How getting the right IT provider can help you deal with your top 10 IT frustrations.
IT is an essential part of any business, however as a business owner the likelihood is that your specialism is in your business sector not IT. Getting your IT services right is essential to the productivity and security of your business.
Terry Rowsell from Frontier Solutions takes us through the top 10 IT frustrations experienced by business and how a good IT provider can combat them with expertise and a proactive approach.
1. Repeat problems. Problems that occur time and again or problems not fixed properly the first time can be a major frustration in the workplace.
Your IT provider needs to clearly define the problem. You need to take the time to fully explain the issue to your support provider as well as how the system worked in the first place.
Another way to avoid frustration in that particular situation is a cooperative approach to the problem. The help desk person needs to be able to understand that if it’s not a two-minute fix that is going to need a little bit more time, then this needs to be communicated to the end user; “Is it possible that we could have access to your system over the lunch hour or is there a period of the day when you are less busy” would go a long way. The support provider needs to be working in a way that will minimise disruption to your business.
2. Response time. A long response time from IT support on a technical problem can cause frustration and a lack of trust between the business and provider.
Your IT provider should provide you with a service level agreement to include things like a guarantee of a 1 hour response time, or if it’s deemed as an emergency, then a 15-minute response time. This should all be drawn up before the contract is agreed, to manage expectations. The provider should ensure to adhere to this agreement to maintain trust between the provider and client.
3. Limited onsite time. Businesses will often have IT support only available onsite for a limited time. Having full time onsite IT services can be costly and not practical for small and medium sized businesses. What do you do if you have an IT problem on Monday and onsite time isn’t until Wednesday?
This frustration would be highly typical in a break-fix scenario where the tech support is only available on a specific day or morning of the week when someone comes in to address the issues that have risen. This is becoming less and less common, because a lot of businesses are moving to managed services. Some companies have both solutions but they find employees will still wait until the onsite day and the tech support will be faced with a long list when they come into the office. The solution is to have a Managed IT service to cover the business every day and to educate employees about the service that is provided.
4 Remote Access. Accessing emails or files outside the office can cause a big frustration if the remote service is not working and can cause many lost hours of working time.
To solve this issue the employee needs to work with the service provider. The best way to reduce the stress caused by this issue is to plan ahead. If you know you’re going to be working from home or going to be out-of-town and need to work remotely, work with the IT provider or contact the relevant person within your firm to ensure that you have remote access functionality on your system, and that it’s tested in advance to ensure that it works. Of course, not all problems can be foreseen so you should work with a provider who can provide good out of hours support regarding remote access as well.
5. Spam. Lots of businesses find that their email inboxes are getting inundated with spam. This can be at best annoying and at worst cause a big cyber security issue.
The solution to this would be a two-tiered approach. Firstly there is the need to have a proper e-mail filtering system in place from a reputable provider to ensure that spam is minimized. However there is also an education component where the responsibility falls on the IT provider to explain the challenges of filtering e-mail and how hackers or cyber criminals are able to create very suspicious-looking e-mails that a lot of spam filtering systems will still deem legitimate. Caution is still the order of the day.
6. Slow running computers. Some days it just seems that your computer is running slow but you don’t know what the issue is.
This falls under proactive maintenance. Your IT service should be running regular checks on the systems. You should look for Managed Service providers that provide functions such as using a malware protection agent that runs on each system. It scans the systems after hours to ensure that if there’s malware, which is typically the biggest culprit for causing a computer to slow down, then it’s reported and we respond accordingly to clean up the system and ensure that it’s running efficiently. Your provider should be taking a proactive approach to issues by tracking all reported issues, looking for patterns and acting accordingly. They should also be up to date with all your systems and be keeping your organisation informed if anything is out of warranty, updates are needed or replacements are due.
7. Restoring deleted or updated files. This problem is extremely common; most people have deleted a file accidently or saved over a document by mistake but how can an offsite provider help you with this?
Your IT service should have a backup solution in place that takes regular interval snapshots of your system. A recommended solution is that backups are done every 15 minutes so you are always able to go back to that point in time and restore any accidentally deleted or overwritten files. That also comes into play if there’s been a buffers attack, if files have been encrypted due to ransomware, your IT provider is able to go back to that backup from as early as 15 minutes ago to restore files.
8. Repeating the problem. If you have a problem that is persisting or needs a longer time to resolve, you don’t want to have to repeat the problem again and again every time you call your IT provider.
This can be easily solved by ensuring your IT provider has a good ticketing system with well trained staff. Staff should be putting great detail into the resolution for each support request that they work with. This is so that if there is a follow-up problem placed by the company or the end user, any staff member at the IT helpdesk is able to go back and take a look at what the issue was and what was done to resolve it, negating the need for repetition.
9. Lack of support when IT specialists are away or sick. If you have a dedicated in house IT person or an outsourced provider gives you dedicated staff member to your account, when they are absent it can be very frustrating when something goes wrong.
Having outsourced IT support that provides a good sized team of individuals is key to solving this issue. If you have a team of individuals supporting you, you are never left in the position of crossing your fingers and hoping that something bad doesn’t happen because someone is always available.
10. Programs not working as expected. If Word or Excel keeps freezing or your accounting program takes forever to load this can be extremely frustrating for businesses.
You need to ensure that you have a support company that is well-versed and experienced in understanding how applications work together, and has the troubleshooting experience with similar issues. The company you choose needs to have knowledge of the applications you use in your business and are able to quickly isolate issues and solve them as quickly as possible. You need to avoid the “Let’s try this, let’s try that” type of mentality.
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