All communities have seen an increase in the amount of tech support needed for individuals and small businesses. Switching to more online and remote support has offered many benefits which are described on this page.
While on-site visits are still needed for some tasks, it’s sometimes not practical to work on repairs or other issues that may take several hours or several days to resolve.
Meeting Increased Support Needs
It’s common to have numerous support requests in a single day. Offering support by phone, email, web articles, and screen sharing saves time driving allowing more people to receive assistance.
Service requests come in from people all over town and from nearby communities. It just isn’t possible to drive to every individual.
With people increasingly working and relaxing from home, there has been an increase in the demand for individualized tech services.
Keeping Support Costs Down
Reducing the time and cost of travel for service delivery results in more consulting income with reduced expenses. This makes it possible to help more people who are living on limited means. In our present volatile economy and job market, millions of people are experiencing economic hardship. All of us benefit when everyone has access to digital literacy and tech services.
Free Personalized Tech Articles
One way to provide lower cost or free support to many people is to offer personalized tech support articles that address specific questions people have. Writing these articles takes time, but can deliver all of the information for a purchase decision or instructions required to setup equipment or fix a problem.
If a dozen people call requesting the same information, a single article can save everyone time and money — allowing the tech support person to focus on other tasks and needs that can’t be resolved in a support article.
Solutions Take Longer
In the past it was possible to accomplish basic tech services and tasks in a very short period of time. Setting up a modem for Internet service or resolving printer issues could be done in a 20-30 minute on-site visit.
Now, it may take several hours, or possibly several days to get problems resolved. Waiting for responses from customer service, getting replacement parts, and other previously simple tasks are now very time consuming.
So, it’s become more practical to have equipment dropped off for repair.
Many factors are causing significant increases in the time it takes to fix tech problems:
- Poorly made products due to bad design, cheap components, and lowered standards for manufacturing.
- Inadequate product testing results in consumers being the product testers. Problems and solutions must be discovered and fixed by the consumers, or the support people they pay to help them.
- Companies are pushing “user community” online support forums where customers must fend for themselves and help one another because the company doesn’t offer a way to contact customer service. Companies that do offer customer service are usually outsourcing to overseas call centers. People working in these call centers are friendly, skilled, competent, and professional, but sometimes don’t have access to the resources they need to provide assistance, or aren’t given the authority to take the actions needed.
- Repairs are taking longer due to supply chain delays.
- Labor shortages are resulting in longer hold times and delays for getting anything done (returns, repairs, support, etc.)
Because solutions take longer, it’s not always possible to have tasks completed in a single brief visit. It is more efficient to wok on repairs and necessary research in the shop.
Work Load Has Increased
Because tasks previously requiring 30 minutes may now take several hours or many days to complete, the over-all workload in a given week has increased.
It’s sometimes necessary to have multiple tasks progressing at once, such as updating computers, transferring files, and recovering data. While those things are happening, a tech person might watch a video on a specific repair process.
Staying Adaptable and Agile in a Stressed World
Increasingly people seem to be under greater stress, are less organized, and are more forgetful. This translates into appointments frequently being forgotten, cancelled, or rescheduled. When this happens with remote sessions, it’s less disruptive because work can continue. There is always something to do.
However, if a day of driving around town is planned, going from one person’s home to another, and someone needs to change plans, it can result in being on the far side of town with a one-hour gap before the next appointment which is also on the far side of town. So, it reduces productivity during the day.
Providing support through email, phone, and remote sessions when possible is much more efficient.
The term ‘curbside drop-off’ has been associated with the global COVID pandemic, but curbside services have been a common business practice for many years and are seen as a convenience similar to drive-through for those not wanting to take time for parking, going into stores, and waiting in line.
Availability for Drop-off, Pickup, and Delivery
Those providing tech services may have people dropping off and picking up equipment throughout the week. Deliveries of parts, computers, and devices may come at any time, and may require a signature. So, being present to run a home office is necessary. This makes it harder to offer on-site services.
Better for the Planet and People
Less necessary driving around can help the planet and people by reducing air pollution. Limiting on-site services can open up the option for smaller service areas and greater use of bicycles or electric scooters.
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