Published by Matt Setchell on

One of the benefits for many in our industry of being part of an MSP is the hive knowledge it produces. You don’t have to be an expert in everything, and have had every experience yourself, as long as you can engage with your team easily.

This allows a MSP to be able to focus on key skills for different roles, rather then trying to get all in one.

For example, onsite technicians – whilst needing a basic level of troubleshooting – mainly need to be people and experience centric. They need skills to engage, reassure, prioritise and triage issues and communicate.

That’s because they have the backup of technical experts, procurement experts and many others to help them when needed.

But, naturally those working onsite will want to grow their knowledge to help resolve more things, to deliver a faster service and ensure confidence in them by the customer.

Typically I’ve implemented 2nd/3rd line structures to support, but – I no longer think this is effective.

The collective experience and knowledge of an entire team is its strongpoint – and so accessing that is more effective then concentrating knowledge in a selected few.

Making that information available to all fits in with the shift left principle that is so important.

I can see the brilliant information sharing that goes on already – but it’s lost in team chats, disappearing as the day goes on, not shareable.

The traditional – send it to a 2nd or 3rd line has created problems. Knowledge is contained and not shared. Understanding the difference between a 1st and 2nd line is hard to define on anything, it doesn’t promote self development at all.

So recently I have implemented the forum feature within freshdesk for the team. It’s agent only, and allows different topic types, including a problem option where you can mark your question as solved/unsolved

It’s also visible to the entire team and searchable.

And it’s working very well already, it’s taking time for questions to come out of teams, but as colleagues experience using it, they are recommending to others to use the forums for answers.

It works well, because techs can use it when they need it. Ask a question, move on. They get an email when updates occur, and they don’t have to search back through chats. It’s easier to post videos and pictures and talk through the issues

And importantly it’s always there – people don’t have to feel nervous about asking questions and have the ability to develop themselves easily by seeing relevant, topical questions from peers doing the same job and encountering the same issues. The ability to quickly search and use the information to assist and develop skills and knowledge – mean even if a topic doesn’t solve their specific issue, it may well point them in the right direction. A

This follows a wider ambition of mine to forgo the 1st/2nd/3rd line name tags and structure. I don’t have all the answers – but a single structure to be an onsite tech, which allows advancement based on experience and performance (both technical and CX) is something I want to investigate further.

This will hopefully stop where people get promoted for retention, and places them in an unfair position to perform at a level they can’t do. You effectively take a person doing a good job and move them from it, to keep them – but not doing what they are good at. If someone is good at what they are doing, they should be rewarded for that, without the need of progression to justify it. Some people like doing what they are doing.

Of course, others want to move up and take more responsibility, and that’s cool. The same structure would allow that, with progression unlocked by experience and importantly, accreditations.

But going back to the original point of the blog, I think traditional escalations – when you get stuck, give it to someone else and don’t learn isn’t the solution. It doesn’t follow the type of team and individuals I think are so important – who push and develop each other to succeed together and therefore individually.

When recruitment and retention are so difficult. The right people want to learn and develop, so we need to facilitate and enable that in our structure, the forums allow this.

Categories: Blog