Facts Every Business Owner Must Know About Choosing I.T. Technical Support

If you are a business owner relying on supporting an internal technical support staff, contracting for local I.T. support or national remote technical centre, it is critical for you to read this information on selecting I.T. technical support.

Choices in choosing I.T. technical support include hiring internal staff with initial certifications to maintain and manage servers, workstations, desktops, laptops, printers, smartphones, operating systems software, antivirus, professional office software and special applications. Some organisations have contracted with a local firm to provide on demand on site break/fix support. A third choice is to engage with a national remote technical centre with certifications to support each device and software application remotely over the internet and correct any failures. Many national technical centres include pro-active monitoring as a value-add. Selecting a technical support provider depends on the following:

  • Experience and Training
  • Added Value
  • Cost

Experience and Training

The experience of the I.T. technical staff starts with certification

Certifications recognize the technician has completed course work to install and manage a specific device or software application. The challenge for these technical schools is to find instructors with the requisite training on the most current hardware and software technology. The current curriculum many times only certifies technology launched 2-3 years ago. The internal employee must be trained on current technology which is an added budget item. The typical local service provider has a difficult time in providing training unless the company is large enough to have training support from the hardware and software manufacturers or those large distributors that will support continuous training. National technical assistant centres have the numbers and synergy to maintain continuous education. The value of experience for remote technical service shows 90% of end user problems can be handled by an offsite technical assistant centre.

Added Value

Added value from the point of view of the end user includes:

  • Response rate after initial call

  • Firewall Management: Many a times, organizations carry out firewall management onsite and this is possible only with its I.T. security employees. But, if you hire an I.T. consultant for the purpose of firewall management, they assure you that internal sabotage efforts and advanced hacking strategies are opposed by the latest firewall strategies. Firewall management remotely brings enhanced security which in turn helps to execute your business functions efficiently.

End users supported by internal technicians typically have to schedule a time to review and correct the failure. Many times, the device would be picked up for repair work, rendering the end user unable to electronically communicate.

End users could also have a long interval of “down” time as the local support firm builds a support ticket, dispatches and is able to assess and correct the problem.

A national firm providing remote technical access is available on the first call from end users based on a higher number of technicians available.

  • Number of available technical agents

The organisation needs to understand the risks of employing internal support to support end users. How is the coverage determined? How many technicians per 10, 20, 40 or 80 users? Local I.T. service providers continue to struggle with turn over. Companies keep the same hardware and software for at least 24 months. Technicians will work for an organisation from 6 to 18 months because the work doesn’t provide new challenges. The Association of Support Professionals writes in its’ Executive Summary of their survey “Tech Support Turnover Rates” the following:

“Support departments have always had a reputation for high employee turnover, but there is little data about what constitutes a “normal” churn rate. This report draws on survey responses from 131 support organizations to identify real-world benchmarks for employee losses, and offers evidence that much of the turnover in tech support represents promotions and transfers rather than departures from the company itself.

The report also provides a collection of insightful comments by support managers on how to minimize the loss of valuable support employees.

Turnover benchmarks are provided by organization size (1-9 employees, 10-29 employees, 30+ employees) for first-level support reps, senior support reps, and supervisors, analysts, and managers.”

The national remote technical centre overcomes a high turnover by having a large number of seats. End users are looking for near immediate support when remote access is offered.

  • Hours of support

The national remote access service offers a fully staffed 24×7 operation included in the basic rate plan. Under the typical internal employee support, technical assistance maybe just designated for within the normal business hours. The local independent service provider will usually have basic business hours support and possibly after hour support at an increased hourly rate.

  • Available on-site support

There are occasions when on-site support is required to replace a defective component or peripheral. The inside technician can accomplish this easily within the confines of ordering and receiving the component and scheduling the work. The local service provider would need to make two trips. The first trip would identify the failure and the second trip would schedule the replacement after ordering and receiving the part. The remote technical assistance centre would identify the defect and schedule an on-site visit in parallel with delivery of the replacement part to the local technician. It is common for the national remote technical centre to work with a highly organized network of about 14,000 certified technicians. Many remote access service providers include 24 hour monitoring (with and without anti-virus and spyware) with the basic subscription charge.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

97 − = 87