Providing Effective IT Support

By | March 16, 2012

IT support can be a confusing and troublesome business to establish. Having worked in the support sector over the last 10 years, here is some useful advice for service providers in providing a professional and effective service.

The first aspect to look at is presentation. Support is still considered to be a growing business considering the penetration and prevalence of IT systems in the everyday workplace. Any business looking for professional support will first and foremost be looking for applicants who present an image of professionalism in addition to a proven skill in their trade. Most service providers will have a website and this is usually the first thing a potential contractor will see. Bad examples of websites include a lack of testimonials and examples of previous and current contracts. In addition to this, good website design is evidence of professionalism in the IT sector. If your team are not the most adept of designers, it may be a good idea to invest in one. When approaching on-site support, your team must be dressed in an easily identifiable yet smart attire, and be pleasant to the contractors despite any potential frustration created when solving IT issues.

Next, let’s look at your support software. I have experienced many cost-cutting support businesses using free or trial-edition remote access software. Unfortunately this is troublesome and often unhelpful to the service providers and recipients with regard to the potential services provided, waiting time and technical faults. A support package is a necessary expense when considering the potential damage to reputation that can be caused by using free and less effective software. Logmein is pretty much the industry standard for lightweight remote support and their business subscription packages aren’t as extortionate as you’d expect.

The credentials and experience of your staff is essential in providing quick and efficient services. When hiring staff, look for ones with extensive operational background in all of your supported operating systems and software. Most software manufacturers will offer support staff certifications and credentials. These certifications prove useful, and as your business grows, your staff can benefit from them. The more certified staff that you have, the more you can boast of your expertise on your website.

Governance, logging and responsibility are essential to improving the quality of your service. Word of long and ineffective support calls spread like wildfire and can damage the reputation of your business. When looking into the quality of support provided, the length of the support calls and the time until the problem is resolved should always be accounted for to assist staff that need more guidance and training. Long calls are bound to happen considering the nature of the business but logging the problem and the solution can be incredibly useful to support agents who encounter similar problems.

For your agents, effective call equipment and software can be essential to providing effective service. In addition to this, having a wealth of information regarding the common causes and solutions at the fingertips of your agents can prove helpful. Give your agents all the tools and knowledge so it is available during a call, this will help to ensure that a problem is never “unfixable”. Manuals, interactive guides and previous issues can all contribute towards this.

All in all, the quality of your service provided is dependent on time management and accountability. In a sector dependent on contracts, your track record and credentials are everything. Don’t let your standards slip to cut costs.

About the Guest Post Author
Kelly Smith has carried out IT support in London for the last 10 years and has learnt a lot about the industry in this time. With the constant change it is an exciting industry to be a part of and she currently works for Barton Technology.