Tag Archives: #ManagedServices

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.

Are VoIP Services Included In Your Customer Support Strategy? (Part 2)

Business woman on the go using her mobile phone to resolve problems with customer support

Having the right tools is key to delivering the best possible service to customers.

In our previous blog, we talked about VoIP services and other features that can be included in a business’s customer support strategy that can be used to provide high-quality services. There are various other features and components that a business can use in call centers and other customer service areas to provide an overall better experience for customers and clients.

Customer Self-Service

Today, many customers appreciate the opportunity to resolve some of their smaller issues on their own without having to call into a help desk. This is why it is becoming important for businesses and organizations to find customer support software that includes self-service options. A self-service option will give your customers the ability to find answers to some of the common problems they are having with a product or service.

Your customers will be able to obtain control over their problems by searching through the self-service option. When customers are having problems that other customers have been able to resolve, the community feature of a self-service customer portal can be very useful. Customers will be able to share their experience with the problem and share details about how they resolved the problem.

A self-service option will be convenient for the customers because they will be able to attempt to resolve the problem at their own speed and at their own pace.

Mobility

We are all aware of how important mobility has become. Customers love being able to use systems and software that do not require them to be sitting in front of a desktop computer in order to access it. Being able to resolve problems while being active and mobile can be a difference-maker for customers. Many of your customers will use your products and your services while they are out of their homes or out of the office, and they will often use the products and services on a mobile device.

If customers are using their devices to access your products and services, the chances are high that they will likely use the mobile device to reach out to you when they need assistance. This is why we recommend using customer support software that will allow customers to contact you through their mobile devices. If customers are accessing what you offer through a mobile device, they should be able to be assisted by your customer support team or access the self-service portal through that same device.

You will need customer support software that will provide you with the ability to notice which customers may need more assistance than others. Unfortunately, many customers do not receive the help they need and they will not contact the customer support team again because they did not receive the help they needed the first time.

Customers will become upset or distressed due to the lack of support. This is why it is a good idea to use various measurements in your customer support software so you can identify the customers who will need your agents to put in additional time and effort to assist those customers.

Customer support software that reports in real-time will allow you to stay in the loop on everything that is going on within your system. It will be easier for you to understand how impactful the features and components are. You will also be able to identify any weak points. Your customer support software will become a cornerstone of your business or organization. It is important that you look for features that will allow you to provide a high level of customer support for your customers.

There are many things you will need to look for when it comes to customer support software, but we hope the features we have shared with you today can give you a better idea of what you should look for while you are on your way to revamping your customer support system.

What features in customer support software do you think your business can use to provide a better customer experience? Contact us today for more information on VoIP service and help desk services.

Are VoIP Services Included In Your Customer Support Strategy? (Part 1)

Voice-over-IP (VoIP) phones in a row in an office desk

In the service industry, having a VoIP system is critical in providing the best possible customer service.

As more technology and equipment are being added to meet the needs in our personal lives and business lives, the need for greater customer support will continue to be crucial.

The customer support or customer service software you are using will continue to be a vital piece of your success because it is becoming more than a system that assigns tickets to customers. Your customer support software should be an essential asset to your business due to its ability to hold a wealth of customer information.

As you begin to assess your customer-oriented strategies and your processes, there are various features and components you should look for as you begin to make changes to your customer support strategy. What are some of the features you should include in your customer support strategy?

Voice-over-IP(VoIP)

VoIP is one of the most popular tools that can be used to improve the interactions between your business and your clients/customers. With VoIP features on your side, you will have one of the best technologies to boost your customer support. VoIP services will provide your business with the ability to offer high-quality customer service.

Phone calls will always be an important part of customer service. As more businesses begin to use SaaS platforms and others, the impact of voice components will continue to change. This is where VoIP can make its grand entrance. Many businesses are using VoIP services to transfer phone calls, record phone calls, host conference calls, and more during a time where we do not see as many landline devices as we have seen in the past.

VoIP services can be used by businesses in all industries and of all sizes. VoIP will enable you to be available to your clients and customers at all times and respond in a timely manner. With VoIP features, you will be able to direct phone calls to the proper department in a timely manner. If your business performs in multiple areas across the globe, VoIP will be flexible enough to support all of your teams.

Ticketing System

What would the perfect customer support software for your business or organization consist of? Would it consist of a solution that would offer an effective way to manage tickets? Would it consist of a solution that would allow you to effectively interact with your customers? Did you know that an inbuilt ticketing system can be a mix of both of these features?

Yes, you can have a solution that will allow you to create customer support tickets through more than one channel. After the tickets have been created, you will be able to present the customer support tickets to your agents. As a result, you will see a decrease in the amount of time it takes to resolve the support tickets. When it does not take a significant amount of time to resolve one support ticket, your agents will be able to move on to the next ticket in a reasonable amount of time.

One of the most powerful tools you can have in your customer support software is what we refer to as tagging. When you have tags as a feature in your customer support software, you will be able to easily add more data to your tickets. After you have loaded the tickets with supplemental data, you will be able to customize workflow with the data you have loaded.

When a new ticket is loaded into your customer support system, the words that you have listed in the description will go through the system. Your customer support software will have the ability to scan each description that you have created and make a comparison to any tag that has previously been used. When the system locates the best matches for the tag, the new tags will be added to the ticket description.

For more information on VoIP services and other features that can impact your customer support strategy, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

Stay tuned for the second part of this blog that will address additional factors and components that can be included in your customer support strategy.

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.