Tag Archives: MSP

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.

How Is Your Relationship With Your Managed Service Provider (MSP)

Business woman at her desk, on speaker phone with her managed service provider

Having a trusted relationship with your MSP is key in having a solid relationship with your MSP Provider

Challenges in relationships can happen to any couple, and sometimes they can happen when you least expect it. Challenges in relationships can also happen between businesses. It can certainly be frustrating when a provider makes promises to solve your problems, but you eventually discover that the provider is not able to fulfill those promises.

As the owner or manager of a business, you will seek the services of a Managed Services Provider(MSP). You may not have enough time to tend the technology that is used to help you operate your business. IT has become the foundation of businesses all across the globe. If you do not have IT, then your business does not have a reliable foundation. Your business is basically operating on shaky ground.

A business that experiences consecutive periods of downtime will discover that the business will lose revenue as the days go by. Like the revenue you will lose when your business is down, you can drain your business’s resources each time you are waiting for your equipment and other technology resources to meet the expectations you have set.

You need a Managed Services Provider(MSP) that works hard to work with you, but if you are partnering with an MSP that is not helping you elevate your business, it will leave you wondering if it is worth it to continue with the relationship. Here are some questions you should ask yourself to help you determine if your MSP is providing any benefits in the relationship.

Can You Trust Your MSP?

If you do not have reliable IT services, you will find yourself on the outside looking in it comes to your competition. If your business uses programs and hardware on a daily basis, it is important that your programs and hardware are functioning at all times. Regardless of the type of system you are operating under, you will need to have reliable IT services.

If you begin to discover that recommendations are being made that do not fit your business system or if your services and other functions are being cut, you will discover that your situation will become worse. If your MSP is making decisions that you do not trust, this is not a good sign in your relationship.

Does Your MSP Communicate With You?

When you first partnered with your MSP, you believed that the MSP would be effective communicators. However, if your MSP is making mistakes and not acknowledging those mistakes, this could be another sign that there is trouble in the relationship. If you have problems that your MSP is not resolving because it is difficult to reach them at any point in the day, your MSP is not an effective or reliable communicator.

If you find yourself demanding that the provider come to your location and repair the services, it may be time to leave this relationship and enter a new one.

Is Your MSP Reliable?

If you are facing one or more technical difficulties, how long can you wait for your system to be repaired? If your MSP is not reliable, you will find out really quickly. A Managed Service Provider(MSP) can be seen as reliable if it offers quick delivery of services and if it provides you with high-quality system performance.

An MSP can also be seen as reliable if it is available around the clock. An MSP that offers around the clock services will ensure that your business sees as little downtime as possible. A reliable MSP also is responsive and effective when it comes to communication. If your MSP is not excelling in any of these areas, your relationship and your business can go downhill in a hurry.

We understand how challenging it can be to choose a Managed Service Provider that can fulfill your needs. There are so many things that you will need to consider, and this can make it a very frustrating process. It does not matter what route you device to take when you are searching for an MSP, but we encourage you to be aware of what you should look for in an MSP.

Is it time to leave your relationship with your current MSP? Contact us today for more information on how to reevaluate your relationship with your MSP.

How Many Channels Should Your IT Help Desk Have?

IT help desk customer support agents using email, phone, screen sharing, and live chat

What is your preferred method for working with your managed service provider?

Running the IT help desk for your business is about more than just churning tickets and resolving problems. Communication is one of the biggest concerns of a help desk because each person who needs help will seek it in a different way. From the people you’re dealing with to the nature of the problems you’re solving, it’s important to include a variety of communication channels in your IT help desk infrastructure.

The more channels through which employees or customers can reach out for IT help when they need it and benefit from your assistance. More problems will be solved and the reputation of your IT help desk will skyrocket as users are delighted to find that you will connect in the ways that work best for them.

But which channels should you incorporate? Where should you start? Let’s take a look at the four leading channels that your IT help desk should incorporate.

Email

Email is the leading channel for IT help desks. Even if you connect over the phone, email is an essential element because so much more can be done through email than most other channels. Email is asynchronous communication, meaning that you and your users don’t have to be online at the same time to exchange information and work toward a solution. Email also allows for the trading of files and to carefully put together your responses with all the information, even if that takes some time per message.

In the business world, many people are most comfortable communicating through email. If your IT help desk makes email outreach available and responds promptly, this is essential for many of your users.

Phone

Phone is the other half of classic help desk communication. There are still people who are most comfortable getting in touch over the phone and will have the easiest time solving their problems by explaining over voice. The phone allows users to reach out with 100% certainty that they are dealing with a real human being ready to help with their problem. Those who don’t type confidently or who don’t know how to explain their situation will have an easier time over the phone, as well as older generation’s habitual preference for phone calls over text conversations.

Live Chat

The latest in help desk communication is live chat. Live chat comes in many forms and can be extremely versatile when implemented correctly. Live chat works through web browsers, mobile apps, and any other interface with a keyboard and internet access. The most appealing thing about live chat is that it is right in the middle between email and phone support.

Like phone support, live chat is real-time which means users get the answers they need immediately instead of waiting for a return email. But at the same time, it’s text communication where each message can be carefully put together and files can be shared as part of the problem-solving process. Live chat is quick, convenient, and you can easily send a transcript of your conversation over to a client so they can refer back to your help in the future.

Screen Sharing

Finally, no matter what conversational communication you choose, make sure that screen sharing is possible for your IT help desk. Screen sharing is most often paired with live chat or video calls. Most importantly, screen sharing allows technicians to take a look at user desktops to more deeply understand what is going wrong.

Often, clients don’t actually know how to explain what’s wrong with their computers or programs. They don’t have the industry vocabulary or understanding to accurately describe the problem. Screen sharing makes it possible for your team to get the info they need from the primary source without having to guess based on the words chosen from a customer. Reverse screen sharing can also give your technicians the ability to show clients exactly what to do by sharing their own desktops and demonstrating the fix step-by-step.

Does your IT help desk need an upgrade? Contact us today to find out more about how to improve the performance and versatility of your IT help desk.