as they come in.

Furthermore, as we continue to grow, the returns on automation increase. As we are automating common 365 tasks, for example, we are ensuring a consistent service approach with faster resolution times with drastically lower error rates.

Herd Immunity

As we grow and increase the number and diversity of our clients, we gain exposure to common issues across our client base and can remediate them once and apply that same fix to all of our clients.

By doing so, we are able to front-run a lot of issues.

A common example is patch management. Occasionally Microsoft will release a patch that adversely impacts PC's or line of business applications. By staging updates we can identify these issues before they affect potentially thousands of endpoints. Though a small fraction of our managed endpoints may be impacted, the vast majority do not have to experience that pain.

We can identify a problem once, and then resolve it before the rest of our clients experience it.

Utilization Rates

A lot of Managed Services Providers look at technician utilization rates as a key performance indicator (KPI) and work to maximize it.

However, we have found that pushing on utilization forces technicians to look for quick bandaid's so they can move on to the next ticket. Treating the symptoms once means we will be treating the symptoms again and never have the time to address the root cause of issues.

Managing to utilization rewards this bandaid behavior, as overall technician utilization goes up. However, both client and technician suffer.

By targeting a ceiling of 60% utilization we ensure fast response times and much higher 'one-time close rates', which is a much better KPI. This also means that our technicians have time during the day for continuing education or non-billable research to resolve the underlying problems, not simply treat the symptoms.

Steven Wilson