One of the biggest challenges when moving over to a managed services model is related to staffing. Many engineers who cut their teeth in the break-fix world struggle to adapt to the MSP model.
Delivering managed services is all about being proactive. When you’ve spent years driving to customer sites fixing problems as they emerge, sitting in your office monitoring clients IT remotely can feel completely foreign.
Jordi Tejero, owner of CRS Technology Consultants, said that of the 16 engineers he had on staff in the break-fix days, only four remain—illustrating just how difficult this transition can be. You need to make a strong effort to prepare your employees, and even then it doesn’t always work out.
Sitima Fowler, CEO of NY-based Capstone IT said customer service training is essential. “Customer service can be taught,” she said, “but it’s harder once bad habits are in place.”
This is why many MSPs hire young people straight out of school. Tejero said that he’s had very good success with students. “Hiring entry-level staffers allows us to train employees from within,” he said. “We have also had success hiring older people that are looking to a make a career change.” He said one of CRS’s best employees came to the company with limited technology experience but is great with customers.
Fowler said that Capstone has an extensive onboarding process for new hires lasting six months to a year. Beyond that, they offer ongoing training opportunities to grow and engage staff. Still, training only goes so far and certain personalities just can’t cut it in the MSP world. It’s not for introverts, to be certain.
Forget about it if you’ve got a chip on your shoulder, like Nick Burns, Jimmy Fallon’s infamous IT guy sendup. “People skills are the most important thing,” said Tejero. “Your engineers must be client-facing. They need to develop relationships with clients and collaborate. Having the right attitude is everything—you need to humanize the technology.”
And it doesn’t end here. For even more advice and best practices from leading MSPs who’ve successfully made the jump from break-fix, download our free eBook today.