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Helpdesk

The New York Times came out with an article recently called “Why Tech Support Is (Purposely) Unbearable.”It describes a disturbing trend where some companies aim just to be good enough so you will not move on. You probably have noticed this already, especially if you’ve had the misfortune of calling your cable company recently. First, there is the hold music, interrupted by the occasional message with helpful hints you’ve already tried. Next, comes the first tier support person who often reads from a script some of the same suggestions you heard earlier, and reserves the privilege to pass you on to the next person who ran into something similar and may be better suited to help. Finally, when half of your day is gone, whether you’ve got your solution or not, partaking in a ‘brief survey’ would be most appreciated, with their ‘thanks.’

We are not that kind of outfit. To start, our phone system will not pick up the call and put you immediately on hold. We answer 96.3% of the calls by the third ring. The rest who leave a message most often get a call back in under 10 minutes. Moreover, we have no use for scripts because our company only hires one lever support staff: the expert. That person must have a 97% first call close ratio, and can help you with an email attachment or troubleshoot your network throughput if necessary.  Finally, when the problem is solved, the call is logged and most importantly (for our founder) the engineer who handles your issue will be skilled enough to assess if the problem you called about is an indication of a bigger issue that must also be addressed.

For most prospects, the points above are all they need to hear, sadly because expectations have gotten so low.  What happens when the goal is to be exemplary? Let’s go beyond the metrics that everyone asks about and discuss the one that matters. Although we are quick to answer the phone and solve problems efficiently, the bulk of our support request are not emergencies and per our protocol are submitted via email. Four out of five in fact. Most service level agreements mention responding to a call of urgency within a four-hour window.  Compare that to our philosophy that any issue regardless of urgency level should be resolved in under one hour. Our response time for email requests has become so efficient; we find ourselves reminding our customer to use our phone lines for emergency requests. If you are like our founder you will flag this as ‘a good problem to have’.