ConnectWise Time Entry Struggle

Time entry by billable staff is not a new topic.  It’s one that service managers and owners have struggled with for decades.  For 8 years now Bering McKinley has been helping owners solve this issue with a fair degree of success.  In studying why techs don’t enter their time and why owners can’t seem to solve the riddle, I’ve come up with a few thoughts.  I’ll share my thoughts and the solution in this post.  Follow these steps and you can solve this issue once and for all!

Why don’t our techs enter their time?

1. They don’t know how to do it.

They know the fields to fill it but not the process.  We have to show them what to do in a variety of circumstances.  We have to give them great charge codes in ConnectWise Manage for non-client-facing work.  We have to role-play several situations.

2. They don’t know when to do it.

Sure, they hear you say “as you go” but they don’t always know the practical application.  Make sure to stress that a ticket is not complete until notes and time is entered. Just like little kids (and some adults), we have to teach that you’re not done going to the bathroom until you’ve washed your hands with soap and dried on a towel.  We correct them EVERY time they walk out of a bathroom.

3. They don’t know why they should do it.

Have each and every one of your billable staff seen an invoice generated from ConnectWise from your company?  Do they know what the ConnectWise agreements look like?  Do they know about agreement gross profit?  Do they know about the effective hourly rate?  That’s the “why”!  Train extensively on these topics.

4. They don’t have time to do it.

When we have a weak dispatch model the techs carry the weight of the ConnectWise service board on their shoulders!  They are trying to help as many clients as possible the best they can.  They are doing 5 things at once.  Work on a dispatch model that really allows them to focus on the task at hand and take ticket ownership from the techs and back on the dispatcher.

What’s the solution?

First, we don’t use the words babysit and micromanage.  We are managers. We build processes. We monitor compliance.  The longer you’ve let this problem go, the more it will take.  It’s called being a manager.

Inspect at the Same Rate You Expect

Create standards that everyone can work towards:

  1. Write a clear process for time entry requirements.
  2. Formally train the staff on invoicing, agreement gross profit, and effective hourly rate in ConnectWise.
  3. Establish a set time to SUBMIT time in ConnectWise Manage (Friday at 6 pm).  There is no need to give them through the weekend if we’ve confirmed all week long.
  4. Establish the rule of 40 hours of time entry weekly and 8 hours daily in the ConnectWise Manage timesheet.
  5. Inspect every 2 hours (in ConnectWise Manage go to the Time and Expense Module, select My Approvals, then choose the Current Time tab).
  6. If the time isn’t entered up to the hour STOP everything.  CALL (don’t email, text, or alert) the technician and have them STOP what they are doing and update their time.  It does not matter how important what they are working on is, STOP and enter your time.  You can do this without judgment or attitude.  Be kind but firm.
  7. Rinse and repeat for two weeks.  You will find that they will do anything to avoid the pain of your call.  You’ll find that they, like all humans will do anything to get OUT of pain and almost nothing to AVOID pain.  Your call is PAIN.  Your nagging to enter time once a week is not pain.
  8. PRAISE any progress.
  9. Anyone who is resisting this can be managed one on one in your office privately.

We don’t need fancy dashboards, we don’t need workflow rules, we just need to get back to basics, understand human behavior, and MANAGE our way out of this problem.  The most hardened tech is the easiest to correct.  They care about you, they care about the company, you just have to provide the why.

If we don’t master this fundamental issue we get poor financial results, our reports are inaccurate, our billing is delayed, resentment builds and we create a negative work relationship.  Have some discipline, have a strong process and you’ll roll your eyes when your peers complain about this.

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