Today as technology providers grapple with a weak economy, anything less than an all-out effort to increase sales — either by attracting new customers or earning additional business from existing clients — is short-sighted. IT Solution Providers need to refocus on becoming sales-driven organizations. You can start by resetting your in-house priorities. Delegate non-demand generating activities to external support specialists by using a virtual help desk. If you don’t offer this service, this is a good time to do so as long as any added cost is tied to added revenue.
We see Help Desk Services growing for two reasons. First, more businesses have cut back on support personnel and any desktop/laptop issues will more severely compromise the company’s ability to perform because employees have no one to go to. Secondly, now more than ever, businesses have many remote employees and branch offices linked by technology. Technology glitches cause downtime that could be costly. According to the companies that we work with, a user support contract may be more welcome now more than ever. In particular, clients providing professional services are willing to listen if the cost is right. A fixed fee, 24x7 remote support agreement is resonating especially if the client need not make a long-term commitment.
Your Skilled Professionals Have Something Better to DoDoubtlessly you have highly knowledgeable and well trained technicians on your staff. At the same time, you also understand the importance of exceptional customer service to keep your clients happy. When a customer whose network you set up calls to tell you his email isn’t working, you feel compelled to help him find and correct the problem. Could be a multitude of reasons but you need to respond.
A satisfied customer? No doubt. But the profit from that network you installed just went down a bit. Worse yet, you or a well-paid technician were possibly distracted from working on a high-margin project, or from collaborating with one of your account executives in putting together a proposal to long-sought, major prospect. And even when your customers pay something for ongoing support, how much are they actually costing you?
No one is suggesting you turn a blind eye to the ongoing support needs of existing customers. Instead, the idea is to make sure the people who take care of the everyday trials and tribulations of the typical computer user are ideally suited to that responsibility. Of course, you wouldn’t turn your customers’ care over to just anybody, nor should you.
What Should You Expect of a Virtual Service Desk?Other key resources will also be necessary to keep your clients networks up and running. When selecting a team to support your customers virtually, be sure to evaluate that help desk solution by looking at three P’s:
People – What is their level of training? Are Level One and Level Two technicians available? Are they familiar with a wide variety of standard applications such, including Exchange and SQL? Can they support handheld devices? And are there enough people available so that you customer’s call will be answered in a timely manner? How do they support remote users?
Proactive Engagement – In addition to responsiveness to phone calls or emails, is the support offered to customers bolstered by ongoing monitoring of their systems? Can they proactively resolve issues before your customer even knows there was a problem? Can the technicians troubleshoot problems on the network and the servers in addition to the desktops or are they limited to desktops only?
Presentation – How may the virtual help desk be presented to your customers. Is it affordable? Must they sign long-term contracts? Will you be able to offer it transparently under your own brand and using your own company information, including phone number?
The most important thing is that your customers have proper expectations set and they are completely happy with the support provided by the virtual help desk staff.
Where Zenith Infotech Fits InYou can provide technical support for your customers — easily and profitably — with Zenith Infotech’s Virtual Service Desk. No long term contracts. Pay as you go, on a month to month basis. Level One and Level Two technicians available to support your customer under your own brand. Costs are based on fixed fees per desktop for unlimited calls. Zenith technicians do the work while you expand your services and realize additional recurring monthly revenues. Let Zenith Infotech’s U.S.-based team handle the calls as your skilled technicians focus on completing project-based work and securing new business opportunities.
Note: Maurice Saluan is VP-Channel Management for Zenith Infotech as well as seasoned sales veteran in the managed service arena. Guest blog entries such as this one are contributed on a monthly basis as part of MSPmentor.net’s 2009 Platinum sponsorship. Find all of Saluan's blog entries here.