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The BrightGauge Blog

How MSPs Can Boost Growth Through The Right KPI Dashboards

Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) is a long-proven tactic for improving employee productivity. Using tools such as data dashboards, companies have motivated their employees to achieve ...
Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) is a long-proven tactic for improving employee productivity. Using tools such as data dashboards, companies have motivated their employees to achieve greater results with more consistency, which has helped them with enterprise growth. Why should your organization use KPI dashboards? Which business KPIs will help with your enterprise growth? Why growing enterprises should leverage KPI dashboards Growing enterprises often have numerous business objectives that they need to track—and not a lot of time to manually manage that data! KPI data dashboards help to simplify tracking and managing employee KPIs and business KPIs so leaders can check performance with a glance. Instead of having to dig through several separate reports to track all of an employee’s or business unit’s performance metrics, leaders can simply take a look at a data dashboard to get the most relevant and important information in seconds. This information is also easy to collect for reports to key stakeholders who may need it. With easy access to performance data, enterprises can identify trends (both positive and negative) and make changes to account for them. For example, if employees are struggling to meet a particular performance goal, it may be necessary to provide coaching to ensure employees have the skills they need to perform. What business KPIs should you track to boost enterprise growth? Many business owners, leaders, and stakeholders want to know which business KPIs they should track to improve their enterprise growth. The problem is that there is no true “one size fits all” solution when it comes to KPI tracking. Different enterprises will need to track different things to achieve the best growth results. It takes an understanding of your business’ objectives and industry to determine the best KPI dashboards to use in your organization. Additionally, the KPIs you track for one business unit might not be a good fit for others in your company. Here are a few KPI examples to consider when choosing performance metrics to track in your organization: Project KPIs These are KPIs specific to a particular project that is going on. Two important project KPIs to consider include: Billable project hours. A measure of how many hours are spent on a given project in a set time frame. Managed service providers (MSPs) may use this metric to determine if they’re over-billing for a project (potentially indicating that they under-scoped the project). Overbudget projects. How many projects are currently over-budget? This metric can help provide an assessment of how well the company is managing its budget for projects and create early indications of issues that may cause the balance book to go into the red. Customer service KPIs KPIs related to how customers are being serviced. Customer service KPIs can help MSPs and other organizations determine if they’re meeting their service level agreements (SLAs) or if they need to make changes. Some customer service KPI examples include: Time to resolution. How long it takes for a service ticket or customer call to be resolved. This is often used to measure employee performance. Tickets/Cases closed each day. How many client/customer calls or tickets are resolved in a day? Measuring this can help identify potential problems with resolving customer service cases in the enterprise that need resolution. Customer complaint rate. The number of customers who have reached out to make a complaint about a product or service received versus the total number of customers. High complaint rates may indicate a major issue with a given product or service (or how it’s marketed) that needs to be fixed. Financial KPIs Every enterprise needs to carefully track and manage its financial performance data. Having the right financial KPIs can help business leaders anticipate their expenses, avoid potential over- and under-budgeting for key initiatives, and set expectations. Some financial KPIs to track for enterprise growth include: Past due receivables amount. Also called “accounts receivable,” the past due amount is an important metric to track so you can know how much payment to expect from clients. Tracking which accounts are past due is also important for reconciling payments with your clients. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). This metric is useful for determining your organization’s financial health. Numerous companies have used this metric to determine employee bonuses for the year. Gross margin per client. A measure of your company’s total revenue minus its direct costs (licenses, software, etc.) and fully loaded labor cost, which is then divided by total revenue to generate the gross margin percentage. Here’s the formula: (Total revenue – direct costs – fully loaded labor costs) / total revenue = gross profit margin. Marketing KPIs Marketing is an important activity for making sure your enterprise’s brand gets in front of potential clients/customers. Marketing KPIs help enterprises establish the ROI of their marketing efforts, determine what is and isn’t working for their marketing, and identify issues that might be causing potential customers to leave the sales funnel. Some marketing KPI examples to track include: Cost per lead. A measure of how much money is spent on marketing to generate a single lead. Calculated by dividing total marketing spend by the number of leads generated. Customer lifetime value. A measure of how much a single customer is worth to your company over their lifetime. Useful for determining how much should be spent on marketing for each customer. Email deliverability. This is the number of emails sent successfully versus those that fail to be delivered or get sent to the spam folder. Failed deliveries can negatively impact your enterprise’s ability to send emails in the future, so this is an important metric for marketing leads to know. Drive enterprise growth with BrightGauge’s comprehensive KPI dashboards While the KPI example list shown above is far from comprehensive, it should provide a rough idea of how many different KPIs there are for companies to track. How can you track so many disparate business KPIs? BrightGauge’s KPI dashboards are one way to track numerous metrics at a glance! With BrightGauge, you can easily customize a data dashboard to present the most important metrics for your business unit or your company as a whole. Instead of digging through a dozen different data sources and apps, you can have BrightGauge collect everything you need to know into a single-pane view that is easy to parse. Are you ready to get the data you need to fuel your enterprise’s growth? Reach out to the BrightGauge team today!
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New Integration: NinjaRMM

This one's been a long time coming!   We're excited to announce that we now offer NinjaRMM as an integration for our partners to connect with.   NinjaRMM is a remote monitoring and management tool that was designed to provide IT professionals with all the support they need to manage their client's endpoints.    When you integrate BrightGauge + NinjaRMM, you'll get a single-pane-of-glass view of the important RMM metrics that impact your day-to-day decisions.    What do I get out of the box?   We know how helpful it is to have access to your data as soon as possible, and you may not have time to build out custom gauges right off the bat. Instead, we’ll help you get started by providing pre-built gauges, dashboards, and reports with every datasource we offer.   With NinjaRMM, you will get 25 gauges, one default dashboard, one report template when you open an account.    Gauges   With your 25 default gauges - or key performance indicators (KPIs) - you can easily keep an eye on metrics like most installed applications, active AV threats, devices with failed patches, drive disk space used, servers offline, and more KPIs relating to workstations, servers, and machines. Knowing the status of these KPIs helps you stay proactive and combat your client's issues before they become real problems.    Dashboard     The NinjaRMM default dashboard is all about machine monitoring and shows you your relevant machine KPIs on one screen. Just glancing at this dashboard can give you an accurate picture of your client's health and can quickly show you areas that may need addressing.    Report     Sending out consistent and regular client reports is our favorite way to build a relationship built on trust and transparency with our clients, which can ultimately lead to long-term business. We help you get started with one report template covering the important machine monitoring KPIs your client will care about. It's easy to customize this template as you wish (or leave it as is) and schedule it to automatically send out on a recurring basis. By doing so, you'll make sure your client is always in the loop!   Again, our integration with NinjaRMM is now live and ready for you to connect with.    Read our support documentation for information on connecting your account to NinjaRMM, or feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.    

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7 Ways to Use Automation to Transform Your Client Reporting

Client reporting—the practice of sending reports about important activities and key performance indicators (KPIs) to clients to help build transparency and trust. For managed service providers (MSPs), generating reports for clients is an important part of managing client relationships. With a well-made report, MSPs can show exactly how they are (or aren’t) meeting their service level agreements (SLAs). However, manually assembling these reports can be a big time sink for MSPs—especially when there are a lot of relevant metrics and activities that need to be tracked. Automated client reporting tools, such as BrightGauge’s reporting feature, can be a massive time-saver and transform the client reporting process. How automation is transforming the reporting process Think of the classic client reporting solution—the old Excel (or some other spreadsheet software) sheet with a bunch of numbers or a Word doc template with a bunch of spots for key data points. The issue with this is that entering the data that populates this sheet is a manual process. It takes someone significant time and effort to: Track down all of the necessary information; Copy said information into the right spots of the spreadsheet/report; and Review the document to make sure everything is correct and nothing is missing. In addition to being time-consuming, doing everything manually may result in important information being missed or entered incorrectly—which is less than ideal when sharing a report with clients. Client reporting software and automation solutions are changing things by making the process of generating reports less time-consuming and more consistent. Instead of having to enter data manually, report automation solutions like BrightGauge allow users to connect a few data feeds to automatically populate a customized report—then send that report on a set schedule as needed. Now, instead of having to spend hours poring over different data sources, MSPs can set up a bit of reporting automation and not have to think about it again—unless there’s a change in the metrics the client needs to see. 7 best practices for using automation in your client reporting While report automation can be a big boon for transparency and improving customer satisfaction, it’s important to use that automation the right way. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of reporting automation: Identify the data that’s most important to the client getting the report. MSPs have limited time—but so do their clients. Sending an automated report that’s chock full of all kinds of data sounds impressive, but if that information isn’t valuable to the client, then it’s a waste of their time to read it. So, it’s important to consider which data points are of the most interest to the client in question, and to customize the report so that only that information is presented to them. Add a data dashboard to the report. Creating a report format with a kind of KPI dashboard-like appearance that puts all of the most valuable information on a single page can be really helpful. How? It makes important data points more digestible and accessible in the report. Instead of digging through several pages of information, the data about the client’s biggest concerns can be presented front and center—which many clients will appreciate. Share the good and the bad. It might be tempting to alter which form fields are in a client report to highlight the successes and downplay shortcomings. However, this doesn’t build transparency. It’s important to share the good and the bad with clients in the report so they can see that nothing is being hidden. Then, on calls with clients, it may help to address the potential reasons for the shortcomings and identify ways to improve results for the next report. Identify all of the key stakeholders in the client’s organization. Who is responsible for what in the client’s organization? Are reports reaching all of the right stakeholders to keep important people in the loop? Get a list of all the key stakeholders that need to see the reports being generated and ensure that they’re all on the email list for the automated report send. Consider customizing client reports for different stakeholders. Not every stakeholder in an organization cares about the same things. Some may need to know about different things as part of their job. So, creating variations of the client report template for different departments and stakeholders can do a lot to improve communication. Some stakeholders may really appreciate getting a customized report—even if sending it costs no extra time or effort at all after the first one! Periodically revise the KPIs in the report. Client needs may change over time. For example, if a major client goal was to “Generate X Leads” in Q1 and they met that goal, then in Q2, the goal might shift to “Close X Deals” instead. As clients meet goals or start new initiatives, the KPIs they need to track may change. Revising your client reporting software’s settings so that they are consistently presented with the KPIs they currently need to know is important for keeping clients happy and informed. Verify the best time to send reports. When is the most convenient time for a report to hit a client’s inbox? Taking the time to ask clients when they prefer to receive their reports can be a great way to earn some appreciation and make things easier on the client. These are just a few best practices for using reporting automation to share important business KPIs with clients. For more information about using report automation tools, KPIs, and data dashboards, check out the Best Practices blog. Experience greater client success through BrightGauge’s client reporting tools Need a client reporting solution that you can use to easily automate your client reports so you can save time and headaches? BrightGauge’s client reporting tools are here for you! With BrightGauge, you can easily modify your client report templates and set up customized reports for different clients or even different stakeholders within the same organization. The automated report can pull data from multiple data sources and collate them all into an easy-to-read format for your clients to peruse. Select what data you want to share, organize it how you want, and pick out how often the report should be sent—then kick back and relax as BrightGauge’s software takes over. Are you ready for a simple and effective client reporting solution? Then reach out to the BrightGauge team today!

KPI of the Week: Member Efficiency (VIDEO)

  How often are you evaluating how well or not you are using the resources at your disposal? We're not talking a gut-check here. Are you using data to determine whether or not your technicians are working to the best of their abilities?    The Member Efficiency key performance indicator (KPI) is a great metric for measuring utilization. Keeping an eye on this number can indicate when it's time to cut or add resources, help you understand if your team members are meeting their targets, and can show where you may have gaps in training or processes.    In this video, we show you how to build a detailed gauge that tracks efficiency and utilization for the technicians in your organization.    If you've got questions at any time, please feel free to reach out to our support team!

How to Set (and Track!) the Right Outcome Goals for Your Business

It’s important to have goals—both in life and in business. Goals give people something to strive for so they can exert their maximum effort and achieve success. Countless organizational management books stress the importance of goal management—the art of setting goals that encourage people to maximize outcomes for the business.   But, which goals should your business track? What are the three types of goals that you should be tracking? And, how can you make tracking employee goals and business goals easy?   What are the three types of goals?                                                                          Business goals can generally be sorted into three different categories:   Process Goals. These goals define processes that should be followed to encourage quality outcomes. These goals typically focus on doing something rather than achieving an end result. Process goals are (barring outside interference) usually considered wholly under the employee’s control to meet. Performance Goals. These goals define a standard that should be met or achieved. These goals are used to set benchmarks that employees or teams need to meet and are mostly under their control. Outcome Goals. A strategic type of goal that defines an ultimate outcome with a clear pass/fail condition. These goals typically require the efforts of many people to meet, so they’re not under any one person or team’s sole control—one team/employee could do everything right, only for the shortcomings of others to cause them to fall short of the mark.   All of these business goal types are important. However, many organizations get so mired in their immediate process and performance goals that they neglect their more strategic outcome goals.   Why you should establish a goal setting system to accomplish business goals:   Every business should have a goal setting system. Why? Here are a few reasons.   Setting Business Goals Creates Alignment. Getting all of the “moving parts” in an organization aligned is crucial for success. Setting outcome goals that define what your company considers “winning” helps get everyone in the proverbial boat rowing in the same direction. Setting Business Goals Helps with Long-Term Planning. “Where do you see yourself in five years?” This isn’t just a question for new hires—it’s a critical question that businesses need to answer as well. As noted in an article featured on Inc., “When your goals have been defined, you can develop a deeper understanding of the effects of tactical decisions and how they play against [your] strategic goals.” Setting Business Goals Facilitates Accountability. Who is responsible for the success of an initiative? How does each person contribute to achieving a specific business outcome? Setting goals helps organizations track how people contribute to their success—increasing accountability and enabling appropriate reward systems that encourage further productivity. However, it’s important to make sure that employees are only held accountable for meeting the goals that they can directly control the outcomes of (such as process and performance goals).   Setting process goals vs outcome goals   Let’s use a hypothetical example of two new start-up companies in the same industry to highlight the importance of setting long-term outcome goals versus just focusing on process goals. Both of these organizations have similar budgets, products, services, and team sizes—the only major difference is in their approach to setting goals.   Company A. This company focuses solely on process goals for its employee goals. Instead of having an idea of what they’re working towards, each employee focuses solely on getting tasks done. Once finished, no further effort is put into achieving strategic goals. Company B. This company adds performance and outcome goals and makes its employees aware of their progress using goal setting frameworks and reporting tools. Each employee has an idea of what success looks like not just for themselves, but for the company as a whole. They also know what criteria contributes to their personal success and the company’s success—enabling them to focus more effort on the things that matter.   In this hypothetical example, which company do you think will do a better job of achieving long-term success? Odds are that it’s Company B.   Why? Because, as the BrightGauge team has seen from real clients, companies that set and track goals for outcomes as well as processes and performance tend to outperform their competitors.   Remember this: goal management isn’t an either/or proposition. Every kind of goal—process, performance, and outcome—is important to your company. Just setting one type of business goal won’t produce the right results!   Best practices for tracking outcome goals   It isn’t enough to simply create a big, aggressive outcome goal and call it a day. To make that goal mean something, you need to be able to track it! And, you need to track it in the right way.   Here are a few best practices for tracking outcome goals:   Examine Other Companies’ Outcome Goal Examples. How do you know if an outcome goal you’re tracking is the right one for your company? One way is to examine what kinds of long-term goals other successful organizations in your industry are using. You can often find long-term goals or plans listed right on a competitor’s website or in their social media. Leaders from these businesses may also share their outcome goals when discussing their business in TED talks or other social gatherings. Try to Break Larger Outcome Goals into Smaller, More Manageable Chunks. Let’s say your business usually does about $75 million/year in revenue and you have a big goal of “Hit $100 million in revenue this year.” Breaking this goal up into smaller outcome goals of “Hit $25 million in revenue this quarter” can help give your people a short-term goal they can target aggressively and keep them motivated. Find Employee Goals That Support Outcome Goals. To keep employees aligned with your business’ outcome goals, it’s important to set the right process and performance goals. For example, if your outcome goal is “Hit $25 million in revenue this quarter,” then you should be tracking employee goals like “Close $25,000 in new deals each month” and “Make X sales calls per day” (where “X” is a number based on the average talk time with a prospect over the phone) for sales people. Customer service goals like time to resolution or successful customer issue resolution rate can contribute to customer retention—making them worthwhile goals to track for supporting a revenue outcome goal. Use a Goal Setting and Tracking Solution. Employee goals are meaningless if there isn’t a reliable and accurate method of tracking them. Using a goal tracking software to set and track employee progress towards their performance and process goals can help you keep your business on track for meeting its outcome goals. Being able to share goal information with employees in real time can help keep them motivated and enable them to course correct if they fall behind on a particular goal.   Set the right outcome goals (and track them with ease) through BrightGauge!   Since using a goal tracking solution is a best practice for monitoring your progress towards your outcome goals, BrightGauge is an ideal tool for businesses.   With BrightGauge’s online data dashboards, your can easily put your business’ most important outcome goals (like revenue targets, total number of customers, customer satisfaction goals, etc.) in a central view pane that everyone in the organization can see.   You can also pick and choose role-based employee goals that support your desired business outcomes—then let your employees see how well they’re meeting those goals. This helps keep everyone rowing the boat in the same direction to produce real results!   Don’t wait – Reach out to BrightGauge now to get started on tracking your mission-critical business goals!  

70+ Metrics for MSPs

Key metrics and accompanying formulas to help MSPs skyrocket growth and success!

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Dashboard of the Month: Agreements

When it comes to keeping your executive team in the loop on important performance metrics, the name of the game is quality over quantity.    Executives are busy people and they need to be able to consume and digest content quickly and efficiently. Data dashboards and reports are a great way to keep them abreast on everything related to key performance indicators (KPIs).   This month, we're featuring an Agreements Dashboard, perfect to share with your CRO.    Agreements Dashboard - view here   At a glance, the Agreements Dashboard will give your CRO (or any interested colleagues) a high-level view of: No Agreement Revenue (a look at whatever revenue is not tied to any agreement) Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) Customer Distribution (which customers are bringing in the highest percentage of revenue?) Active Agreements With Negative Margin (aim to have this number as low as possible) Your Effective Hourly Rate On Agreements Revenue Source Breakdown    On one simple screen, it's easy to understand where your MRR falls with your goals, which customers are worth nurturing or even firing, and how your revenue is distributed across your business. By keeping an eye on KPIs like these, executives can make informed and better business decisions that will drive the organization forward.    To recreate these dashboards for your own teams, check out the links below: Public view link - Agreements Dashboard Buildout Key Instructions for Agreements Dashboard   Please feel free to reach out to success@brightgauge.com with any questions you have!    

The Marketing KPIs Your Team Should Be Tracking

Many companies might see marketing as a “nice to have” item instead of a mission-critical part of their business. Marketing, especially traditional marketing methods like TV commercials and radio/print ads, tends to have a high cost and an ambiguous return on investment (ROI).   For example, according to fitsmallbusiness.com, “a 30-second spot broadcast nationally averages around $115,000 in 2019… 30-second Super Bowl ads can go for upward of $5.25 million.” This doesn’t count the cost of actually writing and filming the commercial! Worse yet, the returns on these ads are diminishing because many people simply ignore or skip them.   However, not all marketing has to be a big and expensive TV spot that most viewers will skip. Digital marketing has created a new dynamic for advertising a company’s goods and services.   To measure the success of digital/online marketing efforts, it’s important for businesses to track their marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) and use that information to modify their marketing over time.   What are key performance indicators?   Key performance indicators are data points that are used to assess how well an entity is performing. They are expressed as some kind of value and measured against a goal for that KPI (which is usually based on past performance data).   Tracking key performance indicators is a pretty common practice for all kinds of businesses. However, not every KPI is created equally for every job and role. There are many different kinds of key performance indicators that companies may want to track that may or may not be applicable to a particular team or department.   For example, the KPIs used to track the efficiency of a manufacturing team (parts made per hour, rejection rate, machining equipment uptime, etc.) would not be applicable for a sales or marketing team.   Why should a marketing team track their KPIs? What are some good marketing KPIs for a business to track? How can businesses track digital marketing KPIs?   Why should marketing teams track KPIs?   There are numerous reasons that businesses should be tracking their digital marketing KPIs. Here’s a short list:   Because it helps establish marketing ROI. One of the bigger challenges of marketing efforts is determining their ROI. If the ROI for an activity is unknown, it’s difficult to determine whether that activity should be continued or cancelled. Tracking marketing performance metrics like total lead generation, cost per lead, and customer lifetime value can help marketing departments determine whether the ROI of their efforts is positive or negative.   To determine what does and doesn’t work. Tracking the performance metrics of a particular marketing campaign is crucial for determining if it’s working. Digital marketing often makes it easy to track engagement with a marketing campaign by monitoring email open rates, clicks on call-to-action (CTA) buttons, and even webpage visits for any given campaign (assuming, of course, you have the right tools to collect that data in place). This can be useful for modifying future marketing efforts based on what did or didn’t work.   To identify issues causing potential customers to leave. Is there any particular point in a marketing campaign where an abnormally large number of leads unsubscribe or stop engaging with the company? Identifying these critical failure points, and the reasons for the loss of customers/leads, is crucial for ensuring future marketing success.   In short, knowing which marketing metrics to track and then monitoring them can help companies improve their marketing efforts.   11 marketing KPIs your team should be tracking   So, what are some examples of marketing metrics that businesses should be tracking? Here are a few digital marketing KPI examples to keep in mind:   1. Customer lifetime value.   How much is a customer worth to the company, on average, over their life with the company? This can help companies regulate their marketing spend.   2. Cost per lead.   How much does the company spend on marketing efforts versus the number of leads generated? Generally determined by dividing the cost of marketing by the number of leads generated.   3. Total number of leads per day/month/quarter.   How many leads does the company generate from digital marketing efforts over a given period of time? This can provide a general sense of how appealing the company’s marketing is.   4. Leads by source.   How many leads are generated from email, online ads, social media, the company website, blog posts, etc.? Shows which channels are the most successful for generating leads.   5. Website traffic.   How many unique IP addresses visit the company’s website each month? This can be sorted by traffic source for more detail (organic, direct, referrals, ads, emails, etc.).   6. SERP rankings.   How highly does the company’s website pages rank on search engine results pages (SERPs)? This directly impacts how likely people browsing the web are to find the company’s website.   7. Featured snippets.   How many “featured snippets” does the company website have in SERPs? Featured snippets provide viewers with answers to basic questions and are shown at the top of SERPs—even above the #1 ranked post for a search.   8. Number of backlinks.   How many other websites are linking to the company’s website? Having more backlinks indicates a site with high-quality, authoritative content that Google and other search engines will rank highly.   9. Email opens.   How many people open the emails the company sends out? Provides an indication of the quality of the company’s email list and the subject lines individual emails use.   10. Email deliverability.   How many emails get sent successfully to a targeted recipient versus being sent to spam folders or simply failing to be delivered because of bad email addresses? Failed deliveries can negatively impact future email marketing, so any email list needs to be regularly scoured for bad/defunct email addresses.   11. Ad cost per click (CPC).   How much does each successful click on an online ad cost the company? Cost per click can help establish the ROI of online ads while helping marketing departments stay on-budget.   The examples of marketing metrics listed above are just a few of the KPIs that may be valuable for a marketing team. There are many more that a company might use depending on their marketing goals and the specific types of digital marketing they focus on.   Easily monitor your marketing KPIs with BrightGauge   How can your business easily monitor its digital marketing KPIs? There are a lot of tools that you can use to collect data, but how can you easily keep track of varying datasources like ConnectWise and others?   BrightGauge is here to help!   Our digital dashboards give BrightGauge’s customers easy access to multiple data feeds—allowing them to track their marketing KPIs in a single convenient place.   Timed reports allow users to easily collect weekly, monthly, or quarterly marketing KPI data for easy reporting. Bring your marketing results to the attention of the board (or others) to showcase the ROI for your marketing efforts.   We think that our dashboards and reports can be a real game-changer for marketing teams. They save time, increase accountability, improve transparency, and make marketing efforts more efficient by showing what is or isn’t working.   Want to learn more about how you can track your marketing metrics and other important KPIs and improve your business? Reach out to the BrightGauge team today!

Best Practices for Building Trust Through Client Reporting

Earning the trust of clients can be incredibly difficult—especially in the modern business environment where customers of all industries have been conditioned to expect immediate results. Being able to answer the question “Why am I paying you?” is crucial for earning client trust—and client reporting software can help you provide answers that earn trust.   Why is building trust with your clients so important? How can client reporting tools help you earn trust as a managed service provider (MSP)?   Why building client trust is essential for business success   One of the most important aspects of any business relationship is trust. If trust is lacking, it doesn’t matter how good a deal your services are or how important they are to the client—they will seek out an alternative as soon as humanly possible. Trust is also something that takes a long time to earn, but can be lost in the blink of an eye.   As noted in an article by Forbes, “trust is the fabric that holds everything together” for modern businesses. Yet, in that same article, it was stated that “recent studies show that overall trust in government, media, business, and other organizations is at an all-time low.”   In a business environment where trust is in short supply, being able to earn (and maintain) trust can be a key differentiator for your business.   Why should I use client reporting to build trust?   Client reporting is a critical tool for showing your clients that your services are providing real value to them. It accomplishes this by making your activities and results more transparent to your clients.   Report automation and client reporting can help you create an itemized list or receipt of your work as an MSP. Instead of simply saying that you “did X, Y, and Z” tasks, you can show your clients the itemized report of activities completed and results generated.   Building trust this way can help to reduce your client churn. Considering that, according to sources like invespcro.com, “It costs five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one,” this can prove to be a critical strategy for keeping your business profitable. By building trust, you can keep clients longer, which helps keep profits stable while minimizing the pressure to spend money on acquisition.   5 tips for transparent client reporting   So, how can you ensure that your client reporting is done the right way to build trust? What key performance indicators (KPIs), data dashboards, and reporting automation solutions should you use?   Here are a few basic tips for transparent (and effective) client reporting:   Pick KPIs that really matter for your client. It should go without saying that not all metrics matter equally to different clients. Some clients may need KPI dashboards and reports that focus on sales metrics, while others may need ones that focus on things like service uptime and user satisfaction. Talk to your clients to discover the KPIs that really matter to them so you can include them in your automated reports. Use reporting automation to consistently collect data. Automated reports can help to ensure that your reports are delivered on a consistent schedule and have the same types of KPIs in them from one report to the next. This consistency can help to build trust by showing customers that you aren’t changing report contents. Send reports to ALL the right people on the client’s side. In many B2B relationships, it’s common for just the main point of contact on either side to communicate frequently, while every other stakeholder is left out of the loop. However, if you want to build trust, it’s important to ensure that your reports reach all of the important stakeholders on the other team. This way, decision makers in the client company know the value of what you’re doing for them (making them less likely to cut funding for your services). Customizing reports depending on the recipient helps take this a step further. Send reports when it’s convenient for the client. Different clients will have their own preferences for when to receive reports. One client might prefer to get reports on Mondays to start their work week. Others might prefer Fridays so they can take a look at the report over the weekend. Some may prefer Tuesdays because of scheduling constraints. Sending a report when it’s convenient for the client’s schedule or preference is one of those small touches that can really help to build trust and respect. Make reports personal. When building an automated report template, take some time to customize the report to make it more personal—like something you crafted specifically for them instead of just a mass email send. Some small, easy-to-add touches could include a cover page, company logos (both yours and your client’s), text boxes explaining certain pieces of data, page breaks, and images.   Build better client relationships with BrightGauge’s client reporting tools   Need help automating client reports and collecting the data you need to populate said reports? BrightGauge’s data dashboard and report automation solutions might be exactly what you need!   With our automated reporting tool, you can collect data from multiple sources automatically and generate periodic reports with custom fields to send to your clients. You can even make your reports personalized for different people within a client company to make your reports more valuable for each recipient!   Are you ready to build transparency and trust with your clients? Reach out to the BrightGauge team today to get started, or download our whitepaper The End-All Guide to Client Reporting at the link below:

Best Practices for Conducting More Effective Performance Reviews

They go by many names: Performance reviews, employee reviews, quarterly reviews, 1:1 meetings, personal reviews, employee assessments—the list goes on and on. Whichever name your organization uses for them, odds are that performance reviews have long been a cornerstone of your employee performance management.   However, employee review time can be a stressful experience for both employees and employers. Employees may be left wondering how their assessments work, while managers may have a difficult time providing objective and actionable feedback without it getting personal.   Why are performance reviews so crucial for managing employees effectively and maximizing results? How can you improve the performance review process?   Why are performance reviews valuable?   When done right, employee performance reviews are a crucial tool for helping both employees and employers identify opportunities for improvement.   For example, is there a particular performance metric that every employee is struggling to meet? That could be an indication of a systemic problem in the company or department. On the other hand, if one employee is consistently missing a performance goal that others are hitting, then they may just need some additional help or training to fix a specific issue that they’re having.   In short, employee reviews are an invaluable tool for identifying opportunities for improvement. When done well, a performance review can give your employees the tools they need to better themselves—and provide some motivation to do so.   However, when employee reviews are not done well, they can easily become a source of dread for employees. Poorly-handled quarterly reviews can feel unfair to employees and even lead to active disengagement amongst the workforce. 5 best practices for conducting more efficient and effective performance reviews To avoid the potential pitfalls of a poor performance review process, it’s important to follow a few best practices. Here are a few performance review tips to help you conduct better reviews with your own employees:   1. Apply a consistent performance review template for ALL employees in a department   The perception of fairness is paramount for an effective performance review process. To help ensure fairness, it’s important to have a consistent performance review template and criteria for everyone in a given team or department—and to make sure everyone knows what they are!   Creating a performance review template that applies the same criteria to every employee working the same role can help ensure that the process feels fair and consistent. However, it’s also important to make sure that the performance metrics you measure in that template are relevant to your employees and the work they do.   2. Try to highlight both achievements and areas for improvement   Here’s a bit of advice from Forbes, “Don’t just list all the negatives and hope for improvement. It’s important to explain to the employee what they are doing right, as well as what facets they need to develop.” One common problem in the performance review process is that many reviewers focus primarily (or even solely) on what employees did wrong.   While it is important to go over what each employee could do better, it’s just as important to celebrate their “wins” so they feel that their efforts are being recognized and rewarded. Recognizing major achievements and milestones is crucial for engaging employees and showing them what they need to keep doing—just as addressing flaws is important for improving performance.   3. When setting performance review goals, make sure they’re SMART   Quarterly review criteria for employees need to be well-chosen. Asking employees to meet vague or irrelevant goals in the performance review can be extremely counterproductive—if the standards they’re being held to feel arbitrary or unfair, employees can quickly become disengaged with their work.   In many cases, using a goal-setting framework like SMART can be incredibly beneficial. SMART is an acronym for:   Specific. Goals should be clear and easy to understand while providing a clear course of action or a desirable result.   Measurable. Goals should have an objective and easy-to-measure value to simplify tracking progress.   Achievable. Goals should be aggressive, but achievable to keep employees motivated. Impossible goals can lead to employees giving up before they begin.   Relevant. Goals should be related to an employee’s key role and responsibilities—it isn’t fair to hold software developers responsible for sales numbers or sales reps responsible for a product’s user experience.   Time-Based. Goals should fall within a specific and realistic time frame that employees can work in. Ideally, the time allotted for a goal should be long enough to allow for progress towards the goal without being too short.   For example, a sales team member might have a goal to close 20 deals per month or to make 40 sales calls in a day. The specific numbers here give the employee a specific goal to work towards in their sales activities, these goals can be easily measured, they are relatively simple to achieve, relevant to their primary job role (selling stuff), and have a set time frame to be achieved that isn’t so long that the goal becomes some distant concern.   4. Create a detailed performance improvement plan with specific steps   It isn’t enough to tell a struggling employee to “just do better” when they fail to meet performance goals. If Bob from the service center knows he’s supposed to have an average time-to-resolution of five minutes for customer calls, but it takes him at least 10 for each call, he’s already aware that he needs to “do better.”   It’s important to recognize the underlying issues that cause poor performance. For example, is Bob being tasked to address particularly complicated customer issues? Is he going above and beyond to provide a solution for customers that keeps them satisfied? Is the whole service department struggling to meet that five-minute goal (indicating that it needs to be revised)?   Investigating the causes of poor performance may require more time and effort, but it will help produce better results and employee engagement. Giving employees a detailed performance improvement plan (PIP) or making necessary changes to company processes will do more to increase performance in the long term than simply telling people to do better without giving them a clear-cut way to do so.   5. Give employees a chance to provide their own feedback   Performance reviews shouldn’t be a one-sided interaction. There may be issues that are keeping employees from realizing their full potential. However, without the ability to voice their concerns, employees may never bring these problems to your attention. If you don’t know about a systemic problem, then you can’t fix it!   So, it’s important to provide employees with an opportunity to provide feedback about their work environment, challenges they face on the job, and more. It’s also important to enforce an expectation of honest and open communication because many employees may simply assume that their comments and concerns won’t really be addressed (or they may be punished somehow for sharing them), causing them to not provide feedback when given the chance.   You can help encourage employees to provide feedback by actively showcasing examples of when feedback was used to make change within your organization, or to even provide completely anonymous feedback channels, like a suggestion box, and highlight the best suggestions from time to time without calling out any names (even if you have an inkling of who provided the feedback) or ridiculing the suggestion. If you act on these suggestions, it can go a long way towards building trust and engagement amongst your team!   Transform your employee reviews with BrightGauge!   So, how can you collect and organize the data you need to conduct efficient and effective performance reviews? Many business leaders choose to use specialized performance review software that helps them keep track of their employee performance metrics during their 1:1 meetings.   One tool that many leaders use during their performance reviews is BrightGauge (specifically, the Dashboards feature). With BrightGauge’s reports and dashboards, managers can pull in data from their other performance management and monitoring tools such as ConnectWise, Autotask, QuickBooks, Customer Thermometer, and many others. All of this data can be put into a single convenient view that’s easy to reference during a performance review.   Outside of performance reviews, the BrightGauge dashboard will update in real time so team leaders can actively monitor performance outside of their quarterly reviews and provide timely feedback—or recognize major achievements and milestones when they happen.   Additionally, managers can make these dashboards visible to team members. This can help encourage some healthy competition between team members to see who can achieve the best scores for certain metrics. This keeps employees motivated to achieve goals and drives long-term results.   Another useful feature of BrightGauge is our proprietary goals system. This tool makes it easy to set and track employee goals on an individual level—increasing accountability and helping employees know which areas they need to improve upon. This can be immensely useful for keeping employees on task and improving performance across the whole team.   Are you ready to make your performance reviews more productive? Learn more about how BrightGauge can help you improve your employee performance review process today by scheduling a live one-on-one demo now!

Max Cooper-Dowda Joins BrightGauge as Customer Support Specialist

We’re excited to welcome Max Cooper-Dowda to the team as a Customer Support Specialist! Join us in learning more about the newest member of our growing BrightGauge family.    In the beginning   Like many of us at BrightGauge, Max is a Floridian himself, having grown up in St. Petersburg, on the west coast of the state, where he stuck around and earned a degree from Eckerd College.   Fun fact: Max has already been in the family, as he’s been a Tier 2 Support technician at ConnectWise for more than seven years now!    As a tech for ConnectWise Manage specifically, Max has helped partners with setup questions and troubleshooting issues, and he was also tasked with writing documentation and conducting internal training.    We’re thrilled that Max is bringing his knowledge and expertise to the BrightGauge team.   Joining BrightGauge   Max’s decision to join BrightGauge means our team can now offer even more support to our partners.    For Max, he’s most excited about getting the opportunity to work in SQL and expand his knowledge of other programs and integrations outside of the PSA space.    “I’m excited to join a small team and be able to share what I’ve learned over the past seven-plus years working on the ConnectWise support team,” says Max.    Out of office   Max is a self-proclaimed X-Men expert. If you have a free hour, he promises to tell you way more about the history of X-Men than any person should know! Outside of that, you can find Max playing video games (he collects and trades retro ones!), reading, playing board games, and watching bad movies.      Max and his wife are also avid toy collectors, so make sure to ask him about the latest additions to his awesome collection!   

How Dashboard Reporting Can Keep Remote Teams Aligned During COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has had an enormous impact on the way that businesses work. While the use of remote workforces was increasing slowly over the last decade, the coronavirus pandemic really forced businesses to adopt remote teams in a hurry.   Consider this: According to statistics cited by HubSpot in March of 2020, “In the U.S., 4.7 million employees (3.4% of the workforce) work from home at least half the week.” A later article from U.S. News highlights that: “the number of companies expecting to have half or more of their employees working remotely post the COVID-19 pandemic increased to 1 in 3, compared with 1 in 30… pre-pandemic.”   With work-from-home becoming the new standard way of conducting business, companies need to find ways to overcome the challenges of remote work—like keeping remote team members aligned with each other and the company’s goals.   One tool that can help with that is dashboard reporting.           What is dashboard reporting?   Dashboard reporting is a technology tool that allows team leads to collect data from various sources and place it into a single, easy-to-review report or data dashboard.   The dashboard reporting tool typically has some built-in integrations with other data collection solutions, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, website analytics tools, employee productivity monitoring tools, and the like. Dashboard reporting tools pull data from the integrated software to display it on a data dashboard or report—which is often accessible online.   The benefits of dashboard reporting for remote teams   So, how can data dashboard reporting tools help remote workers collaborate more effectively and stay aligned with their business’ goals? Here are a few of the ways that using data dashboards with remote teams can help:   It puts all of your analytics in an easy-to-manage location. One of the big challenges of remote work is being able to track the performance of employees in real time. A data dashboard tool allows companies to monitor employee performance metrics and see where employees are doing well and where they’re struggling.   Public dashboards can encourage competition. When multiple employees can see a “leaderboard” of who is ranking high for specific metrics, it can help to keep them informed and encourage some competitiveness. This drives results by keeping employees motivated to beat their peers.   It can keep management alerted to major performance issues. With the ability to set custom alerts, team leaders can program thresholds for certain performance metrics that, if exceeded, will generate an alert. This allows team leaders to make course corrections with employees in real time, even when everyone is working remotely.   You can set goals for both individual and team performance. One of the issues with having remote employees is that it can be hard to keep them aligned with the company’s primary goals. With online data dashboards, managers can provide employees with clear success targets they can work towards.   Online data dashboards are both a critical performance management tool for team leaders and a motivational tool for employees. By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and showing them to employees, dashboard reporting tools help remote workers stay on track with their goals.   Keep your workforce aligned with BrightGauge’s dashboards   BrightGauge’s data dashboard tool is the perfect solution for keeping employees aligned with your company’s goals, even when they’re working remotely. With BrightGauge, you can:   See all of your most important KPIs in one place thanks to our extensive list of integrations; Check on individual team member’s activity and performance with custom gauges and filters; Create leaderboards for employee performance to stimulate healthy competition; Make remote 1:1 meetings more effective with employee-specific data dashboards; Get alerted to critical performance issues with custom alerts; Make data-driven business decisions based on actual performance data from the dashboard; Collate easy-to-interpret monthly reports automatically to share with employees, management, and/or customers as needed.   As they say, “seeing is believing,” so check out BrightGauge’s dashboards for yourself through a live one-on-one demo!

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