A guide to outsourced IT helpdesk and technical support

Mark Engelmann
Mark Engelmann
    4 minute read

Offshoring Tech Support and Customer Service proved to be disastrous when it was first attempted by companies such as Telstra about 15 years ago. However, since such failures companies including Google and Spotify have been able to successfully implement stellar offshore tech support and customer service systems without compromising customer experience.

Tech support and help desk services are ideal business functions to consider offshoring. Tech Support involves solving the problems/issues customers encounter when using a product or service. Tech Support can be divided into Level 1, 2, and 3. Offshoring is appropriate for Level 1 and 2 support, while Level 3 support requires a level of expertise and knowledge that is best kept in-house. Offshore Tech Support has many benefits for businesses and is easy to implement, especially if the business already has technology and software such as a cloud-based ticketing system and Voice Over IP (VOIP) phone system.

How it works

  1. Cloud-based ticketing systems

    Ticketing Systems are software programs that assign tickets to individual customer issues. The ticketing system helps to categorise, prioritise, and assign enquiries based on the information collected from the initial inquiry. These systems also help companies to track:

    • the amount of time a ticket was open
    • which company representatives dealt with the issue
    • how satisfied the customer was with the resolution
    • what the issue was
    • how/whether the issue was solved.
  2. VOIP Phone System

    VOIP has been available for decades now. It utilises the internet to make and receive phone calls instead of the traditional phone lines or the mobile phone network. The benefits include:

    • Cheaper phone calls
    • No hardware requirements like phones - calls can be made via a users computer
    • Calls can be made from anywhere utilising local phone numbers
    • Because phone conversations are data they can be easily recorded and stored against relevant tickets in the ticketing system
    • A VOIP system is not confined to one location, it span multiple locations and countries.

    Although the benefits of a VOIP system are compelling, there are some serious considerations to keep in mind:

    • Not all VOIP providers are equal. Different VOIP providers offer varying levels of call quality and connectivity and this is generally based on the location of their servers. It is often good practice to understand where a provider’s servers are located as this will give some indication as to whether or not you can expect good quality. For example, Beepo’s VOIP system has servers in Singapore and Sydney (as well as elsewhere in the world); which ensures a great user experience when calls are made between The Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. Obviously, testing each provider based on where you expect your calls to originate from is highly recommended.

What tasks to Offshore:

  1. Level 1 Tech Support

    Level 1 tech support includes all of the basic enquiries customers may have. This level of support is based around gathering information from the customer to diagnose the problem they are facing. The tech support employee only needs a basic understanding of the product or service offered and the systems in place. Examples of Level 1 support issues include password resets and updating personal information. It is now common for businesses to install automated bots on their websites to deal with Level 1 support. If the bot cannot help a customer, it then automatically connects that customer to an IT support specialist trained to handle Level 2 support. Frequently Asked Question pages on websites also reduce the amount of enquiries made to live support staff.

  2. Level 2 Tech Support

    Level 2 tech support requires a higher level of understanding and expertise than Level 1. These problems usually take longer to solve and are more involved than Level 1 problems. Businesses generally require less Level 2 support staff than Level 1 staff as most technical issues are Level 1. More detailed and specific information is required at this point. Level 2 support is often more disruptive to the user and is therefore more time sensitive. As a result, Level 2 support will have a higher priority for resolution than Level 1. If the Level 2 IT specialist cannot solve the problem, they are responsible for escalating the issue to Level 3 and assigning the correct technician.

Benefits of outsourcing it and helpdesk support

  1. Increased Staff Satisfaction

    Offshoring can increase staff satisfaction by removing simple, repetitive, and time consuming tasks from your local IT specialist’s job requirements. Highly educated and experienced local IT support professionals would much rather spend their time working on complex issues and creating solutions to potential problems than spend their time solving repetitive, common issues. Further, the offshore IT support staff prefer more repetitive, process-driven tasks. This leads to higher job satisfaction, which in turn leads to higher staff retention throughout the business.

  2. 24/7 Coverage Without Having to Pay Overtime

    Having an IT Tech Support team based overseas will reduce labor costs as wages are lower and the quality of support is comparable. Reduced labor costs and an abundance of skilled workers means that businesses can employ more workers to cover a 24/7 roster without having to pay local employees for overtime hours and allowances for being on call. Reducing the amount of overtime will also lead to higher staff satisfaction because it will improve the work-life balance of all employees.

  3. Growth and Scaling

    Growing a business means growing your customer base. With more customers, there is a need for more customer support. By hiring an offshore support team, it will be possible to grow and scale your business without the need to increase local office space, increase capital investments, and source, train, and manage more local staff. Offshoring staff reduces the business risk involved with growing and frees up capital for other areas of the business.

  4. Providing Work Life Balance

    Offshoring Tech Support will improve the work life balance of your onshore IT support specialists because it will reduce the amount of call-outs they will receive. This is a result of having a 24/7 team of capable IT support specialists based overseas. These specialists are trained to deal with the majority of customer problems that would otherwise require a local support professional to handle.

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