In the hectic job of a managed service provider, one failure of the system can cost clients valuable time and money. But MSPs can reduce the chances of this by leveraging cloud tools for task management, customer relationship management, contracts, messaging, and other day-to-day tasks. Here are a few MSP tools for automating and streamlining your operations to make managing all your clients and their IT environments more seamless and fool-proof.
1. Task management
For organizing a team’s to-do list, Trello’s free tier lets you create cards with different tasks on them, assign them to members, mark them with deadlines, and drop them into buckets based on project or priority. Asana is a more robust but more complex task management platform that allows users to view to-do items by member, project, or deadline, attach documents, and write comments to team members. These MSP tools can help you keep track of all your tickets, installations, and other projects clients throw at you sometimes unexpectedly.
2. Customer relationship management (CRM)
CRM platforms like Salesforce’s let you manage customer information and new business deals by storing information about your customers and your interactions with them, tracking deals, and receiving notifications about a customer or lead’s activity. Salesforce, the most well-known CRM provider, charges is but there are also some cheaper alternatives. We personally love Insightly’s CRM, which has a great modern UI, a generous free plan and integrates tightly with Google for Work and various helpdesk systems like Zendesk.
3. Digital signing
When taking on new clients and projects, papers flying around or waiting on desks for signatures can waste valuable time and space. To handle all your contracts online, HelloSign integrates with Gmail and Google Docs so you don’t even need to download the document, offering three documents per month for free, and SignEasy lets you pay as you go or purchase plans starting with $5 for 10 documents that can be stored in the cloud.
4. Team messaging
Messaging tools like Slack and Hipchat provide your company with chat rooms, which can be team- or project-specific or include everyone, as well as 1-on-1 messaging. Both providers have a free basic plan that includes file sharing and integrations with apps like Asana for task reminders and Giphy for fun, non-work-related communication. These services can help team members reach one another on their computers or phones or when a problem needs addressing when assisting clients you can greatly benefit from built chat for Zendesk or Panorama9 where you can chat directly with the user.
5. Customer service management
Customer service apps like Zendesk, whose most basic plan starts at $1/agent/month, and Freshdesk, which is free for up to three agents/month, file client tickets from all different channels and direct clients to self-help documents for problems they don’t need you to solve. (psst: we have an integration with Zendesk!)
6. Monitoring dashboards
Enterprise network management services like Panorama9 (shameless self-promotional plug!) give you a single view of your clients’ IT environments so you can spot potential problems in every device and respond accordingly before a ticket is even filed. Panorama9 has a special partnership program for MSPs and can be deployed instantly for a free trial.
Why invest time and (sometimes) money in these MSP tools? The time and money that they’ll save will be worth it. Ollie Strickland, founder of MSP Bitstream Consulting, said he saves “2-4 hours a day just by using a few key software services” including Zendesk and Panorama9. “Those hours translate to more time directly servicing clients and more time finding new ones.”
To learn more about using our dashboard to stay organized and prepared in the cloud with the right set of MSP tools, please subscribe to our blog or email us if you have any other questions. We’re always happy to help.