Category Archives: Manage Service

How Small Businesses Can Outsource All Your IT Needs

Small business owner on the phone with outsourced IT company with questions holding a tablet

Are you spending too much time in IT and not enough time on your other business needs?

The business world has changed significantly in the last twenty years, especially when it comes to your business IT management. Never has it been more expensive to keep an in-house IT expert, or more accessible to outsource. With unemployment at an all-time low and demand for technical skills at an all-time high, startups and small businesses don’t stand a chance in the hiring frenzy for IT technicians of any kind. Salaries and benefits packages are on the rise and competition is fierce even among tech giants who could once have hired anyone they pleased.

IT Outsourcing for Small Businesses

So how does a small business stay cutting-edge and tech-savvy (or just keep your website and office computers functional) in this environment? It’s easy, you outsource! The thing about the current tech-industry environment is that the technicians know they’re in high demand and like any healthy market, that demand is being met!

There are now many types of outsourceable IT services available to serve small-business needs at small-business prices. As long as you’re willing to share. And hey, you don’t need full-time IT anyway. Just someone to help keep your website afloat and fix the computers when they get mischievous.

Full-Service Website Hosting & Maintenance

The best place to start is with your website. Every business needs a website, and you certainly don’t need an in-house developer to get one, then host and maintain it with all the necessary considerations. All you need is a full-service web hosting provider. Start by hiring a web developer contractor to build you an awesome website that can be managed with standard controls, ensuring that it has all the necessary security measures and features and is not made in WordPress, which is hacker-bait.

Next, host that website with a reputable hosting service like Azure, AWS, or Digital Ocean who also provide managed security hosting and website maintenance packages. Website IT solved until you decide to hire another temporary web-dev for an update.

On-Site Computer Repair Services

You don’t need an IT employee for your on-site office equipment support either. In most small businesses, the computers need direct physical servicing once in a blue moon. If you are leasing or renting your equipment, the leasing company often has a repair service available who will help you keep your computer, tablets, printers, and such in good condition in addition to installation and setup. Most cities also feature more than a few on-site computer repair services who would be glad to count you as their occasional clients.

So if a computer starts doing something you don’t understand and needs direct support, a local repair service can help over the phone or send a technician right over to fix it. So that’s in-house device IT covered as well.

Managed IT Service Provider(MSP) & Cybersecurity Team

Finally, there’s your network setup and business data security to consider. Your company’s network security is critical to everyday functions from managing inventory to keeping customer information safe from hackers. And you don’t need an in-house IT employee to take care of that either. There’s already an entire industry of service IT known as MSP for Managed Service Providers. Yes, the name is vague, but it’s definitely IT.

MSPs specialize in network, server, and software stack IT services from installation to ongoing maintenance and upgrades. And, of course, they’re prepared to take care of all your cybersecurity needs for these aspects of your business tech as well. With your cybersecurity and network management covered, that’s all your business’ IT needs neatly outsourced without a single recruiting competition for a high-priced in-house IT staff member.

Whether you’re a new startup trying to protect your cash flow or a practical small business looking to keep up-to-date on today’s complex IT business demands, there’s no need to join the War for Talent for in-house IT. Not when there are such convenient and reasonably priced outsourcing options made precisely for your small business needs. If you are putting together your outsourced IT stack for services as you need them, when you need them, contact us today! Our MSP team would be proud to help your small business manage your IT expertly from your software stack to your network security.

Seven Ways to Improve Your Help Desk Office Efficiency

Three women smiling and working an IT help desk with headsets and laptops

Having a team that works efficiently together takes time to build, which is why a lot of small businesses rely on SystemsNet

It would be nice if every help desk job was predictable, reliable, and ran like a well-oiled machine, but they don’t. Depending on the company, the space, the managers, and the team in question, help desk offices can be anything from a rowdy pen of adult children on phones to a structured regiment of serious professionals. Admittedly, most techs would prefer to find an employer whose help desk office is somewhere in between. The best places are the ones where your manager and co-workers take the work seriously when it matters but can still laugh off a joke or the ridiculous behavior of trouble customers, where you can have snacks but the workstations are clean, and where the quota policies make sense for both efficiency and customer service. Of course, to create an environment this functional and friendly, it takes a talented manager, a well-designed work environment, and a smooth infrastructure for the team to work with each other and the clients.

If you want to improve your help desk office efficiency, think about it from the technician’s point of view. Their work experience determines the quality of the notes and documentation created, service provided, and customer satisfaction.

1) Keep the Temperature Comfy

Office thermostats have been a well-known enemy of employees for decades. Everyone is familiar with the bizarrely uncomfortable work environments created by overzealous, inefficient, or badly programmed office thermostats. The fact of the matter is that people, like computers, have an optimal working temperature and any other temperature will become a distraction from an already complex job of solving technical problems and walking customers through understanding and accepting the solutions. Unfortunately, even two people who look identical can have slightly different temperature preferences. A great way to address this is to vote every six months on the ideal temperature, usually somewhere between 65 and 75, and then provide blankets, space heaters, or fans and cool water to those who have edge-case preferences.

2) Desk Sanitization Supplies

One of the worst ways to start a shift, especially in customer service, is to come in to a sticky, trash covered, or otherwise dirty workstation. While many offices know that desk sanitization is a good way to reduce the big waves of sick days as something travels around the office, there are actually a large number of reasons to make regular desk cleaning a policy. If every workstation is equipped with wipes or something equivalent, this allows people to sanitize after a shift, clean up any accidental messes, and make sure their station is completely clean at the beginning of a shift. This not only reduces annual sick days, it also makes starting work more pleasant.

3) Manager Rescue Policy

When you listen to tales of tech support, one theme that shows up over and over features the hero stories about managers who know exactly when to step in. When customers have gotten unduly abusive, when the problem is clearly above your authorization level, and when there’s clear indications of scamming, it’s great to know that your manager is on your side. Having a supportive manager and a policy of backing up employees on problem calls can improve the morale and confidence of the entire team.

4) Provide Hot Beverages

Tech support is not a brainless task and doing it on the phone only makes it harder. Most people don’t actually talk all day long, but this is the job and your agents are ready to do it, as long as there’s something hot to drink after the tenth consecutive call. Many offices provide coffee but it’s important to remember the dehydration effects of caffeine, not to mention that some people have a dietary restriction. Make sure to provide a form of hot water, tea bags, and hot cocoa mix as well. Hot cider is also a fun way to mix it up and keep everyone healthy.

5) Lose the Phone Tree

Your customers hate the phone tree. We don’t have to ask, it doesn’t matter what your industry is because everyone hates the phone tree. You hate phone trees. If you absolutely must have an automated operator to sort initial calls, consider reducing the branches before connecting to a human representative. The longer your customers argue with a half-deaf robot, the more likely they are to yell at your phone tech when they finally get through. No one likes getting yelled at, and this is what the phone tree creates.

6) Sound Absorbing Office Materials

The most efficient help desk offices can have dozens of techs working in the same room without disturbing each other. However, there are only a few very subtle ways to make it work. First, you need to turn the thermostat down a degree or two and second, you need sound absorbing office materials. Cube walls, light fixture covers, wall art. Any unused surface you can find that can support a soft texture can be used to reduce the amount of sound that travels across the room.

7) Modular Personalization

Personalization of the work area has always been highly debated topic in the business world. Whether employees should be allowed to personalize at all and if so, which employees do personalize is always a matter of individual office protocols. That said, permitting employees to personalize in small ways as long as there’s no mess or disturbance is a great way to make your office unique and give your team a little bit of psychological space.

In the question of shared workstations, you can even make it possible to personalize on the job and depersonalize the station at the end of the shift with individual boxes or baskets for each person who shares a shift-assigned desk.

There are many ways to make your office more supportive to your team and these are just the beginning. With the right attitude for approaching your help desk work environment, the quality of your service and even the skills and capabilities of the technicians themselves will visibly improve. Contact us today for more help desk insights.

IT Help Desk: Facing Your Customer Support Challenges (Part 2)

Confident female operator with a headset is working with colleagues at desk in an IT help desk call center

Having a team of IT Specialists available, allows an MSP to handle complex problems with ease

In our previous blog post, we discussed customer service and some of the issues that can arise during your attempt to provide the highest level of customer service. We discussed the importance of having a system in place that can help your customer support team address some of the common customer support problems you may have in your workplace.

The key issue we discussed in the previous blog was the lack of data reports. Due to the variety of data that your business or organization collects on a daily basis, you will need to be able to maintain the data that you are generating. The right IT help desk system will allow you to collect the data you need and generate reports that will allow you to analyze the data.

Another issue that you may face on a regular basis is the amount of time it takes to resolve a customer’s problem. If you are discovering that your customers are not satisfied with the resolution time, what can you do to deliver a faster response time?

Customer Support Problem #2: Issues Take Too Long To Be Resolved

Today’s customers expect their problems to be resolved in a timely manner and many customers do not want to accept a slow resolution time. Many customers will not accept that there were errors or other problems as it relates to internal problems. Your customers will want an answer to their problems and they will want it quickly.

If your customer support team does not have the proper tools to assist them, everyone on your team will struggle to resolve the problems your customers are facing. Your customers do not want to be consistently told that their issue is being transferred to someone else on the support team. If your customer support team is constantly struggling with who should be responsible for a specific ticket, you will need to reevaluate your internal processes.

Solution #2: Improve Internal Flow

Have you set aside any expectations and goals you want to have for your business? Once you establish the particular goals you want to have in your business, you will be able to share those goals with your customers so you can inform them of the expectations you have for them. When members of your support team fail to meet the expectations and goals you have set you can ensure they are aware that they did not meet the goals.

You want everyone on your support team to be on the right page so your entire business will not be set up for failure. Everyone needs the proper resources and tools to effectively identify the purpose of a ticket being created and what can be done to resolve the problem. Everyone on your team should be aware of their responsibilities and the responsibilities of their team members.

When you have an effective process in place, all members of your support team will be able to meet the team goals and the individual goals that have been set for them. When you want to meet the goals you have set for your business and the goals you have set for your team, we encourage you to face your challenges from the start. Using the right metrics and indicators will give you a better chance at success in 2020, in addition to using the right help desk and customer support software.

We understand that customer support is not predictable because your customer support team has no idea what type of problems customers will experience on a daily basis. At SystemsNet, we understand the importance of an effective IT help desk and tools that can be used to improve customer service.

For more information on how an effective IT help desk can be used to solve the customer support or customer service issues you have been facing, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

IT Help Desk: Facing Your Customer Support Challenges (Part 1)

Two collegues diceussing customer support challenges in a IT help desk meeting

An MSP has tools to provide analytical data back to the help desk in real-time

In your mind, you already have an excellent customer support team that has the level of commitment you need to provide all of your customers with a high level of support they need at all times. While you will always have the best intentions to be one of the leaders in customer service, sometimes you are not always able to properly execute your strategy.

If you have a support team that is filled with determined individuals, you will likely run into several challenges along the way. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being determined and ambitious, but it generally means you will face more obstacles along the way as you attempt to achieve your goals.

Every business today is distinctive, but businesses that are continuously growing will generally place a high priority tag on customer service and the customer experience you provide. Unfortunately, these businesses will generally have some of the same customer service problems.

Customer Support Problem #1: Lack of Proper Data

Today, businesses in all industries are discussing the importance of data and analytics. Businesses are learning what it means to be data-driven due to the influx of data. However, using that data and making it work for you is often one of the biggest challenges that today’s businesses are facing. If your business does not have the proper tools in place, how will you be able to collect data and organize the data you have accumulated about each of your customers?

Will you have the data you need to learn about who your customers are and what type of experience they have had with your business in the past? We understand how difficult a task this can seem to be, especially for businesses that have more data than they can handle. The more data a business has, the more difficult it can be to pay more attention to the data that is the most important to the goals you are trying to reach.

Over 50 percent of businesses will struggle to make wise data-driven decisions. If your business does not have the ability to make decisions based on data, you will be making wild guesses when it comes to your customer service strategy. One of the things you can do to solve this is by using the proper customer analytics strategy.

Solution #1: Generate The Reports You Need

We encourage you to set aside some time to list all of your goals. Once you have established your list of goals, you will be able to make a wise decision about the data that can help you meet those goals. The only indicators or metrics you should heavily focus on are the ones that will help you meet your goals. While there are other indicators and metrics you may want to focus on, they may lead to a long list of challenges and distractions.

For many customer service teams, the indicators or metrics you will need to pay close attention to will be related to the feedback you receive from customers and the feedback about your customer service agents. After you have determined the metrics you want to use, we encourage you to find a solution that will make it less challenging for you to collect all the data you need to have. When you have a comprehensive dashboard that consists of everything you need to have, you will be able to generate the relevant reports you need.

When everyone on your customer support team has access to the proper indicators and metrics, your business will be able to make better decisions using the data you have obtained. You will no longer have to make guesses as it relates to your decisions because you will now have the tools and resources you need to determine how your customer support is being viewed by your customers.

Contact us today for more information on how an effective IT help desk can help solve some of your biggest customer support challenges.

This concludes the first part of a two-part series. Come back for the second part of this blog where we share more customer support challenges and solutions.