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Five tips on enabling ongoing and dependable IT support for your employees and clients

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(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/everything possible)

The ongoing pandemic has forced many a business to reimagine their processes and reorganize their workforce for remote work. Needless to say, the changes have impacted business employees and clients alike.

Mentioned ahead are a few tips on how organizations can set up remote IT support systems for their staff and customers so that both get the help they need without any hold-ups.

1. Contact IT support experts sooner than later

While your physical place of business may be organized for delivering prompt customer support, the story changes when your operations go remote. Providing timely IT support to your employees and clients can feel like an endless struggle. However, you will want to bridge the gap without wasting time and get as close as possible to your usual operational efficiency.

It is always advisable to seek help from IT experts when embracing remote work. Only experienced professionals from a reputed IT support company will be able to help you set up and/or take your entire IT infrastructure remote while ensuring data privacy and secure access.

Typically, this process requires that the data that resides within your business servers be redirected through home networks. Your IT provider can ensure that all the networks and systems involved are secure and free from risks.

Your IT company can also help by setting up a robust VoIP system so you can provide reliable and continual support to your customers. In other words, IT experts play a crucial role in the seamless transition of your data, processes, and people to a remote environment.

2. Harness the right virtual tools

As business needs evolve, so do technological solutions. You can take advantage of the several online tools available to make remote work easier. Of course, you cannot settle for the first tool you come across. Take some time to shortlist them and test them to gauge their suitability for fulfilling your specific business needs.

You may also want to consult professionals from an IT company to decide on what kind of tools you should be using. Another factor to consider here is customer preference. Do they prefer certain platforms over others? If yes, you will have to focus on them.

Some of the widely-used project management tools are Asana, Basecamp, and Trello. All of these can be accessed by you, your business teams, and your clients. These platforms enable optimal collaboration by allowing users to maintain discussion boards, create tasks, track progress, manage to-do lists, and more in real-time.

Similarly, cloud-based storage systems, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, can be harnessed to store project-related files and documents. Virtual meeting tools such as Zoom and Google Meet can help you conduct video meetings to connect with your clients and staff remotely.

Picking the right virtual tools is important because they help you proactively reach out to your employees and clients. You can, therefore, avoid potential hindrances and continue to develop fruitful relationships with them.

3. Prioritize timely communication

When your business operations go remote, the need for communication with your staff and employees increases tremendously. Keeping in touch with your employees and client base is crucial during this time, but you need to be strategic about the meetings you conduct with them.

Holding too many meetings can be counterproductive as you will be eating into the valuable time that could have been spent addressing customer queries. At the same time, it is a good idea to avoid bombarding your staff with too much information at one go.

To enable seamless and effective communication with your staff and clients, you can do the following:

  • Conduct meetings only when necessary. When you do hold them, keep them to-the-point and brief.
  • Limit one-on-one meetings to no more than 15 minutes. Conduct them once a week.
  • Team meetings can be held once every fortnight rather than every week.
  • Conducting meetings for reflecting back on the week/fortnight makes little sense when you can simply send a summary of your wins and losses in an email.

Facilitating instant and flawless communication will require you to use multiple channels. So, apart from emails, you can use tools such as Skype and Slack to talk to people and teams, as and when necessary.

4. Streamline workflows and customer support with automation

In case you aren’t already using automated tools for business workflow and customer support, now is the perfect time to start. Given the times we live in, providing IT timely support to clients is one area where businesses cannot afford to lag in. Your employees are sure to be busy with it and the demands from them will certainly be high.

Streamlining workflow and client response will require businesses to implement automation in both these areas. Project management tools such as Basecamp, Trello, and Asana can be helpful in facilitating better workflow, especially when your teams work from different locations.

As far as customer response is concerned, you may want to consider building a chatbot that is capable of answering simple user queries, while forwarding complex issues to your support teams. You can engage a proven IT company to help you create a chatbot, and leverage its advantages going forward.

5. Update your knowledge base

While you may already have a knowledge base in place, it is always a good idea to update it for the remote work culture. As you adopt new technologies, new demands will be made from your knowledge base. For instance, if you’ve primarily used phone calls to provide customer support thus far, but are now implementing chatbots, you will need to add links to blogs and demo videos in your knowledge base to explain this technology to your people.

You may want to consider creating visualizations as quickly as possible as they are bound to be more effective in getting information across faster compared to text.

In your effort to update your knowledge base, you will also have to feed more data into your existing chatbots to equip them to resolve basic queries without users having to create tickets.

Mike Della Pia is the President, LAN Masters