With over a thousand MSPs using TimeZest to schedule appointments, we’ve noticed a strange phenomenon with some of our customers: management sees the advantages of TimeZest and wants to roll it out to benefit their end users, but individual engineers – and sometimes even entire teams - will resist using TimeZest and revert to older, inefficient ways of booking meetings. The infamous scheduling ping-pong.
Let’s explore this a little more. Understanding the reasons why engineers might feel threatened by TimeZest, and resist using it, can give us the tools to overcome that resistance, and provide the best possible experience for your customers.
Loss of Control
The first negative response to TimeZest is that engineers can feel that they are losing control of their calendar. Customers can schedule when it suits them, and an appointment magically appears in the engineer’s calendar. This is understandable: the engineer loses control of their schedule and can feel like they’re suddenly pulled this way and that by forces they have no control over.
The key to overcoming this negative response is to give the engineers the tools they need to assert some control over their calendar:
Use the minimum notice feature of TimeZest’s appointment types to ensure that new appointments are a sufficient amount of time in the future (subject to SLAs etc.) so that engineers aren’t surprised by them and can prepare for them.
Use TimeZest’s custom availability to block out sections of the day where no appointments are scheduled for engineers to do other work they may need to. Consider blocking off the first hour of the working day to allow engineers to settle in and prepare for their work, rather than having to face a customer appointment as soon as they’ve walked in the door. Additionally, you can allow engineers to set their own availability in TimeZest in the user portal.
Feeling like a Cog in a Machine
Another negative response to TimeZest we’ve seen is engineers feeling like TimeZest is being used to maximize the amount of work extracted from them and pack as much as possible into a day. While this is, to a certain extent, true, it’s also important that engineers don’t feel they’re treated this way. That leads to resentment, burnout, and staff turnover.
Again, TimeZest offers tools to ensure that it’s used in a sustainable way:
The most important tool here is buffer times, to ensure that engineers have sufficient time before an appointment to prepare, and afterward to complete any tasks arising from it.
The second part to dealing with feelings like this is to acknowledge that they can be legitimate, and ensure that as a manager, you’re listening to these concerns when they’re raised, and acting where you can.
Busy-work and value-work
We’ve also noticed that there are some engineers who actually like the back-and-forth of old-style email scheduling because it is an easy task that feels like work and makes for an easy entry on their timesheet.
For this problem, TimeZest doesn’t have a solution. It’s something you have to tackle at a cultural level, encouraging your engineers to put your customers front of mind and work in ways that benefit the customer. This is a central part of being a customer-focused MSP and will have a direct impact on how satisfied your customers are.
Additionally, we’re in the IT industry: we should be using computers to automate everything that can be automated. Just as you wouldn’t configure a new workstation by manually installing and configuring Windows instead of loading a pre-configured OS image, you shouldn’t schedule appointments manually where there is software that can automate it.
Engineers are expensive, so ensure they work on the most valuable work possible.
Don’t impose Diktats from above
Finally, a source of resistance can be simply to new tools introduced by management fiat, without consultation with the engineers who are actually using them. By involving dispatchers and engineers in the decision to trial and implement TimeZest, and incorporating their feedback into how and where it is used – and how and where it isn’t used – you can develop buy-in and enthusiasm in your team for the tools they use.
This is a key consideration in any change you wish to introduce to your teams and one that will ensure that improvements are adopted, rather than ignored.
TimeZest should make life easier for your engineers and improve the experience of your customers. By paying attention to the concerns of your engineers, and using some of the features of TimeZest which we designed to make it work for your teams, you should see a successful rollout of TimeZest, and enjoy the advantages it brings to your MSP.