How to Organize IT Support for Customers
History and definition of IT support
Information technology is an industry responsible for collecting, storing and transmitting information using technical devices and mainly, for people to communicate at a distance. The real information technology boom occurred in the 1990s due to the proliferation of personal computers, the Internet and cell phones. Information technology or IT is the most rapidly developing sector of the global economy.
IT support is a range of services that help the user to troubleshoot problems with computer hardware, software, or other electronic or mechanical devices. IT support services help users to solve product-related problems. A lot of companies and manufacturers do not provide their users with information that can solve many issues that show up when working with hardware.
IT support varies on the complexity of problems. Because some issues cannot be solved with low-level technical support but can be corrected by a high-level service. For example, only direct questions can be resolved via fax or SMS. More complex software problems are handled through the phone.
Nowadays, any industry cannot progress without information technology specialists: the collection and analysis of statistics, the information transfer leads to real changes in almost every industry: call center services, dispatching, translation, business process outsourcing (BPO), remote bookkeepers and personal assistants, etc. Automation in production, electronic document management, distant education is vivid examples of the widespread introduction of information and communication technologies.
In the USA, Great Britain and Germany, the division of IT specialists exceeds 3.5% of the total working-age population. The IT area is attractive because of its internationalism: a lot of companies have offices in different countries and recruit the most qualified performers all around the world.
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Another feature of this industry is dynamism. Changes in the field of computer technology occur every 6 months. The new types of information transfer are invented, unique systems and services are being commissioned. That’s why an IT-specialist is forced to always keep abreast and be aware of any changes in the industry.
The role of customer and IT support and its concepts
The whole world is already talking about replacing part of low-paid basic skills employees by artificial intelligence. But the technical support business is unlikely able to save much in the nearby future. Tech support is considered to be a lower career step in IT although its organization’s importance grows. And actually, it’s really time to treat support with particular respect because of the customer service role. A little more and it will become a key department even in those companies that do not build their business exclusively around the service.
The customer service level is used as a retaining old and attracting new customers. Every year customers’ requests are growing. Business owners are more persistently seeking their attention. Attracting a new client is becoming more expensive under these conditions.
The task of retention is versatile. One of the most important aspects is a civilized dialogue with the client, especially if he initiated it. So there is no surprise customer support begins to play a special role as the “first line of defense” in interaction with disgruntled users.
IT support staff must combine the right set of technical knowledge with the skills of interacting with people and similar “universal” skills (a new term for soft skills has recently emerged for the group of these skills). This combination is not as common as we would like. Therefore, the demand for IT support representatives is serious due to background constant IT solutions development, technology complexity and its rapidly entering into ordinary people’s lives.
Organization methodology of IT support services
IT support services can be built in a variety of ways in each enterprise. There are several models of support services, for example: centralized, local, virtual – with a single call center, etc. The technical support service can be organized both in order to serve external clients (computer services, outsourcing, etc.) and internal division of the IT department.
In the description of ITIL (IT Information Library), the Service Desk is the only functional division. This exception is made because of the huge importance of the IT support unit in the implementation of modern IT approaches and techniques.
The properly debugged IT support always starts with the registration of all calls from end-users and serves as the only point for a user to communicate with the IT service. The most popular solutions of technical support are often built on the basis of the call center. It is the start point of contact between end-users and technical support services. It also proceeds as a source of information on actual customer satisfaction level.
Please, take note: you should not confuse a call center operator (dispatcher) with the level 1 support specialist. The task of the first one is a simple registration of any requests. The L1 specialist gives the answer to simple questions of users.
IT Support with Front Desk Helpers
Sophisticated technical tools have already come to our everyday life and into ordinary businesses as well. IT support is tightly associated with the service of the manufacturer of software and equipment or the project executors. The top concept of IT support is to help users properly configure and exploit a complex product and resolve any issues with it as quickly as possible.
The quality of IT support affects repeat sales and also the emergence of new customers. If your customers say that all their questions are solved immediately – this is an obvious advantage of your business. After all, potential clients need all things run with minimum failures and do not affect the financial part. Thus, IT support is also a tool to increase the loyalty of existing and future customers.
To ensure the best customer service, tech support is mostly divided into several stages or levels. So let’s see the Front Desk Helpers IT support identification levels:
The first line or L1. It receives calls and requests through all communication channels, classifies and redirects them to appropriate specialists. L1 tech support also solves simple issues. From a technical point of view, this level requires a minimum qualification specialist, but in fact, he is the company’s face.
The second line, L2. This is a group or several groups of line specialists who deal with the biggest portion of all issues.
The third line, L3. The L3 representative is considered to be a highly qualified specialist. His competence is about complex problems and mostly doesn’t require immediate intervention.
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Statistics of IT support services
We would like to suggest you look through some very curious numbers and facts shared by SDI – Service Desk Institute.
- The most important skills for service desk managers include leadership, communication, and role-specific processes, procedures, and metrics
- 70% of service desk employees stay in their roles for more than two years, but when they leave voluntarily, more than half leave for roles at another company
- When IT help desk employees are satisfied with their jobs, customer satisfaction increases and turnover and absenteeism decrease
- ITIL is the most popular certification earned by service desk employees
- Companies that use analytics to track support team metrics reduce their resolution times by an average of 16%
- The most popular means of measuring service desk customer satisfaction are email surveys (97%) and call monitoring (33%)
- Real-time support channels like chat and voice earn the highest customer satisfaction ratings
- The average first-level resolution rate is 74.3%
- Companies that use remote support and knowledge management tools have higher average first-contact and first-level resolution rates than those that don’t
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