What makes some experiences better than others?

Russ Levanway, CEO, Tektegrity

Calling Tech Support isn’t something people do for fun. They call because they’re in a challenging situation. They’re probably a bit frustrated or irritated, and worried about the time they’re losing as they deal with the problem. That phone call can change the whole course of someone’s day.

There are plenty of stories out there, and some of them are doozies. Tales of horrendous “customer service” often go viral, amusing millions of people at the expense of one poor, tortured customer. Businesses of all sizes are affected when service reps fail to recognize the importance of every call and every customer.

You rely on your computer and network to keep your business running. What is your IT support team doing to make your day better?

Great technical support requires great people

Every IT problem involves many variables. What is the caller’s level of expertise? What equipment are they using? What are the unique needs of their business? What software, hardware and peripherals do they use? Are they in an office or in the field? Is their data on their own network or in the cloud? Who is providing their data connection? Being a support tech is a challenging job.

Jeff Yuhas, Service Manager at TekTegrity, says finding the right support techs is important. “Support technicians don’t just work with technology, they work with people. Clients need techs with empathy, understanding, and the ability to calm nerves while working toward solutions. Techs must quickly evaluate the experience level of the user, so they can communicate effectively using language each client understands.

Not every technical genius can become a great support tech. It’s a delicate balance between technical skills and people skills. We call them hard skills and soft skills. Soft skills are harder to teach. If the desire to provide an excellent experience isn’t in your DNA, it’s hard for us to implant it. But we can teach hard skills that help great support people become incredible technicians. ”

Yuhas, an industry insider who joined TekTegrity after nearly two decades with Microsoft, says successful IT firms have learned that intensive training prior to the first client contact is essential. Ideally, by the time support technicians answers their first calls, they have been through weeks of training. They learn best practices for common situations. Role playing with other tech team members helps bring comfort and confidence in tense situations.

Support techs should get intense training about their company, its support structure, its clients, their businesses, the hardware and applications the clients use, and all the tools and techniques the IT firm uses to solve problems. Professionally trained support techs only start answering calls when they are ready to provide solutions.

Next month, we’ll talk with Jeff Yuhas again. He’ll give some tips and hints about how customers can contribute to successful technical support experiences, and share some ideas about identifying service providers who bring added value to their clients.

Russ Levanway is the CEO of TekTegrity, an IT Managed Services Provider serving the Central Coast and Central Valley. The organization’s Total Systems Management™ (TSM) service model provides preventative IT support at fixed monthly fee levels. For more information, visit www.tektegrity.com.