How to Provide Outstanding IT Support for SMEs

Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Businesses are made up of individual people. When there’s a problem with the tech, a person is going to send an email or make a phone call to get it fixed. It sounds obvious but it’s the essential key to remember when providing outstanding IT support. Providing tech support is often focused on the work ‘behind the scenes’, but it’s the interpersonal relations that take the support from sufficient to excellent.

 

Sometimes client support can be looked upon as an interruption, and that’s a real shame. IT client support should be viewed as one of the most important facets of the business relationship. Fielding calls and inquiries can yield unexpected benefits. It can help catch small problems before they become big issues. Providers can spot potential cyber security issues. And prompt, helpful support gives your team a great reputation, which is excellent for customer retention, and word of mouth marketing for potential new clients.

 

Outstanding IT support can also be measured by how easily your clients can access answers to their questions without needing to make a call or place an email enquiry. Establishing accessible and useful information about frequently asked questions can help reduce time spent on solving issues. If you want to improve your customer service and IT support interactions with clients, this article should give you an idea of where to begin.

 

Mutual understanding

 

The primary way to create an excellent IT support relationship is to communicate expectations clearly. Both the IT support team and the client must understand the scope of services offered and expected. This can include which communication channels are used, expected response times, charges involved if applicable, and the languages support is available in. This helps to avoid frustration and misunderstandings. When both parties are clear about how the relationship works, it can be used to everyone’s advantage.

 

Encourage self-sufficiency

 

Where possible, provide your client opportunities to solve problems on their own. This can save them time by getting them back in action quickly and avoids a support call or email chain. Create a solid FAQ (draw on two sources for these: your most commonly asked questions and what you wish you could tell your clients). Make sure your user interfaces are as friendly as possible. Automate data enquiries like password reset or license key access. Streamlining and automating common requests will save both time for both parties.

 

Create a document library

 

This idea is in line with the drive to create self-sufficiency with your clients. When you create a guidance document for a package or program, or you write up helpful information that isn’t security-sensitive, upload it to a publicly accessible source. When you next answer a query, include a link to the supporting documents or information. Once clients are aware that a collection of documents exists they may seek the answers there next time before contacting you.

 

Look for the best in people

 

It can be frustrating to deal with customer support queries. It might feel like clients purposefully call you when you are at your busiest or arrange to have three people call with the same question in a morning. Excellent customer service stems from understanding that enquiries, challenges, misunderstandings and mistakes are very rarely a personal attack or commentary on you or your work. No matter how frustrated you are, give your very kindest and most attentive responses to every single client. It may be the only interaction they ever have with your brand.

 

Make communication easy

 

Make sure your support email address and phone number are clearly available on your website and list the hours that they are attended. If you have developed software, you can insert a native contact form, that will automatically generate a small report for you that includes contextual data like OS, license information and the version of the software they’re using. Extra insight can be gained without any additional time spent on questioning.

 

Clarify unclear messages

 

Clients email IT support for help because they don’t understand what the problem is – only that the tech isn’t working the way they expect it to. This can lead to support emails that are unclear or not specific about the situation at hand. It’s best to email them back and restate the problem and ask if that is what’s going on. You can seek further information by asking for screenshots or if there’s any text coming up in dialogue boxes, for example.

 

Communicate clearly

 

Once you have clarified the exact challenge the client is facing spend time formulating a clear and useful response. Include numbered, step by step instructions on how to resolve the stated issue. Keep your paragraphs short and use common-use terms instead of technical jargon. You may be able to create a series of screenshot images to visually walk a client through a situation. You might also be able to put together a couple of guides that can be sent as a response to common enquiries.

 

Response times

 

It’s very important to offer reliable response times to client questions. If a support query is raised it must be addressed promptly, because delays can cost your client money. You may like to offer responses during business hours only, or you may be able to offer round-the-clock, near- immediate responses times.

 

Allocate a business manager

 

If possible, try to allocate engineers or case managers to individual businesses. Particularly if they are smaller clients. This will help ensure continuity of service, reduce frustration from explaining the same issue repeatedly, and will build the support team’s in-depth familiarity with both personalities and software/hardware set ups.

 

About Mustard IT, your IT support partner

Mustard IT provide the design, build, and installation of secure IT servers and networks, provide round-the-clock IT support for small and medium businesses. Our trusted team are experienced and able to explain complex issues to you in a language you’ll understand. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.