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5 Benefits of Business Intelligence Tools

In 1967’s The Graduate, McGuire pulls Benjamin aside and offers one word of advice, “Plastics.” Even considering the symbolic meaning of the advice, were the same film made in 2021, the one word ...
In 1967’s The Graduate, McGuire pulls Benjamin aside and offers one word of advice, “Plastics.” Even considering the symbolic meaning of the advice, were the same film made in 2021, the one word would, without a doubt, be “data.” More than most people know, data, and big data, has a huge impact on everything we do from our daily lives to our businesses. Often, the ability to leverage the data collected, to analyze it effectively and turn it into business strategies and successes, is the difference between winning and losing in a competitive marketplace. Therefore, the applications we use to gather, report, and analyze that data are the essential tools of the workplace. Quick Links What is business intelligence & why is it important? What are business intelligence tools? 5 benefits of using business intelligence tools   What is business intelligence and why is it important? In short, business intelligence is the collection, reporting, presentation, and analysis of data from various sources (software, applications, services) that informs a business. The end goal is strategic and data-driven decisions. How a business makes decisions is fundamental to its success. Data driven decision making allows an organization to view data as it comes in, compare it to historical and market data as well as other data sources, and make decisions that can: Identify friction points for customers, clients, or team members Prepare for and predict historical market fluctuations Assess market competition Track employee performance Monitor SLA benchmarks Improve processes and operations Identify potential revenue streams or opportunities What are business intelligence tools? If business intelligence is the data collected, reported, presented, or analyzed, business intelligence tools are the method by which those actions happen. This includes the applications, software, and services that provide and present the aggregated data in a structured and useful way. There are a variety of ways these tools present the data including: Dashboards Gauges Visualizations (like maps) Reporting Data Mining OLAP (online analytical processing) ETL (extract-transfer-load) Of these tools, dashboards and visualizations are the most popular and most easily used. As we are visual creatures, these tools are most popular as they provide the data quickly (literally at a glance) and allow users to leverage other visual tools (like design and layout) to facilitate fast identification of needed data. In fact, these tools are so important that Business Intelligence Analyst is a career with considerable growth expected in the next few years. Part of the reason for that growth is that many BI tools require statistical and analytical skills as well as programming, coding, and advanced software skills. As a result, some business intelligence tools can be complex and difficult to use without specialized knowledge. In contrast, BrightGauge’s business intelligence solution allow end users to work “out-of-the-box” with pre-built gauges and automated reporting features that make your business intelligence efforts...well..effortless. In fact, BrightGauge's tools require no coding, no SQL knowledge, and can be used by anyone on your team. That kind of versatility means your team is ready to make insightful data-driven decisions, the kind that strategically grow your business, right away. 5 benefits of using business intelligence tools By this point, hopefully it’s clear that there are benefits to using business intelligence tools to help drive tactical and strategic business decisions. But, let’s take a closer look at what those benefits are. 1.Data-driven decisions Having real data on customer, client, or even employee responses to initiatives lets your organization gauge their success, respond in an agile way, and determine whether similar initiatives will help meet business goals. For example, if data suggests that, historically, sales of a particular item increase during a specific month and then wane in another, you can strategically respond to those fluctuations with offers and pricing adjustments to increase sales or revenue. 2. Improved customer experiences By tracking KPIs related to customer satisfaction or success, or for an MSP tracking response time of technicians, your organization can improve customer experiences. This kind of data is also what we see on major e-commerce sites that recommend products and services similar to what we’ve already purchased or been perusing. In that way, the benefits of business intelligence tools can benefit you whether your organization sells a product or a service. 3. Improved employee experiences There’s no big secret to employee satisfaction. Employees want to feel seen, heard, and connected. A great way to do that is to use BrightGauge’s goals tool and share dashboards with employees to allow them to track progress and successes. You can even send automated reports to your team to keep them engaged and interested. There’s a direct correlation between employee engagement and employee satisfaction and business intelligence tools can help you strengthen that connection! 4. Competitive advantage As noted briefly above, one of the best advantages of business intelligence tools is the access to historical and competitor data. Analyzing both of these allows you to prepare for market forecasts, recognize service or product gaps, and present solutions to the market when needed. Similarly, in the case of individual customers or clients, use your business experience to proactively recognize patterns or trends and offer services to your clients before they even know they need it.  5. Improved efficiency on multiple levels Gone are the days of account managers jumping from program to program to gather data to report to a client, a superior, or even their team. Business intelligence tools like BrightGauge’s offer robust reporting capabilities, often with automation, and are a time saving measure for any team member who needs to report. Further, the ability to share dashboards with teams or individuals, means everyone can stay in alignment on goals and objectives. This kind of transparency on teams can drive productivity as all team members can gauge progress and share in the wins.  If your team isn’t currently using a business intelligence tool to reap all these amazing advantages, what are you waiting for? Using business intelligence doesn't have to be intimidating. BrightGauge was specifically designed so anybody could use it. Once you get your BrightGauge KPIs and dashboards set up, you'll be on your way to deeper data insights that could truly have a positive impact on your business.  Get in touch with the BrightGauge team to talk about how our solution can benefit you.

Understanding the Difference Between KPIs and Metrics

If you remember back to high school geometry, you might recall the axiom that all squares are parallelograms, but not all parallelograms are squares. Why does this matter? Because, essentially, KPIs and metrics have a similar relationship. All KPIs are metrics, but not all metrics are KPIs. While the terms are often tossed about interchangeably, failure to understand KPIs vs. metrics might mean you’re focused on the wrong measurement, creating confusion around your goals and impacting decisions the real data may not support. If you’re hoping to base your business decisions on data, then understanding the difference between KPIs and metrics is vital.   Quick Links What are KPIs? What are metrics? KPIs vs metrics: How data driven businesses use both How dashboards can help you track KPIs and Metrics   What are KPIs? KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are the metrics by which you gauge business critical initiatives, objectives, or goals. The operative word in the phrase is “key,” meaning they have special or significant meaning. KPIs act as measurable benchmarks against defined goals.   For example, if your business goal is to increase sales by 15% over the next two quarters, the KPIs to gauge that may include, but not be limited to: new customer acquisition, customer churn, and upselling success rate. In short, a KPI can be made up of multiple metrics.  What are metrics? While KPIs measure progress toward specific goals, metrics are measurements of overall business health. While they may be loosely tied to specific targeted objectives, they are not the most important metrics and may not be good guides as to whether you’re on track.   In fact, some of them may be what are referred to as vanity metrics, the ones that just make you feel good, but don’t mean much, such as the number of likes a post gets on social media. However, metrics can still provide valuable data about your business. For example, you might track website visitors as a metric, but unless it’s tied to a specific key business objective, it’s a metric, not a KPI. More on that below! KPIs vs. metrics: How data driven businesses use both Why does all of this matter? You may think because you’re not a data analyst metrics and KPIs don’t matter much. But these days, with the way we work and the data-driven nature of many businesses (particularly because we have so many ways to collect data), it’s a mistake to not use the information we readily have at our disposal. Let’s start with a basic tenet: metrics support KPIs. KPIs may be made up of a variety of different metrics that give you a full picture of you or your team’s progress toward a goal. If we return to the example of website visitors, simply tracking that information isn’t a KPI — it’s a metric. But if we add a little more information to that example, we can see how it could become a KPI. If the business goal is to create 20% more sales qualified leads (SQL) over the next year, original/new website visits alone may not provide you with the data you need. However, understanding how that metric translates into other site interactions, like form completions and downloads, is vital. If analysis has created a correlation between downloads and SQLs, then website visitors and new downloads become KPIs rather than just metrics. Given that example, if new website visitors don’t translate into downloads, if the majority of downloads are coming from an email campaign, then website visits isn’t a KPI; it’s just a metric. That doesn’t mean it’s not important, as visitors might be signing up for your emails via the website, but contacts may come from a wide variety of sources. In short, you will likely still monitor website visits, but it’s not tied directly to an objective as a KPI would be.   How dashboards can help you track KPIs and metrics For a data driven business, metrics are essential, whether KPIs or not. It’s how your business plans and prepares for next steps, additional goals, as well as identifying lagging performance. While the difference between KPIs and metrics is objective, there is, essentially, no change in how you should be looking at that data. It’s why dashboards can be such an effective tool for businesses. In fact, BrightGauge’s KPI dashboards empower you to choose the metrics you want to monitor and create customized dashboards. The customization process enables you to check your business’s pulse, at a glance, and share that data with individuals or entire teams, keeping everyone aligned and motivated. Further, use of the snapshot tool to create charts that measure your progress day-to-day or month-to-month allow you and your team to easily identify patterns among your metrics. That means you can proactively address friction points or build on existing successes. Again, instead of moving between multiple programs, multiple screens, and creating complex spreadsheets, BrightGauge’s tools allow you to do it all in one place, saving you time and effort. If you’d like to talk to our team about how our dashboard tools can help you monitor business metrics for your data driven efforts, get in touch with us today!

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Shagun Jain Joins BrightGauge as Software Engineer

We’re excited to welcome Shagun Jain to the team as a Software Engineer! Join us in learning more about the newest member of our growing BrightGauge family.    In the beginning   Shagun grew up in Meerut, India - a city in the National capital region, close to New Delhi. While in high school and secondary school, Shagun developed an interest in Information Technology and, upon finishing school, was shortlisted for a renowned computer program in India. For the first time in his life, he left his comfort zone and got to broaden his horizons in Bengaluru, India - or as Shagun puts it, the Silicon Valley of Asia.   While in this program, Shagun was exposed to the IT world and all the fun that comes with it, like working in big IT parks and seeing a supercomputer up close and personal.    Throughout his professional career, Shagun has done it all. He's worked as a developer, quality analyst, business analyst, and product manager in service-based companies, product-based companies, and start-up environments. This diversified experience has well-prepared him to take on the BrightGauge world.    Joining BrightGauge   When Shagun got the opportunity to join ConnectWise, he learned that he'd be working on the BrightGauge side of the business. Reading up on our business intelligence domain, and visualization and reporting capabilities got Shagun amped up about joining the team.    He's most excited to be a part of a team that is continuing to unleash the potential of our product and positively impact the MSP community.    Plus, he has felt welcomed by his colleagues from the start. As he says, "A diversified culture and a global team is something you strive for anywhere you work - at BrightGauge and ConnectWise, it comes as a default."    Out of office    When Shagun isn't busy being a master of our product, you can find him outdoors and constantly working for a social cause in order to become a better person and to give back to society.      We love how humble Shagun is, but what truly makes him a perfect fit at BrightGauge? His sense of humor! We're learning a thing or two from his GIF game!

How to Set the Right Business Goals to Scale Your MSP

Goals. We have meetings to discuss them, meetings to set them, meetings to track progress, meetings to evaluate them. Sometimes we even plan retreats and getaways to dedicate full days to looking at how they can drive our teams, initiatives, and planning.   In fact, every organizational management book stresses the importance of goal-setting. But, goals are worthless without understanding why they work and what you can achieve with them! But, before you dive into the goals your business should be aiming for, it’s important to look at benefits any business can realize with the right goals. To start, organizational goals work to define the strategies needed throughout a company’s entire structure. Executives and management define and champion those strategies and goals themselves.   Then, team goals influence the processes employed within those teams. And finally, there are individual goals which help to define workdays and dictate areas of focus for individual employees. As you can see, there’s a structure to goals themselves, and team and individual goals should be working to see the realization of the larger business goals. Therefore, it’s important to plan accordingly.   Quick Links What are business goals? Why business goals are important Setting outcome and process goals Choosing between outcome and process goals Why business goals are important for MSPs How to choose the right goals to scale your MSP How to track your goals using BG's goals and dashboards What Are Business Goals? Simply put, business goals help establish the priorities for a business. Your organization should anticipate being able to meet your goals over a set period of time, and be careful to not set the bar too low, or choose something unattainable. In fact, it’s important to set S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) even at an organizational level. These goals should be big enough that each team can see its role and can identify the goals they’ll need to reach to make the larger goal possible. For example, your MSP may set a goal of $10,000 Net New MRR each month. In order to facilitate that, team goals should contribute as well. What would contributing goals look like across marketing, sales, and customer success teams?   As we all know, MRR doesn’t just steadily build. In fact, customers are often in flux and one occasionally slips through the cracks. Therefore, the customer success team goal might be to keep churn at five accounts or fewer each month.   For the sales team, they’d need to calculate how many new accounts they need to reach the goal. Let’s say they need 10 new accounts at $1,000 MRR each to reach the $10,000 Net New MRR goal. However, we also want to consider organizational alignment. In other words, if the customer success team has set a churn limit of five accounts, the sales team will need to close 15 new accounts to be on the "safe" side and mindful of potential churn.   At the same time, the marketing team would need to focus on the number of demo requests that must be driven to the sales team in order to close these 15 transactions. If sales closes 50% of the demos and upgrades sent their way, then for the sales team to close 15 new accounts, marketing must send them 30 demo requests.   No matter what your organizational goals are, once you’re able to get all of the moving parts within your business aligned and working towards the same big-picture target, you’ll find that your business will thrive! Why Business Goals Are Important There are a variety of reasons business goals are important. Not only do they provide direction for each team, but they allow everyone to plan. As in the example above, without the larger business goal, each of those teams could create goals that don’t support one another, or the larger business. However, there are other benefits as well. Business Goals Help to Create Focus and Engagement In order for almost any organization to reach lofty targets, there has to be laser-like focus at all levels. Goals help clarify that focus and define what you are truly after. In fact, by outlining both your process goals and outcome goals (we’ll cover these in detail later in this post), you’ll ensure that your company is headed in the right direction and focused on the steps that will get you to your desired results. It’s also important to note here that goals provide task direction. During downtime when your team is looking for an action to take, task-oriented goals provide a blueprint for meaningful action. Across dozens or hundreds of employees, this targeted focus has a compound effect that drives organizations forward. Further, given that each team and each individual has a role in achieving both team and business goals, they are more likely to be invested and engaged in the process. Business Goals Help to Facilitate Accountability Having goals in place is not enough to guarantee success. A certain level of accountability needs to be maintained to ensure that goals are being met and new goals are being created to replace them. That’s why you must have a cadence for checking in with individuals and teams — it’s a vital part of keeping the motivation flowing across your company. Let’s face it, we all perform at an increased level when we have people we respect holding us to a higher standard!   By encouraging accountability within your organization, your chances of success in completing small process goals and larger outcome goals are improved. Additionally, the accountability factor that’s tied to cadence is a two-way street: It highlights success and also sheds light on failures. Setting Outcome and Process Goals In most organizations, goals can be broken down into two categories — process goals and outcome goals. If you aren’t sure of the difference, here is an easy way to remember them: Outcome Goals - What you want to achieve Process Goals - The steps or actions you must take to help you attain the outcome goal   If you’ve read Traction or are familiar with EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) Worldwide, then think of your scorecard as your process goals. Your company priorities, or outcome goals, are what they refer to as rocks — these are must-have goals destined to get completed due to their importance. Rocks may be company-wide or individual goals. Their scope isn’t what defines them; their importance is. For instance, let’s say you have a goal of obtaining 10 new paying clients in a given month. This is a perfect example of an outcome goal. However, landing those clients is outside of your control because whether or not you are able to sign those clients depends upon a myriad of other factors including competition, scheduling issues, and yes — even a bit of luck. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t set an outcome goal for yourself. They are, after all, the end desire you want to achieve. However, it’s better to set goals that aren’t dependent upon forces outside of your control. This is where process goals come into play. Process goals are smaller, step-oriented goals that help you build toward your big picture aspirations. These are goals that are completely within your control and as a result, are actionable and clearly defined. Your goal post for success should be clear. Using our previous example to sign 10 new clients in a month, your process goal might be to call 20 people per day from your prospect list. This smaller, action-oriented goal is the driving force behind landing those clients because if you’re able to hit your daily goal, then you’re actively pushing toward meeting your larger outcome goal for the month. If you’re not able to land those 10 new clients, you should go back and decide how to alter your process and what your new daily goal should be. It’s important to remember that one type of goal isn’t better or more important than the other. Process goals and outcome goals work together. Stress the importance of pairing the two in order to instill commitment and focus among your teams. Choosing Between Outcome and Process Goals Having an understanding of when to use outcome or process goals is the critical first step toward actually achieving them. Every company has an outcome goal in mind: It’s what they’re striving for. Once you have your outcome goal dialed in, start by breaking it down. What are the actual steps that will need to be taken in order for you to achieve that outcome goal? Don’t worry too much about complete accuracy at this point, as the process goals can be changed later when you have some data to work with. Once you’ve broken down your outcome goal into all of the individual steps that you will need to take to achieve success, you can begin crafting and assigning those tasks to the appropriate teams and individuals that will complete them. Using our previous example of closing 10 new clients, there are many tasks that you may need to tackle, in order to accomplish this outcome goal. Your process goals may include: Making sales calls to prospects Ensuring that your prospect database stays refreshed with new contacts Putting together proposals for interested prospects Researching and understanding their business Drafting a suitable contract for your partnership Once you have outlined the processes required to reach your outcome goal, you can then break them down into more specific tasks. For example, “making sales calls to prospects” would become “make 25 sales calls to prospects each day.” This helps to draw a firm line between success and failure and provides a measurable goal for whoever ultimately is assigned the task. How to Monitor and Manage Your Goals Both process and outcome goals need to be tracked and evaluated weekly. Perhaps your initial goal of 25 sales calls per day turns out to be a little bit ambitious, and 15 turns out to be more reasonable. Or, maybe your sales team is capable of making more calls than originally expected. You could find that your entire outcome goal of signing 10 new clients that month is too lofty and needs to be altered. Goals can be changed. The important thing is to make sure that you are constantly evaluating your efforts to reach them and tracking your success! Why Business Goals Are Important for MSPs Like any other business, MSPs need goals to help set a direction for the future and establish the best ways to facilitate growth. Further, goals shared across the organization ensure alignment and can improve productivity, moving the needle on KPIs. And, the right goals can help an MSP scale strategically, improving service options, boosting customer satisfaction, and allowing teams to identify appropriate market opportunities to aim for. While many companies are eager to grow, and grow quickly, there are significant dangers to growing too fast. Any business, especially one that has a foundation in service, must grow at a steady pace because SLAs matter and meeting them impacts customer retention, relationships, and churn. How to Choose the Right Goals to Scale Your MSP No doubt you’re itching to grow if you’ve successfully gotten off the ground. The fact that the MSP industry is poised for significant growth likely means you want to capitalize on that too. However, growing too fast and for the sake of growth alone (without goals) could ultimately be disastrous. So, how do you choose the right goals to scale your MSP? 1. Start With Process Goals No doubt the start of your business included a lot of trial and error, particularly in relation to the processes that move a lead to a customer, and a customer to a satisfied customer. However, it goes beyond that.   Before you start adding in more clients, you want to make sure that all parts of your business from administration and marketing to customer success and service have tested processes that will provide the stability you will need to grow. 2. Set Attainable Goals That Allow You to Scale As noted elsewhere, while growth is the goal, explosive growth has the potential to overwhelm the services team and that could hurt service quality that enabled you to get there. The key to sustained and successful growth is scaling. Runners don’t go from a 5k to a marathon in a month, nor should your business. 3. Look At Ways to Grow Recurring Revenue   Successful MSPs have a majority of their revenue stemming from managed services rather than product sales or partnership programs. So, when setting outcome goals, consider MRR growth as a goal, and align your teams, as in the example at the start of this piece suggests. Getting all teams on board with an MRR outcome goal is one path to sustained and successful growth. 4. Assess Customer Distribution  In an ideal situation, you’ll have a good number of customers who are providing you revenue rather than a smaller number of existing clients who are contributing the lion’s share of your revenue. In looking for an area for growth, you may want to consider looking at how you balance this.   Successful MSPs have their revenue streams more evenly distributed. In fact, your strong business becomes significantly weaker if just one of those large customers goes elsewhere. In this case, you’ll want to choose an outcome goal that enables you to find the kind of clients that stabilize your revenue and business.   5. Assess Resource Utilization Prior to setting any goals for growth, you need to know where you’ll need to scale and gauge what you can afford. That means you’ll need a complete and full understanding of how all of your resources are currently being used before you can assess whether you can afford, in terms of time and money, to grow a specific service or take on the clients you’re targeting.   Similarly, don’t add team members until you need them. Grow as you need rather than as you want. 6. Track Your Metrics    If MRR is the primary revenue stream for a growing MSP, then tracking metrics, especially those that relate to your SLAs and customer satisfaction, becomes crucial. Knowing where you stand in terms of a reliable revenue stream as well as in terms of service quality enables you to retain the customers who build reliable MRR. Additionally, those metrics will enable you to establish both the process and outcome goals you need to set to grow. How to Track Your Goals Using BrightGauge's Goals and Dashboards Speaking of assessing resource utilization, knowing how your team is spending time is vital to your growth goals. Therefore, any tool you can add to your arsenal to ensure your team is working efficiently and effectively is a boon to your business. And if that tool enables you to establish goals, track metrics, gauge progress, and share all of that information with the people who need it most, wouldn’t it seem like a wise investment? BrightGauge’s solution offers all of those capabilities and more. By facilitating goal setting and then providing the tracking tools you need, you can keep your business, your teams, and your individual employees focused and aligned. If you’re ready to grow your MSP in a scalable and sustainable way, then you need the tools to facilitate that.   Get in touch with the BrightGauge team today to discuss how we can help!

How to Use Dashboards for Customer Success Reporting (+ KPIs to Track)

Definitions, in essence, are parameters. They are the boundaries of understanding, often as it relates to a single word. As discussed in a recent blog on customer success teams, how we use language matters. How we define service vs. success is a significant part of the relationships we build with our customers. So, when considering what customer success means, we need a way to gauge, define, and track that definition. Customer success aligns the success of our clients with the success of our organization. However, it’s not enough to establish a vague goal of finding the ways in which our goals sync up with those of our customers. As we all know, customers want something concrete. They want evidence and data that supports and often financially justifies their relationship with an organization. One great way to do that is to utilize customer success dashboards to track the success of those objectives.   Quick Links What is customer success? Why do businesses need to track customer success? KPIs to track customer success How BrightGauge can help you meet your own customer success goals What is customer success? Customer success offers an alternative view to customer service. In the past, many businesses focused on the functions, products, and services they provided for their customers and saw meeting their customers' needs as a role separated from their own business goals. Customer success reframes those concepts in a way that allows businesses to align their success with the success of their customers. In other words, customer success looks at how an organization helps their customers achieve their goals and recognizes that a satisfied and successful customer is their goal as well and the two are intricately tied.   Why do businesses need to track customer success?   The short simple answer is that customer success is essential to your own organization’s success. If your customer isn’t achieving their goals, they’re more likely to seek services elsewhere. Tracking customer success can:   Ensure a consistent revenue stream. If your customers are successful, they’ll stay. This means you can count on their MRR, month after month. Reduce churn. Again, with their success you earn their loyalty; you build relationships. Customers who are realizing their goals with your partnership will stay with you. Improve customer satisfaction. A customer who is achieving their goals is likely to be happier than one who is not. In turn, they’ll spread the word, be open to upsell opportunities, and provide positive reviews or testimonials. Improve your product or service. If you’re focused on ensuring your customers are having the best experience and continued success utilizing what you offer, you’re bound to improve what it is you offer. Build your reputation. When your customers are successful, obviously this reflects upon you and your organization. As such, other businesses and potential customers are more inclined to do business with you. Further, the positive word of mouth and increased reputation will lower your new customer acquisition cost. Increase employee satisfaction and engagement. When a team wins consistently via customer success and when customers are happy, morale increases. Similarly, your employees will be willing to look for ways to improve your customer’s experience thereby increasing their engagement and investment. This is the kind of corporate culture most businesses seek. It’s clear to see that there are a multitude of reasons that customer success is important and a variety of ways in which it enables the kinds of tangible and intangible benefits many organizations struggle to achieve.  KPIs to track customer success Customer success KPIs will enable your business to track and gauge exactly how well you’re meeting the goal of improving customer success (and in turn meeting several of the larger goals noted above). Therefore, knowing what to track is an essential part of developing a winning customer success strategy. Here are some of the most important metrics to track:   Churn Rate - As mentioned above, the rate at which your customers are leaving may be a good indicator of how successful they’re feeling. Happy customers stay customers, so tracking your churn rate is a great metric to use in gauging whether customer success initiatives are working.   Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) - As noted above, successful customers will sign on for additional services, purchase more products, and spend more money with your organization. Therefore, rises in CLV likely indicate customer success and satisfaction. MRR - Much like CLV, consistent and steady MRR means satisfied customers. Similarly, a steadily increasing MRR means customer acquisitions or existing customers signing on for more services. Both can be indicative of customer success and satisfaction.   Customer support tickets - There are a variety of reasons you should be tracking this data, but if customers are regularly encountering issues, and severe enough issues that they need to contact support, it’s likely they’re not satisfied or missing out on success. Tracking this metric means your team can not only gauge a customer’s success with your product, but also determine where the issues are and make the needed adjustments.  Net Promoter Score - If you’re gauging customer satisfaction, that likely means you’re amassing data from customer surveys. While you should be asking whether a customer is likely to recommend you, you should also be asking what customers like about your product or services and what they would change. This enables you to be constantly evolving to meet their needs and improve your offerings. Customer satisfaction - Speaking of customer surveys, this is an obvious metric you should be gauging and one that can provide a good “temperature check.” However, it’s vital that customer surveys go beyond the satisfaction rating and ask what earned that score. Again, that’s where you get the opportunity to build on the services or products your customers love and address any friction or pain points with your service. How BrightGauge can help you meet your own customer success goals Now that we’ve established the customer success KPIs you’ll want to be tracking, let’s move into the tools you’ll want to use for monitoring those metrics and turning them into movement.  Using dashboards to track customer success To start, one of the most valuable aspects of a dashboard is that it enables you to gather your data in one place. Further, dashboards, like the ones offered by BrightGauge, provide a quick visual representation of that data enabling users to see, at a glance, where your team is meeting success and where they’re falling short of goals. While design elements certainly enable quick visual recognition of vital metrics, so does BrightGauge’s out-of-the-box dashboard design, which doesn’t require complicated coding. This means that anyone who needs to can set up a dashboard and team leads as well as individual members of a customer success team can track what they need to for whom they need to. Customer success reporting   Customer success metrics, much like the dashboards, are amazing tools, but a hammer that sits on a shelf doesn’t build; someone has to wield it; someone has to put the hammerhead to a nail. Customer success metrics are similar. Without reporting to the folks who need it, customer success metrics won’t change much, not in your service teams and certainly not in your sales departments. For that reason, ensuring that you’ve got a tool, like BrightGauge, that enables easy automated reporting is essential. Data is great, but if you’re not leveraging that data to make improvements or convert leads to customers, then it’s just data. If you’re looking for ways to turn customer success KPIs and customer success data into data-driven customer success strategies, then you need to invest in a tool that enables that. Focusing on a customer success initiative can save you acquisition costs and increase both lifetime value and MRR. The tool that enables you to track and report on those vital KPIs is an investment in your team, your customers, and your future. Get in touch with the BrightGauge team today to talk about how our dashboard and reporting solution can help you leverage your data for big gains.

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Top 3 NOC/Operations Team KPIs

Perhaps one of the largest things we take for granted, as humans, is the ability for our body to work in coordination with itself, even when each distinctive part is doing its own thing. For example, when we walk, our arms swing. Their job? To help keep our torsos and hips steady from the impact of our feet hitting the ground. In fact, research suggests that even that small swing saves the muscles in our legs from expending energy. If that swing suddenly stopped, we’d likely notice. There might be some pain and walking might be a bit more difficult. Truth is, businesses aren’t that much different. When functioning well, as a finely-tuned machine, each of your teams is going to be contributing, in its own way, to your forward progress. More specifically, your Sales Team is going to contribute to success in different ways than your Project Team, Service Team, or Finance Team, but each will be vital. Let’s not forget about your NOC/Operations Team, arguably the lifeblood of your organization. Much like our bodies, we want to check in on our teams, check their performance, and ensure that everything continues to move smoothly. For that reason, setting goals, and tracking and monitoring KPIs, is an essential piece to ensuring success. For your NOC/Operations team, whose mission is critical, we recommend including 3 specific KPIs to track on NOC dashboards. Quick Links What are Network Operations Center (NOC) services? How to choose NOC dashboards to monitor Top 3 KPIs for Operations and NOC teams How BrightGauge helps you track NOC performance metrics What are network operations center (NOC) services? Network Operations Center refers to the primary location used by network services to monitor and manage IT infrastructure and services, including databases, applications, security, and hardware components. For that reason, it’s a vital part of any business that relies upon any kind of IT services for its core business. The network operations staff is typically the first team to recognize system bottlenecks, potential service disruptions or slow downs, or to identify threats, risks, or active attacks on a network. Because a good portion of what they do is securing your IT resources to ensure their reliability, they’re a vital part of your team.  In fact, it’s this team that helps nearly every other team in your business. They ensure your staff can access the information, systems, files, and databases they need. And, further, they ensure your customers can access the information or services they need. As such your operations team must have a working relationship with them and open communication to ensure that the services that generate revenue are not interrupted or impacted by IT issues. If you’re in the IT, SaaS, MSP, or any business that provides critical IT services, your operations team and your NOC are one and the same. How to choose NOC dashboards to monitor Prior to building BrightGauge, our founders Brian and Eric Dosal owned an MSP, so they have been ingrained in the industry for quite some time. They have first-hand experience of what it takes to run an operations center successfully. This paired with insight from industry benchmarks has helped us prioritize goals. Obviously, in choosing KPIs to monitor, you’ll want to select the metrics that really isolate and help determine how effective a specific team is. For that reason, you’ll want to first identify the team’s primary purpose and goals. For an operations team, a good part of that will be related to security, but you’ll also want to keep an eye on metrics that matter to you.  The recommendations we’re making  are based on our experience, but we recognize you may have different metrics that matter to you, which is okay! Every business leader has to run their business on their own terms, but we believe our advice can provide a bit of guidance.   Top 3 KPIs for Operations and NOC teams   NOC technicians are the ones getting their hands dirty, so to speak, when it comes to your technical tasks and issues, so their contributions are going to be pretty significant to company performance. They are monitoring networks and working hard to ensure that everything runs as it should.   The results of an Operations Team’s actions, whether good or bad, will have an impact on your reputation, so it’s important to give this team careful attention. Monitoring their actions through NOC dashboards will help you stay on a path towards success. Critical Alerts/Issues Opened   Handling incoming tickets and escalation in an organized and effective manner takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s absolutely necessary. Not only will monitoring critical alerts help you be proactive in resolving issues before they become disasters, but it also shows that you’re intent on meeting SLAs and providing your clients with great service.   Additionally, tracking your issues opened will allow you to identify trends over time - are you noticing that the same clients are opening tickets time and time again? Do you need to charge them more? Are there recurring issues that can be prevented?   Taking note of patterns by use of NOC dashboards will make you a stronger and more productive agency over time.   Backups Missed     All service technicians understand that regular backups help networks run optimally. Additionally, backups are vital to business continuity should disaster strike. For those two reasons, backups are a daily task in a NOC, so keeping track of them is a necessity and most likely a part of your SLA.   When a backup is missed, internal teams need to understand why and clients must also be notified. NOC reports keep things transparent, keep you accountable, and allow for trustworthy partnerships.   Documentation Engagement   Why is documentation so critical? Here’s one example. You likely have more than one NOC technician employed and it’s possible your techs work on different client sites. What happens if a client has an urgent issue and their assigned tech is on vacation? Ideally, a documentation trail outlining a history of the work that’s been done for that client will guide any other tech in solving the issue.   There are bound to be countless other important documents that are specific to a NOC and keeping them organized and accessible ensures that things run smoothly.   Tracking how often your team members are documenting (per day or per week) holds them accountable and encourages a really productive, transparent department. It also helps you see how well (or not) you’re adhering to client SLAs, so that you can take corrective action if necessary.   How BrightGauge helps you track these metrics   BrightGauge pulls data in from different business solution tools you’re most likely using, like ConnectWise Manage, Datto, Backup Radar, Webroot, IT Glue, and more. Whether you are using an RMM, PSA, or a financial tool, BrightGauge compiles all of your important metrics into one operations dashboard, so you can keep an eye on the data that matters most to you.   Since a lot of work in the IT industry is time-sensitive, we built BrightGauge with the intention of allowing you to get going on day one. For each of our integrations, we determine the top metrics to track and pre-build gauges, dashboards, and reports based on that information, which means that you’ll have access to your data as soon as you open an account.   As a business leader, there’s so much you have to monitor and take into account on a daily basis, and our goal for BrightGauge is that it helps you manage your daily tasks more easily.   Aside from displaying your data in one NOC dashboard, BrightGauge gives you the power to create custom, interactive reports you can automatically share with your clients (transparency for the win!), and helps you foster an accountable and motivated team through goal-setting and tracking.   You’ve got a lot of KPIs to track and BrightGauge can help you get a handle on that. If you want to learn more about the importance of KPIs and how BrightGauge can help you create custom dashboards to monitor what you need, get in touch with our team today!

Dashboard of the Month: Support Shift Handoff

As a Service Desk Manager, how are you approaching your changes in support shifts from day-to-day? How does one shift manager loop the next shift manager in on all the important data they need to know in order to keep things running smoothly?    We know this has been a topic of discussion amongst managed service providers (MSPs), so we worked with Chris St. Pierre, Managed Services Manager at Next Dimension Inc., to learn more.    In talking with other MSPs, Chris discovered that most companies just sent a note or an email to the team that was taking over the support shift. Together, we felt that a dashboard could get the job done more efficiently.   Chris sent me the metrics and tasks his team must be aware of when support shifts change, and we created the Support Shift Handoff dashboard.    Support Shift Handoff dashboard - view here Chris's crucial metrics include: Number of currently open incidents Requests and changes  Stale and escalated ticket details Daily average response time Kill rate to understand if the backlog increased or decreased during the day  Ticket distribution by client    The Support Shift Handoff dashboard keeps his team informed on where their focus should be, while monitoring alerts give them a heads up on anything that requires immediate attention. As a manager, this dashboard helps Chris relay any important messages to his team and keep track of where everything stands.    If you want to recreate and customize this dashboard for your own service team, check out the links below: Support Shift Handoff dashboard (public view link) Support Shift Handoff Buildout Key   We'd love to see how you are using this dashboard with your own teams. Please feel free to reach out to with any questions you have!

How to Reduce Your MSP's Churn Rate

“To everything churn, churn, churn…” Nope. Those aren’t the lyrics and for good reason. Most businesses, like your MSP, are trying to avoid churn. We could pretend there’s some complicated algorithm or some complex cascade of factors that impact when a client leaves, but the truth of the matter is, most of the time, it’s because clients aren’t happy. Whether your services aren’t meeting the standards set in the SLA, communication isn’t clear, or it's something else altogether, churn is a very real problem for a lot of MSPs.   Of course it’s important to understand why clients are leaving, but the next step, how to stop it, is equally important. Further, if you’re not meeting SLAs, it’s not enough to say “We’ll just have to meet those standards.” If you’re well versed in S.M.A.R.T. goal setting, you’ll know that’s not enough. So exactly how can you prevent churn in your MSP?    Quick Links What can an MSP do for its clients? What affects churn rate? Reducing your MSP’s churn using goals and dashboards What can an MSP do for its clients? The IT landscape can be overwhelming...and expensive. These unforgiving factors are especially true as technology needs keep evolving and growing. Similarly, customer demands and expectations push businesses to provide the kinds of services that require a robust IT infrastructure and network. When we factor in that those same end users are demanding reliability, speed, and security, it’s easy to see how any business can have a difficult time meeting all of those needs while managing the rest of their business. IT can quickly become a full-time job for a business who needs to invest its time and resources on other business goals. This is, obviously, where the MSP comes in. This is where you swoop in to save the day. By providing the hardware, software, expert IT staff, and any other resources a business may need, you save them time, money, and stress. An MSP can help a business: Save time- Improving IT performance can improve efficiency meaning workers can be more productive. Up-to-date software and hardware and fewer work arounds, like those needed for legacy systems, save a team time and let them focus on the work, rather than getting bogged down by slow computers or complicated additional steps. Save money- The money saved is a bit complex as it happens on multiple levels. An MSP provides a consistent IT cost to what can, traditionally, be variable and expensive. This includes software, hardware, security, staffing, and all of the elements that factor in to maintaining a reliable, fast, and secure network. Again, the efficiency of a team and their increased productivity means more business opportunities and more time spent on revenue generation ideas than network maintenance. Enhance IT- Not only can a business adopt new technologies faster, but it can scale as needed. Further, enhanced security means an organization’s reputation and data are both safeguarded. For some, that security includes backup and disaster recovery. Typically, all of these would require expensive hardware and human resources that often aren’t available or are too costly. Data analysis- Many businesses are relying on the data they gather from their customers and clients, but the data game isn’t about how much one can collect, it’s about what they do with what they gather. More MSPs are beginning to provide analytical services that allow businesses to leverage their data into strategic business initiatives and goals. These are all amazing value adds. Essentially, an MSP provides services that just about every business needs, all while saving time and money. MSPs improve security, productivity, and efficiency; allow for scalable and responsive networks; and provide maintenance, security, and, in some cases, data analysis. Businesses should be knocking down your door...and if they’re not? Or if they’ve knocked, but now they’re looking for the door to make an exit, it’s time to look at what you can do to prevent that. What affects churn rate? As mentioned, briefly, above, one of the biggest causes of customer churn is failing to meet SLAs. The SLA is the agreement between a provider and customer that establishes the type of services provided, the level at which they’ll be provided, and the, hopefully, very clear expectations and benchmarks for that service (hint: that means they’re trackable!). Failing to meet the SLAs is one element, but it comes down, in part, to customer service. If you’re not meeting those SLAs and your customer is dissatisfied, you’re not meeting their needs. You’re not “serving the customer” which also likely means you’re not communicating, analyzing your service levels, and adjusting as needed (hint: it’s why quarterly business reviews are so important!). If you’re not being proactive you’re likely considering customer service rather than customer success. It seems pretty clear that a service provider who’s not meeting standards, not responding to needs or working towards proactive initiatives, isn’t the right partner for many businesses. While meeting SLAs and customer success are vital to your success, poor relationship building and poor onboarding have also been identified as major forces in customer churn. Essentially, what we can take from these lessons about churn is that MSPs need to stay focused on their customers’ expectations and needs and need to monitor how they’re progressing.    Reducing your MSP’s churn using goals and dashboards What if we told you there is a way to monitor and track your customer’s goals, your SLA metrics, and your customer success and retention KPIs? Well, it is what we’re saying. The goals feature of BrightGauge was designed to help your MSP and your team stay on track. Based on your SLAs you can build out your goals and allow multiple team leaders to assess the goals their team must meet to meet your service agreements. Further, you can set customer relationship goals and track the KPIs that allow you to build on those relationships. For example, if your goal is to increase customer satisfaction, responsiveness is one of the most important attributes of any service organization. In fact, failure to resolve an issue quickly is one of the top 2 reasons for a customer loss. Further, 41% of customers expect a response within 6 hours, and 24 hours is often considered the maximum acceptable response time. Understanding how long it takes your team to respond to client issues can help you address why response times are taking longer than they should, or reward team members for successfully meeting those goals! Or, let’s say you’ve got a goal of improving the efficiency and success of your onboarding process. You can track the KPIs that help determine how successful you are such as: customer training progress, responsiveness, product adoption rate, and more. By tracking the KPIs, you can identify where friction points are, improving the onboarding process and improving customer satisfaction early in your relationship. Being able to track these kinds of metrics means you’re on top of your team’s performance and how it’s impacting your customers and their satisfaction. Further, BrightGauge’s dashboards allow you to track and customize the KPIs along the path to your objectives or your customer’s needs. You can share those with your team as a whole or individual employees, and, even better, you can increase customer satisfaction by automating those reports and communicating directly and frequently with your customers. In short, goal setting is important, service levels are important, but they’re only as good as your ability to track and monitor your progress, to analyze your successes, adjust where there are shortcomings, and report on all of these things to the people that matter most, your team and your client. If you’d like to talk more about how BrightGauge’s solution can help you reduce your MSP’s churn, get in touch with our team today!

How to Measure Motivation of Your Employees to Increase Performance

While it’s true that great managers are a constant source of encouragement and talented employees possess the ability to self-motivate, using other motivational techniques is never a bad idea. But, let’s be honest. Two-dimensional efforts to motivate employees, like posters of kittens dangling from tree limbs broadcasting “Hang in there!” just doesn’t cut it in most cases. While some employees may feed off motivational phrases and signs, others might be motivated by team cheerleading sessions and others only by financial rewards, public recognition, or “winning,” whatever that may look like on your team or in your organization. Regardless of these motivational methods, one method stands out above all and that’s feedback...consistent, regular feedback. It’s even better if it’s delivered quickly rather than waiting for a quarterly or even yearly review.  The ability to provide that kind of feedback, easily and efficiently, is what makes goal setting and dashboards so valuable in the race to motivate. Quick Links Why is employee motivation important in the workplace? What motivates employees? 10 employee motivation stats you need to know  How to use dashboards and goals to help motivate employees and increase their performance Why is employee motivation important in the workplace? Ask anyone who’s set a goal what helped them achieve it and they’ll likely tell you they really wanted it. It’s that “want” that drives us. It’s motivation. So when we look at employee motivation in the workplace, we must understand that it is also the drive that helps us achieve the goals we’ve set for our teams or our business. It’s also the commitment, time, energy, and effort employees are willing to put into achieving those goals. It’s easy then to see how motivation can make all the difference in the success of our businesses. In fact, highly motivated employees are far more likely to be highly productive and highly engaged in their work. The benefits of that are pretty contagious as well, not just with other staff, but with customers and clients as well. What motivates employees? As noted above, though a bit jokingly, what motivates employees really depends on the employee. While it would be amazing to always have teams of self-motivated employees, that’s just not realistic. So, the best thing team leaders can do is, first, lead. Effective leaders have a significant impact on motivation. However, leaders have several other tools at their disposal to determine what motivates their employees. The first tool seems obvious…ask. Most people can tell you what motivates them, but we rarely ask. We often ask, in interviews and yearly reviews, what an employee’s goals are, but we rarely ask what we can do to help with the motivation to get there. Assuming their goals are aligned with business goals or team goals, we should be asking. The other tool at your disposal is observation. Simply by observing your employees you can gain a strong sense of what energizes them. What tasks are they excited to tackle? Are they team players or solitary stars? Gauging how they respond to different tasks, different objectives, and different rewards will help reveal what motivates them and enable you to use that tool more often. That said, there are a few known methods to motivating employees: Competition Incentive programs Group or individual rewards (like time off, meals, parties, events) Consistent and regular positive feedback Encouraging creativity, fun, and individuality And many more ideas out there! 10 employee motivation stats you need to know So before we jump into a few great stats that illustrate the importance of motivation and its impact on your organization, let’s review  a few points so that when we look at the stats, we understand how they’re connected: Motivated employees are engaged employees.  Engaged employees are happy employees. Motivated and engaged employees are productive employees.   Just 13% of employees report feeling engaged at work. Disengaged employees cost organizations between $450-550 billion annually. Teams with highly engaged employees have a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 17% increase in productivity.  Connected (engaged) employees are 87% less likely to leave a company.  85% of organizations have a rewards program in place with 70% offering up to 6 options.  Organizations with engaged employees have 233% greater customer loyalty and see a 26% increase in revenue than organizations whose employees are not engaged. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce Study, 43% of highly engaged workers receive feedback weekly. Managers are crucial to employee engagement and satisfaction. 39% of employees mention their direct supervisor as a reason for leaving while Gallup’s study found that managers are responsible for up to 70% of an employee’s job satisfaction.  39% of employees feel under-appreciated while another 77% report, if they felt recognized, they would work harder. Employee engagement increases by 60% when recognized by managers. How to use dashboards to help motivate employees and increase their performance So, given that feedback, recognition, and rewards are an excellent way to help motivate employees, how can you, as a manager, facilitate that? First, you need to set goals. Once the goals are set, and the team has alignment on what they are and understands their tasks, milestones, and benchmarks along the way, one of the best tools you can utilize to not only track progress and performance, but to also provide ongoing feedback, is a business intelligence dashboard. Track Progress with Goals BrightGauge Goals are really easy to set up and monitor over time.  They allow you to assign a specific and measurable goal to an individual employee, with a due date, and automatically send weekly check-in reminders to the individual. Not only does this allow you to assess whether an employee is on-track to be rewarded, but it encourages accountability with team members, while provided that very essentially regular feedback which are both so important.   Dashboards are a Simple Way to Track KPIs The kinds of metrics required for motivation are generally the kinds of data that document the success of the company as well. Performance data should be tracked across time to establish visible baselines for the company’s growth and progress, which ties back to KPIs and how they’re measured. BrightGauge makes it easy to track KPIs and other important company, team, or individual metrics by automatically collecting data from your unique data sources and displaying it on easy-to-access dashboards.  Work performance metrics like response times and latencies can be automatically measured, inbound calls can be counted, and sales numbers can be accumulated in the course of daily activities. Further, you can automate your reporting and share these dashboards with your team to keep them focused and motivated. If properly identified and effectively measured, KPI indicators can form the basis for performance reports that enable the kind of regular feedback to be delivered readily and efficiently. Graphics also display critical statistics so performance becomes highly visible and measurable. If you'd like to talk more about how BrightGauge tools can help you motivate employees and track their progress on key goals and initiatives, get in touch with us today!

How to Make SLA Metrics Reporting Easy

Two clear components of successful relationships are clear expectations and great communication. If we really think about it, this is true of every relationship we hope to foster in our lives and it’s no different in business. In fact, those two principles are the reason for the existence of SLAs and SLA reporting. We can, quite easily, reduce documents like SLAs to contractual documents, but they’re really more than that. The goal of a solidly written SLA and regular timely SLA reports is to help foster and build a relationship between provider and client. For that reason, it’s important to understand how to best use them to further that relationship building goal. Quick Links What does SLA stand for? How is an SLA measured? What are the 3 types of SLA? What is an SLA report? How to choose SLA metrics to report on Make SLA metrics reporting easy with dashboards   What does SLA stand for? SLA stands for service level agreement. The SLA outlines the type and level of services one business technology provider will deliver for another business. Not only does it lay out the services as well as the expectations, but it also covers the remediations and consequences should service levels not be achieved.   How is an SLA measured? SLAs are typically measured via specific and detailed metrics determined by the type of services being delivered. In other words, in a data center SLA one might expect to see uptime reliability as a reportable SLA metric. If you’re an MSP, one metric you might include is Resolved Tickets. Again, the SLA metrics included in an SLA will depend on the type of service being provided.   What are the 3 types of SLA?   As noted above, the SLA you provide will depend largely on the client.  That said, there are, traditionally, 3 different types of SLA. A customer-based SLA  is tailored to a specific client. Typically, this would be used when the client is only using very specific services that may differ from other clients and enables the vendor to keep things simple by utilizing just one SLA. In contrast, a service-based SLA groups customers together based on the one service they contact for. In this case, all customers are using the same service with no deviations. Finally, a multi-level SLA allows a larger organization to define different levels of services, such as across different departments, even if services provided are similar. For example, both a finance and human resource department may need the same umbrella service, but when drilling down into the details, they may need a different level of service based on their organizational and departmental needs. The multi-level SLA allows a vendor to tailor an SLA to meet varying needs within one complex organization. What is an SLA report? Essentially, the SLA report allows a provider to communicate with the client and maintain transparency on the deliverables outlined in the SLA. For example, if the SLA requires that trouble tickets are resolved within 72 hours, the SLA report would include data on whether that metric was met and, if not, how that issue is being addressed. Further, if the SLA includes device management, the report would include data and information on each device, its status, and where the management falls in relation to the metrics outlined in the SLA. While reporting SLAs does have some overlap with reporting performance metrics, there is a key difference between the two types of reporting: key performance indicators (KPIs) focus on business priorities for the service provider, while SLA metrics prioritize the client’s needs. Additionally, SLAs can be notoriously difficult to accurately track—especially when some SLA metrics are dependent on customer responses.   How to choose SLA metrics to report Odds are that, as a service provider, you already have a list of SLA metrics to report. However, it's important to ask how relevant those metrics are to your customers. Why are you tracking some metrics and not others? When was the last time you reviewed your service level agreements? Before you start reporting SLAs, it’s important to start addressing these questions. After all, if you’re tracking irrelevant metrics, what good does that do you? Picking SLAs based on adherence to your service contract is a good start because it helps you find metrics that make sense to your clients. However, there is more to tracking SLA metrics than that. When setting new service level agreement metrics to track and report, it can help to look at your current SLAs and how well they: Align with your business’ services; Match with the details of your service contract; Support your customer’s needs/wants; Can be measured; and Can be controlled by you or your team. Taking the time to converse with your customers about what they want, or at least surveying them about their perception of your performance, can further help you refine your list of SLAs to report. Basing SLA metrics on the details of the service contract can help to ensure that you’re satisfying each client’s specific goals.   For example, your SLA with one client may specify that you'll respond to support tickets within a day of receiving them. In that case, time to response would be a great SLA metric for your business to track.   When creating SLA metrics, it’s also important to consider how factors outside of your control can influence them. For example, time to resolution is a commonly-tracked metric. However, when resolutions are dependent on customer response times, your results can easily become skewed. So, it may be necessary to either modify the metrics you choose for your SLA reports, or to find ways to minimize the impact of outside factors on the SLAs you report—such as “pausing the clock” on time-to-resolution tracking whenever your team has to wait on customer input or tracking total labor time spent on tasks instead.   Having well-chosen SLA metrics helps make reporting tasks somewhat easier and more valuable to your customers.   How to make SLA metrics reporting easy After finalizing the list of service level agreement metrics you want to track and share with your clients, how can you make reporting SLAs as easy as possible?   One method is to use an automated reporting system that can pull the data you want to share from a preset source at the time the report is sent. Take, for example, BrightGauge’s own automated client reporting system. In the BrightGauge client reporting feature, you can select SLAs to share with your clients along with other KPI data.   In the reporting feature, simply click on the drag-and-drop interface to choose which KPIs and SLA metrics you want to include, rearrange their order to choose which ones to highlight, and drag-click the box edges to resize them however you want. Once created, these data boxes will automatically populate with the latest information from whichever datasource they’re using.   Alternatively, all available data sources in BrightGauge come with default report templates to help you get going right away. Choose a pre-built template, feel free to customize it, and you’re ready to send it off.   From there, you can use the client mappings feature to select who you want to receive each report and then select a frequency for how often you want those clients to get a report (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.). Once set up, these reports will be automatically generated and sent for each of the clients in your client map whenever you set them to send; all without you having to lift a finger ever again (unless you want to alter the report or change the recipient list).   For some BrightGauge users, this automated reporting feature can save between eight and ten hours a week on client reporting. The ability to report SLAs metrics consistently helps to build transparency between your organization and its clients—which helps to earn client trust in the long run. SLAs formalize the relationship between provider and client and enable alignment on expectations in a way that , when SLA metrics are met, helps build trust and long lasting business partnerships. If you’re ready to take your SLA metrics reporting to the next level? Reach out to our team at any time to get started!

Why You Need a Customer Success Team Now

Language matters; it’s often nuanced in ways we don’t explore. Further, it’s not important just because it’s how we communicate, but because it has the potential to shape the way we interact and the way we understand our worlds. For that reason, how we frame our interactions with customers matters. For decades we’ve focused on customer service with the implication, based on language, being that there is a clear delineation of roles suggestive of give and take, and often in a way that separates our goals from the goals of our customers. Customer success, however, looks at this relationship quite differently. Service, by definition, means the act of helping or doing something for someone. While there are relationships built on service, the key word here is for. Customer success, on the other hand, changes that word “for” and replaces it with “with.” The concept is one that shifts the focus away from what we can do for you to what we can do with you. And that whole idea changes the way we interact with our customers. When we start to view our success as intricately tied to our customer’s success, we shift a business paradigm in a way that has the potential to grow not only relationships, but also business and revenue. Quick Link What is customer success? What does a customer success team do? When should you start building a customer success team? Using your customer success team to guides your clients    What is customer success? Customer success, as a customer relationship management method, ensures your team understands your customers’ goals and actively partners to help them achieve those goals. Your product or service was developed or designed to help your customers achieve specific outcomes or goals, and customer success is the method by which you track the success of your service and support. Essentially, customer success helps foster an aligned relationship that ensures mutual successes. While you’re working to their goals, the successful relationship, continued business, and potential for upsells means your team is also reaching their goals. What does a customer success team do? Currently, most businesses employ customer service teams. Customer service is who businesses call when a product or service isn’t functioning as expected or promised. In contrast, customer success is proactive. It’s an engaged method and a dedicated team that looks at data and performance and is therefore able to identify potential friction points or possible opportunities to improve or expand services. In short, it’s the difference between having a reactive team or a responsive team. Additionally, a dedicated customer success team is empowered to focus on specific clients with the understanding that by focusing on one’s clients, and their successes, a business then is successful as well. Currently, many metrics focus solely on how one’s business is doing, how it’s growing, where it’s generating revenue. Customer success shifts that focus to the customer and whether they’re hitting their targets because when they do, your business wins as well. Some of the structure looks similar to existing customer service team structures. Specifically, however, your customer success team is made up of the following individuals: Account Executive-  This is primarily a pre-sale role responsible for prospecting, presenting demos, qualifying prospects, and closing sales. Once the sale is closed, the account/customer is handed off to the account manager. Account Manager- Post-sale, this person acts as the primary point of contact for the customer, managing and overseeing the needs and services provided for the customer. They are, primarily, responsible for nurturing the relationship. Success Specialist- As noted above, one of the goals of customer success teams is to have an individual who is responsible for understanding client goals and digging into customer/client data points to identify needs, proactively address issues or concerns, and ensure they are reaching their goals. Support Technician- Even the most proactive team will incur client issues. The role of the support technician is to handle any issues customers have as they arise, particularly those related to the service desk. The support technician will  manage the ticket queue, and help clients solve IT problems. While each person has a distinct role, ensuring each aspect of the account has individual oversight, the overall goal remains to keep alignment with the client’s goals and work to proactively ensure their success. When should you start building a customer success team? Ideally, from the start of the business, establishing the members of a customer success team is best. However, when a business is just starting, the focus will likely be on customer acquisition, product development, and other elements that will help launch the business. However, customer retention is often a much stronger revenue strategy than customer acquisition as it costs less and can, ideally, lead to inbound sales. In fact, a majority of your revenue will come from existing customers, so ensuring they are successful and happy is a key revenue generation strategy. For that reason, it will be clear, once your business has established itself and has clients who will benefit from this level of assistance. These are the clients who have potential to be long term, who have the potential to assist with word of mouth, and whose success will help you build your own success. There is, naturally, a point at which it will seem clear to switch your focus from building product/services out to aligning your products and services with client goals and ensuring the two are symbiotic. Using your customer success team to guides your clients  As noted above, customer success is about relationship building. The old customer service model involved a lot of handoffs, staff dedicated to roles and tasks rather than clients, and reactive services rather than responsive support. As your marketing team will tell you, your customer’s journey begins well before they’ve spent any money with you or on your product. The one agreed upon point across all sales is that multiple “touch points” are needed to close a sale. Each and every one of those touch points is an opportunity for your customer success team to begin nurturing the relationship (this is the job of the account executive). It’s an early opportunity to not only differentiate yourself in a competitive marketplace, but it also establishes the foundation upon which you will continue to build this proactive and responsive relationship. One of the key pieces once the sale is closed is a thorough onboarding process where the client has been provided a map and has had clear communications about what work will be done, when, and with whom. This ability to clearly communicate and provide a transparent process enables your business to demonstrate the nature of customer success vs. customer service. You can then continue this type of communication and dedication to their goals and aligning them with the services you provide and offer with a quarterly business review. Customer success teams can be the key difference not just between you and your competition but between churn and retention. Developing your teams, having them align with your clients, digging deep into their goals, and applying the tools and services you offer to help them achieve them is the future of proactive and responsive customer relationships. BrightGauge is no stranger to the MSP market where, among others, this strategy is incredibly valuable, but we employ this method as well. Our own Customer Success Team  interacts with partners on a daily basis, using our business intelligence software to ensure success on both ends. Get in touch with us today to talk more!  

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