Category Archives: Manage Service

Managed Service Provider Trends in 2017

20170713

Opportunities are just within reach

Making the most of your Managed Service Provider (MSP) is important, but with everything going on in your normal business day, it’s not surprising if you find it difficult to get past the “Yeah, we should do that” phase. Well, here we are heading into the second half of 2017. If you haven’t already started to make good on your goal, you will find the following paragraphs interesting as they describe trends in managed IT services in 2017. You are sure to find something that will help you accomplish your goals in concert with your Managed Services Provider (MSP).

Disaster Recovery. MSPs are turning to Recovery-as-a-Service from the cloud to provide their customers with the data and application protection they expect and need from their MSP. MSPs will provide recovery services through partnerships with other companies in the IT channel that provide such recovery services. Recovery-as-a-Service is sure to take another headache off your plate.

Cloud Opportunities. Harvard Business Review Analytic Services predicts that by 2020, 80% of businesses will operate in the cloud to some extent. Some businesses will move incrementally to the cloud, choosing to move one aspect of the business at a time. About half of businesses have begun the move or are developing a strategy to take advantage of the cloud disruption in their industry in the next three years. Management Services Providers (MSPs), too, will move forward to embrace cloud opportunities or pay the price later.

Cyber Security Network Safety. Cyber threats get more sophisticated every day. Businesses need help from their MSPs in threat detection and protection from malware of all types, including ransomware and phishing scams. Businesses cannot do it alone. MSPs have the IT know-how, the expertise, and the experience that comes from working with businesses in various fields and the exposure to cyber crime in various formats. Working in the cloud, MSPs can deliver the level of security services that their clients crave.

Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IOT) is not just the appealing voice of Alexa helping Jr. find information from the web or learning how Mom like things done around the house. Everyone in the neighborhood may not have Alexa yet but those who step back a minute and look around will see that IOT has started in a broader sense.

There are already many IOT facets to daily life. Thermostats connect us to our homes and our utility companies. We have smart homes that can control the lights and our furnaces for better electricity usage. Automatic cars travel beside us on our roads. Refrigerators connect to our smart phones so we can order the groceries we need. Connectivity is the new norm for businesses and machines.

MSPs will help customers in this brave new world by integrating their old and new systems and by helping MSP customers deploy technology that provides the analysis of big data coming from all that IOT. Businesses will need MSP expertise to use the insights gained from the new technology to make better business and plan for the future.

RMM 24/7 Monitoring.  RMM, remote monitoring and management, is also known as network managing. We can also think of it as software that enables remote managing. RMM is the software magic that allows IT MSPs to remotely monitor their client’s networks and computers.

This is how RMM works. The MSP installs a small software connection on the client’s network/computers. The software sends messages back to the MSP on the status of the IT network. RMM allows the MSP to maintain and update the network, monitor the network for potential threats, and resolve issues proactively without ever setting a foot in the business’s office. If an IT issue arises, the system creates a trouble ticket which it then sends to the MSP. The tickets often classify the activity by severity and type of problem. The MSP can then determine critical from non-critical activity and resolve issues accordingly. Some RMM platforms add machine learning to make predict more accurately.

These platforms will continue to develop to provide MSPs choices for the best tools to help customers.

MSP as Channel Partners. Channel partners will evolve to incorporate MSPs as value-added sellers; that is, the MSP will provide services to its clients in concert with another company that is in the IT channel to sell that company’s products or technologies. These highly profitable partnerships will evolve to deliver top service through SaaS cloud services.

If you want to talk about this or anything else, please contact us. We look forward to helping you grow your business.

Habits That An IT Help Desk Department Should Avoid

20170720

Frustrated by the attitude your receiving from your help desk?

Can you think of a time when you did not appreciate the kind of customer service you received? Unfortunately, many of us remember the bad customer service we receive from the good customer service. Terrible customer service moments will remain in customers minds, and they will share those stories with anyone who will listen.

There are various bad habits that IT help desk professionals should certainly avoid if they want to provide outstanding customer service on a consistent basis.

Avoiding Some Help Desk Tickets

Generally, an IT help desk department will use tickets to successfully manage the interactions they have with their customers. Some IT help desk agents will ignore the difficult tickets in favor of the easier tickets. If a help desk agent only wants to take the easier tickets, the help desk agents will never know what it is like to be challenged. When IT help desk agents are challenged, they will have to dig a little deeper, which will allow them to obtain more knowledge. Every customer should have their questions answered in a timely manner.

Formal Tone Of Speech

One of the biggest mistakes many IT help desk agents make is not connecting with customers on a personal level. It can be easy for help desk agents to read directly from a script or send an automated email to the customer. When IT help desk agents put in the extra work to build relationships with customers and give them a better customer service experience, the more the IT help desk agent will get out of the interaction.

It is certainly important for IT help desk agents to be polite, but being too formal may make your customers feel isolated. When someone contacts a company’s IT help desk department, they are usually feeling agitated and upset that they could not figure out the problem on their own. When a help desk agent responds in a friendly tone, the customer may be able to relax a little more.

The Attitude

We all know what it is like to have a bad day, right? However, it is important that IT help desk agents have the ability to keep their emotions in check. It is important to remain calm at all times, even though it may be difficult at times. There should be no arguing with customers, being defensive, or being dismissive when a customer asks a question.

IT help desk agents have the ability to create great experiences that will lead to a loyal customer base. IT help desk agents should be able to separate the business at hand from their personal feelings. The knowledge, experience, expertise, patience, etc. should all outweigh the personal feelings of an IT help desk agent.

Failing To Fully Respond To Questions

Many IT help desk agents are in such a hurry to respond to as many tickets as they can that they will simply respond with a yes or no answer. When customers only receive a yes or no answer to a question, this will only lead to more questions. When customers are constantly asking the same question because they did not get a better response the first time, this will mean the help desk agents will have more work to do.

In order for an IT help desk agent to be effective, the agent should try to respond with a detailed answer the first time the customer asks the questions. Customers have high expectations, and when they have a problem, they expect the IT help desk agent who responds to their ticket to have the knowledge and expertise to help them. How can an effective IT help desk department change your business operations? Contact us today and learn more about the SystemsNet team.

IT Help Desk: The Customer Satisfaction Method

20170608

Woman answering calls at an IT help desk.

From the many points of contact between companies and clients, the IT help desk is the number one opportunity to inspire long-term loyalty in customers. Customer service representatives have clients on the phone at their most vulnerable moments, when the product has failed to work and they must ask for help. These reps have the power to ease frustration, quickly solve problems, rescue customer data and overall turn a tenuous situation into one of customer relief and happiness. Customers who receive high quality, fast, and friendly technical support will stay forever because they know any problems that occur will be easily solved by company experts. To achieve this ideal standard of service, your help desk team needs to adopt the right attitude, and implement the customer satisfaction method.

Start with Positive Listening

Usually, by the time someone calls for tech-support, there has already been some long frustrating journey. They have gone through the trouble of identifying the issue, have probably tried to fix it themselves, and have finally accepted that they need assistance. Remember that their negative feelings are about the problem and stay positive and friendly as they explain their experience with the technical issue. You will probably need to pick out the relevant technical data from their personal account, so let them finish and consider taking notes when you hear a detail that could aid in the solution.

Understand the Customer’s Point of View

Many people are aware that their mistake caused the problem, and should be reassured that technical mistakes are easy to make. Explain to them why they made the mistake and try telling a few stories about other issues caused by similar mistakes. This assures the customer that they’re not alone in their technical challenges and a few funny accounts of other bugs can do a lot to alleviate tension. While your official duty is to fix the bug, easing customer worries and cheering them up after a challenging technical experience is a valuable service any help desk agent can provide.

Explain the Problem & Teach the Solution

The chance is high that your customer is interested in what went wrong and how it was fixed and in most cases it’s safe to explain it to them. When you understand the problem, lay it out for the customer in a way they can understand. Whether it was a slipped decimal point, missed semicolon or an accidentally mismanaged email, it is interesting information and can help them prevent the same issue in the future. If the solution takes a little bit of time to implement, you can use that phone-time to explain what you’re doing to the customer. You may be surprised at their enthusiasm to learn your methods and repair procedures, and the involvement will make the customer feel more deeply included by the company as a whole, building connection, and loyalty.

Build a Reputation

High-quality customer service is rare enough, but help desk agents that can simultaneously solve problems and cheer up their customers will become legendary. When people share their tech support horror stories, your customers will feel compelled to chime in with their unusual tale of when the tech support agent made them laugh and taught them something cool. When you offer excellent help desk service, your company’s reputation for customer care will skyrocket.

Optimized your help desk methods are an important key to long-term customer retention and loyalty. Any company with a help desk can benefit significantly by training agents to be positive, assuring, and informative with every customer that calls in. If you have a help desk or are preparing to set one up for your company, contact us to speak to one of our IT experts.

Hosting your own Microsoft Exchange Server: The Pros and Cons

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Hosting Exchange in-house

Whether or not you should host your company’s Microsoft Exchange Server in-house depends on a number of key considerations. These include your company’s budget; data security concerns; and need for flexibility, just to name a few. With these factors in mind, let’s have a look at the potential pros and cons of hosting Exchange in-house:

 

 

The Pros

Greater control over your data

When you host your own Exchange server, your company’s data is under your company’s control and no one else’s. If you’re uncomfortable with a remote third party potentially having access to, and control over, your company’s data in the cloud, then you may want to host your server in-house.

Flexibility with your configuration

If you host your Exchange server in-house, you can configure it to your precise specifications. However, with a hosted solution, you will probably find yourself limited to the packages and options the host provides. Of course, they may offer a completely customizable solution, but this may come at a substantially higher cost.

Saving money on bandwidth

With an in-house solution, the emails and attachments your employees send one another will bypass the Internet, as long as everyone shares the same LAN. This can translate to significant savings on Internet bandwidth.

Performance

Large attachments, especially those that contain audio or video, may suffer a delay in transmission if your employees are sending them through a hosted Exchange server. In this case, every email attachment essentially becomes an upload or a download to your Internet-based server. Given this constraint, if your company’s communications are especially media-intensive, an in-house solution could save you time and frustration.

Using email attachments to store files

If you are hosting your Exchange server in-house, your staff can easily store files by adding them as attachments to their emails. However, this common practice is much more difficult, impractical and expensive when using a hosted server. After all, you are now sending your file attachments over the Internet, and storing them in the cloud, costing you bandwidth and storage space.

Less exposure to Internet outages

If you have an in-house Exchange server, any employees on your LAN can continue to send emails to one another during an Internet outage.

The Cons

Requires vigilance

A hosted solution will generally have systems in place for handling all the responsibilities, ongoing tasks and potential issues surrounding Exchange server management. These include handling outages; performing scheduled backups; updating your version of Exchange; and any number of other server-management tasks and concerns. On the other hand, when you are hosting your own Exchange server, your in-house or hired networking specialist will need to be vigilant to stay on top of all of these same issues.

Requires IT expertise

Hosting and managing your own Exchange server requires either in-house or hired networking expertise. If you don’t have the trained expertise in-house, be sure to hire a highly-qualified networking specialist or team in your area. However, only hire networking professionals that are specifically trained in setting up and managing Exchange servers. You will also want reassurance that your hired specialists will make themselves readily available to respond to any outages; answer any questions or concerns; and take the time to properly train any members of your staff that will work with your Exchange server.

Potentially higher cost

Hosting your server in-house will require an investment in equipment, setup, expertise, and maintenance. Depending on the size of your company, your chosen server configuration, and a number of other factors, an in-house solution could potentially cost more than a hosted solution. However, if you are saving money on bandwidth by hosting your server in-house, you might find that your savings can more than offset any potentially higher costs of in-house hosting.

Making your decision

Whether or not to host your own Exchange server is an important decision that depends on a number of key trade-offs. Before making your decision, be sure to carefully consider your need for control over your data; your budget; your access to in-house or local networking expertise; your employees’ use of large file attachments; your need for flexibility; and any other concerns you may have. Contact us to help you decide whether hosting your Exchange server in-house is right for you.