Many small businesses can’t afford to keep a full-time IT small business support tech on staff. However, with more companies doing business online in addition to an increase of staff working from home (not too many companies making a permanent shift to remote work), it can be difficult to quickly and accurately address tech issues that come up.
Not having IT small business support isn’t just an internal issue for you and your staff; it can have an increasingly and exponentially negative effect on your customers. Whether your business provides physical items or services, if you have a tech issue that knocks out your website, you could lose customers by the minute. If spam or malware locks you out of your network, both your customers’ data and your reputation as a small business are put at risk.
Or maybe you made an investment in creating a specialized app for your services, but your customers have no one to call if they run into issues. These are just a few examples of the many problems that can happen when you don’t have a dedicated IT small business support person on staff.
However, many small business owners are learning that there is now an array of options for tech support; you aren’t stuck with the extremes of an expensive additional staff member vs. banging your head against your desk (literally or metaphorically!) when basic troubleshooting can’t solve your tech problems. Here are three ways that you can get affordable IT support for your small business.
Third Party Tech Support for Customer Service
Your first option is to work with a third-party company that specializes in tech support for the user experience. This can be very helpful if you have a high-volume of clients who interface with you digitally (such as through an app as in the example above.) This third-party partnership functions by working on your behalf to take care of the end-to-end user experience. This means they are given permission, access, and full control of the customer experience.
Both you and your customers get the benefit of working with tech experts with decades of experience, and your customers receive priority service, fast-tracked responses and clear results for any tech issues they may experience with your small business technology.
It’s a great option because it frees up a lot of resources and staff time on your end. The challenge is that this high-level of customer support only works with a specific type of small business.
IT Small Business Support: Help Desk Software
This is also a customer-first tech solution, but it differs from the option above in that this is cloud-hosted software-as-a-service (SaaS.) Rather than paying for a certain amount of third-party tech support, you pay to rent help-desk software along with support on a month-to-month subscription or with an (often discounted) annual rate.
There are benefits to using SaaS for tech support. The SaaS company will take responsibility for tech support, maintenance, and upgrades for their software, in addition to managing new releases and updates. They will back up your small business data and make it retrievable for you at any time. Their services are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, and it doesn’t require any special IT knowledge on your part to set up.
This is a great option for small businesses that are looking to switch to the cloud but are unsure about where to start. A SaaS company will take care of all the technical details, ensure that your small business data and network are both protected and regularly updated, and manage your tech needs behind the scenes.
SaaS services are also scalable and designed to be affordable for small businesses, so your needs will be covered as your business grows and you and your customers’ needs change with advancing technology.
If you are nervous about security within the IT small business support framework and turning over control of your data, there are SaaS companies that offer self-hosted help desk software. This option provides you access to licensed proprietary software that gives you full control of your data since you are hosting your own system. You simply purchase the license and install it yourself for a one-time set-up fee.
This system allows you to schedule maintenance and software updates, it integrates well with other IT solutions you may have, and your IT team can also modify the existing software to create custom solutions.
Did you catch that last part, though? You need to have an IT team or person in place to make use of this option. If your business is small enough that you don’t have an IT person on staff, then this isn’t the solution for you. But if you already have a person or small team and they feel overwhelmed by your existing tech needs, using a web-hosted software can be a smart option to use your IT team more effectively and ensure that their work makes a maximum impact on your small business.
Outsourced IT Support for both Businesses and Customers
If your small business needs have grown enough that you need to keep a dedicated tech staff onboard or your needs are simply overwhelming your current tech staff, and you want more sophisticated tech support for your customer base, then your best option is full-service outsourced IT support. This combines the best of the two options just mentioned, ensuring that experts manage your tech solutions while offering your customers a help line and additional resources.
This option shifts all internal IT services to an outsourced company that specializes in both internal tech support for your staff and business, and external support services that are available to your clients and customers.
You get the benefit of working with a company that specializes in taking care of all your tech needs, including web page and cybersecurity management, ensuring regular data backups and continuity, and running network upgrades and updates on all your systems behind the scenes. They’ll also stay on top of necessary security patches to ensure that cybersecurity can be “out of sight, out of mind” for you, giving you more time and freedom to focus on growing your small business knowing that experts are managing cybersecurity on your behalf.
From your customers’ perspective, they reap the benefits of your small business transactions being secure and having access to 24/7 support as needed, the same as your employees do. Fully outsourcing your IT frees up resources on your end, both in terms of staff time and financial investment. Outsourced IT is very affordable, frequently offered on a sliding scale based on the size of your business.
You get the benefit of multiple types of tech expertise, ensuring that there will always be a solution to any problems that come up, and those solutions will be delivered faster than you or your internal staff could deliver on your own. It also gives you access to industry best-practices, ensuring that your small business stays in compliance on the tech and data side, a level of security and knowledge that your clients will also appreciate.
If you are interested in getting customized, scalable solutions for your IT small business support tech needs, contact Tech Masters today to find out how we can address those needs. We offer a free IT assessment that evaluates nine crucial areas of your small business, then recommend the best value improvements based on your greatest needs. Schedule your free consultation today!
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