While the devices and technologies retailer IT teams deploy to their workforce increases flexibility and productivity, they also greatly increase employee expectations. Executives, inventory managers, delivery personnel and the like, all expect their digital tools to be always on and working properly. Whether it's devices utilized in a store, warehouse or office, it can be challenging to expand the scope of your tech support services to be both proactive and responsive to all of your end user needs.
Identify User Types & Needs
- Define your different user types - like store manager, pricing analyst or customer service - and the jobs they perform; do some of your users have need for very fast problem resolution or other special requirements?
- What common issues can be solved by internal staff and do you have clear processes to determine when outside support services are needed?
- When did you last conduct a cost/benefit analysis of internal and external support resources?
Weigh the Pros & Cons
Time & Money: Downtime can impact customer dissatisfaction, sales quotas, profitability, employee morale and more.
Internal Support: An onsite team can provide instant support to resolve issues, reduce downtime and get employees back to work faster. However, if unique problems occur (or if issues arise during non-office hours) downtime can be significantly longer.
External Support: While an external support team (outsourced or direct) can often provide more in-depth experience with varied issues, there are still downfalls:
- Outsourced IT agency support takes on a breadth of HW and SW issues, tends to be more expensive, and may still defer to vendors and manufacturers to really solve problems.
- Direct support from manufacturers often focuses only on their own products and will send your IT support staff through loops of scripted support before getting to the real issue.
Develop a Blended Support Strategy
Relying entirely on internal support teams, outsourced IT agencies or direct support from manufacturers all have their limitations. In most cases a blend of these resources is the optimal way to deliver great service while controlling costs. Outsourced IT agencies can be a valuable resource for your business, but we recommend minimizing use of such agencies for low-level and simple support needs.
Instead, look to augment your internal team by asking manufacturers if they offer prioritized support services. Typically low cost, these can free up your internal staff from administrative and low-level technical support tasks, and improve employee satisfaction, without going to outsourced IT agencies.
Questions to ask your IT equipment suppliers:
- Ask to have only advanced technicians serving your account; those who can provide professional, unscripted diagnosis without needing to go through basic FAQs or telephone queues.
- Do they offer onsite diagnosis and repair services?
- Could they support your most commonly used software; answering employees' basic how-to questions or assisting with hot fixes and patches?
- Demand a single point of contact for simplified end-to-end case management.