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Thread: MSP advice

  1. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #1

    Default MSP advice

    So I just landed my first true IT job starting in a couple of weeks at a small MSP. I'm really pumped. I got a good vibe from my new boss, and it's a decent bump in pay from where I've been the past year. But I've thought of a few scenarios I'll likely see that I could use some advice on how to handle.

    I've never been great at projecting confidence I don't feel, but I know that's especially important when face to face with a client. . How do you handle projecting confidence to the client when you don't have the answers they're looking for? Or worse, if it's something that you feel you should know but just don't?

    And how do you handle a client looking over your shoulder when you're still trying to figure out what you're doing?

    Also any general advice would be appreciated. I expect to feel dumb for the next couple of months, but if there's any advice on how to handle that period, I'll take it. Thanks, guys.
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    #2
    best phrase to you use when you dont know answer to something is "let me investigate and get back to you"

    Makes you sound smart and gets you some time as well.
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  4. I drink and I know things Ertaz's Avatar
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlalie View Post
    So I just landed my first true IT job starting in a couple of weeks at a small MSP. I'm really pumped. I got a good vibe from my new boss, and it's a decent bump in pay from where I've been the past year. But I've thought of a few scenarios I'll likely see that I could use some advice on how to handle.

    I've never been great at projecting confidence I don't feel, but I know that's especially important when face to face with a client. . How do you handle projecting confidence to the client when you don't have the answers they're looking for? Or worse, if it's something that you feel you should know but just don't?

    And how do you handle a client looking over your shoulder when you're still trying to figure out what you're doing?

    Also any general advice would be appreciated. I expect to feel dumb for the next couple of months, but if there's any advice on how to handle that period, I'll take it. Thanks, guys.
    Don't have confidence that you have the answer. Have confidence that you can get to the answer. Don't fake knowledge you don't have. Be humble and ready. Any knocks you take early on will be outweighed by your willingness to learn and the reputation you receive for following through and getting stuff done.
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  5. Senior Member LordQarlyn's Avatar
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    #4
    Fake it until you make it. Now, I don't mean BS your way, rather, fake the body language confident people carry themselves in, and gradually it will become natural for you.

    And as the other two point out, never say you don't know the answer and never make up bogus techy sounding answers either, as azi90 states, say you will investigate and get back.
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    #5
    Don't be afraid to call in and get remote support from your office. A team is just that, your coworkers should be willing to assist you if needed.

    Like the other posters said don't BS a client. They see through that stuff and it really hurts you and your MSP.
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  7. Senior Member shochan's Avatar
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    #6
    Working for an MSP is definitely about building trust and relationships - once you gain that, you will be set...they will want YOU to work on their systems only...but do it right the first time, because the MSP may have another senior engineer go in behind you after you set up something & see if you really know your stuff or not...So, be honest and if you cannot configure it, don't fake it, let them know you want to shadow another engineer so you can learn it. Be aware, you will be installing A TON of 3rd party software that you will not know ANYTHING about, so read the install guides and white papers so you can be successful. Another thing is to document your work, make notes of important pw's, backup configs before installing a new firmware, or backups if you are working on a server, wkstn, etc. Yeah, use that restore point backup before you apply something, that might blow it up! HEHEHE, best of luck!
    2018 goals -> PenTest+ Beta (failed), CEH (Oct), Linux+ 103 (Dec)
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  8. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #7
    Thanks for the advice, guys. BSing is not my strong suit, so I don't think that should be a problem. Lol. We'll see how it goes. Nervous though I am, I'm just really excited to start a true IT job. Hopefully, it'll be a nice launching pad for my career.
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by azi90 View Post
    best phrase to you use when you dont know answer to something is "let me investigate and get back to you"

    Makes you sound smart and gets you some time as well.
    ^^^^This.

    There are various business owners (or spouses of business owners) whom I find can come across as short-tempered and needy. The truth of the matter is that they are typically busy and most of their day is already planned out. If you can tell them within 5 minutes that you'll have to get back to them, that will usually upset them a lot less than trying to spend 15+ minutes fumbling around with their issue.

    Usually.


    At other times you'll run into the special customer who's not letting you off the hook until you fix their problem then and there, and for those I wish you the best of luck.
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    #9
    Its a skill you'll develop, hopefully you have an understanding boss and if you can do your best to show them your value in other areas at first you'll be fine.
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  11. Stayed at a Holiday Inn.. the_Grinch's Avatar
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    #10
    Also remember that a lot of clients that use MSP are small shops or at best are big companies with a lot of small offices. If you will be an onsite guy call in if you have questions. I worked as the helpdesk for a MSP and our engineers would call in all the time with questions about various things since we had the best access to any information they might need. Often management will assign a field engineer to only a few clients thus you might learn three or four environments, but those will be the only ones you deal with.

    Just breathe and do your best, MSP work is really 90% about knowing the client's environment. Nothing, but time will get you that knowledge and once you have it you'll be good to go.
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  12. Senior Member --chris--'s Avatar
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike R View Post
    Don't be afraid to call in and get remote support from your office. A team is just that, your coworkers should be willing to assist you if needed.

    Like the other posters said don't BS a client. They see through that stuff and it really hurts you and your MSP.
    These are good.

    Don't BS anyone. You will work on A LOT of stuff, many times a day, with many people/clients. They should all expect you will need a few minutes to remember what they are talking about unless you just worked with them/hung up with them.

    Volunteer for everything you can afford (time) too. Server deployments, network refreshes, firewall projects, application roll outs, DR/BDR, etc...EVERYTHING. At some point you will probably leave the MSP, then you will become the "guy that knows everything" at your next job. Even though you will feel like you have much to learn, you will surprise yourself how silo'd other peoples experiences and knowledge bases are.

    Suck it up! Everything. MSP work can be bad, good, fun, boring, tedious.... Dedicate yourself to doing good, learning as much as you can and getting things done.


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  13. Senior Member NetworkingStudent's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlalie View Post
    So I just landed my first true IT job starting in a couple of weeks at a small MSP. I'm really pumped. I got a good vibe from my new boss, and it's a decent bump in pay from where I've been the past year. But I've thought of a few scenarios I'll likely see that I could use some advice on how to handle.

    I've never been great at projecting confidence I don't feel, but I know that's especially important when face to face with a client. . How do you handle projecting confidence to the client when you don't have the answers they're looking for? Or worse, if it's something that you feel you should know but just don't?

    And how do you handle a client looking over your shoulder when you're still trying to figure out what you're doing?

    Also any general advice would be appreciated. I expect to feel dumb for the next couple of months, but if there's any advice on how to handle that period, I'll take it. Thanks, guys.
    I have trouble with confidence too!!!

    Keep a log of common and uncommon fixes. I worked with a guy at an MSP the had a cheat sheet.

    See the video below:
    Setting Customer Expectations: Customer Service Training 101
    https://youtu.be/vTLk-5gf_AU?t=5s

    When you set expectations for delivery of service, your end-users and other customers plan accordingly. If you think a repair is going to take four hours, promise it in five. That way, your customer will be pleasantly surprised when it's completed in four. The idea is to under promise so you can over deliver. Be pleasant and professional. Your customer may not like the idea of waiting, but as long as you're pleasant and professional in setting expectations, they'll more than likely accept what you say.




    To be more confident:
    Hold you head up high when you walk
    REMEMBER - The company picked you out of "x" number of canidates, so they know you can do the job!
    Hit the gym and workout.

    Reward yourself
    Don't compare yourself to others be UNIQUE!
    Body Langauge
    Stand tall
    Smile and make eye contact
    Speak Slowy
    Your are great!!
    Make list of things you like about yourself. Why are you great? Ask family members what they think your good qualities are?

    As far as a the customer looking over your should, I would say practice with a friend or family member. Fix their computer, and have the family member ask you questions while you're fixing there machine. This way it can give you some practice.


    Remember
    people will forget what you did,but they will NOT forget how you made them feel.
    When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened."

    --Alexander Graham Bell,
    American inventor
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    #13
    When people are looking over my shoulder and talking too much, I will let them near if the problem is simple but if I need concentration because it is a strange problem, I will say so and tell them that after you fixed this problem you will look at all other thing but that now you need time to fix it.
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  15. Senior Member alan2308's Avatar
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    #14
    I worked at an MSP for a few years, and there's some great advice in this thread already. Everyone, myself included, felt exactly like you did going in. If it's a good MSP, they'll start you out slow, simple tickets and confidence will come when you establish a history of solving problems of increasing difficulty. Observe everything that's going on, even if you don't have a hand in it. Work hard, learn everything you can, and you'll do fine.

    I've heard it said many times that you learn as much in one year at an MSP as you would in two years just about anywhere else. I honestly believe that. If you're passionate about this field, it'll be a fun ride.
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  16. Senior Member snokerpoker's Avatar
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    #15
    Hopefully this MSP has some structure that will ease you into your new role.

    As others mentioned, telling a client or an individual- "I'll need to investigate this" is perfectly acceptable. The only thing to take into consideration is that working as a consultant is totally different than an in house IT Department. When you work in an internal IT department you have more time to investigate and research (At least at the helpdesk and desktop level). People have this notion that because you work at an MSP as a consultant that you are an expert in everything. This is due to several factors. One of which is due to the fact that MSP's charge monthly fees and a premium hourly rate for services. So another aspect of your job will be how to manage time onsite with clients effectively. MSP customers generally don't want to pay for 16 hours of work to find a bug in Adobe release 11.04 build 7785623 when you can upgrade to the new version and be done in 1 to 1.5 hours (With testing, etc.) This probably isn't the best example but it gets the point across.

    As far as internal communication don't be afraid to ask for help. As a senior engineer, I'd much rather have someone tell me "I don't know this" or "I'm having an issue here with this task". That way it can be a training item or a task I can work on with someone. I've had plenty of times where people didn't ask or say anything. Then they tried to get something working and broke three other things in the process. That's a scenario you want to avoid. You want your team to trust you as well! Not just the clients.
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