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Why use Autotask Service Calls instead of just working tickets?

This question comes up now and again: “Why the hassle of using Service Calls in Datto Autotask when my team can just pull tickets from the queue and work them that way?”

Great question. The answer: scalability.

Smaller MSPs tend to “work the queue”

Most smaller MSPs “work the queue,” meaning techs grab tickets out of a queue (usually in whatever order the tech decides to grab them). This can work for small teams, especially owner-led teams, but breaks down very quickly past a few techs. Sure, larger MSPs can (and sometimes do) keep “working the queue,” but their efficiency is much lower than an MSP that uses the dispatch model.

Scalable MSPs use the dispatch model

The dispatch model is where work is assigned, in order, to each tech. So instead of a tech working ticket A, B, and C, they are told to do work X, Y, and Z by the helpdesk manager or dispatcher. The two methods seem to be similar, but they aren’t. In the dispatch model, a single person handles the routing of work, screens interruptions for the techs, and handles the micro-management that techs would otherwise waste their time on.

Essentially, in a “work the queue” model, you get 50%-75% of your tech doing actual work. In a dispatch model, you want your tech spending 75%-90% of their time doing actual work. That means for every 4 techs in the dispatch model, you pretty much get a “free tech” back.

That is why MSPs move to the dispatch model.

Autotask Service Calls are used in the dispatch model

In Autotask, Service Calls (SC) are used to define and schedule the order of work. SCs are often used for onsites only, but in reality that’s just hitting the tip of the iceberg. (That’s like using an RMM just for remote access. It’s great, but there are so many other reasons to use an RMM.)

In Rocketship, we fully automate this entire process and create the SCs for you. But you can certainly manually manage SCs to shift to a dispatch model MSP. If you go that route, you will need to assign the helpdesk manager to that role for small MSPs and then hire a full-time dispatcher as you grow.


In this webinar, Dustin Puryear, Autotask expert and MSP industry veteran, will show you how to set up Kanban boards in Autotask, integrate them with your workflow rules, and how to get the most out of them.

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