Why scheduling “once-a-week” IT on-site support isn’t a good strategy

Why scheduling “once-a-week” IT on-site support isn’t a good strategy

In the pre-internet or even early internet days, it was common for organizations to hire a computer or network support person to come into the office environment on a particular day of the week, pick up their list of to-dos that had accumulated over the past week, and diligently work through them to the best of their ability. Whatever they didn’t complete could wait until next week. Staff became accustomed to this cycle, either patiently waiting for the next week to arrive, or coming up with sketchy workarounds to solve their problems.

This became a habit for companies — an expectation that this was the best and only way to resolve tech support issues. It has persisted well into the era of high-speed internet and remote support technologies, with some companies even including this arrangement in their Requests for Proposal to Managed Service Providers! While there may be some comfort in seeing an IT person on-site on a regular basis; it’s actually not a good strategy for your business. Here’s why:

An on-site technician is not as effective as full support staff when it comes to resolving problems

Many would think that the best mode of tech support is one that's right in your place of business, but they’d be wrong. This is because an on-site technician often does not have the tools or appropriate specialists at their disposal to help resolve issues.

A full technical support team, on the other hand, is comprised of many IT experts with different specializations and levels of expertise. Top-notch MSPs usually implement the tiered support model where requests for support are assigned according to how much specialized effort is needed to be spent on them.

  • Tier 1 – Also known as the service desk, this primary line of support normally resolves 70% of issues submitted by IT users. This tier is comprised of generalists who are given time boxes (i.e., limited amounts of time) to resolve support tickets before they escalate these to Tier 2.
  • Tier 2 – Tickets brought to this tier are handled by technical or application management teams that have more skills, specialized knowledge, and time for resolving issues. This tier closes approximately 20% of all issues reported and escalates the remainder to Tier 3.
  • Tier 3 – This is often a development team or a vendor and handles the most complex of problems. This last line of support is called upon sparingly because the expertise and effort they put into resolving tickets make them more expensive.

Once-a-week visits make for poor response times

Let’s suppose that an IT technician is scheduled to visit your site every Thursday. This means that Friday’s issues will always take almost a week before they are resolved, and that these will be stockpiled with tickets from the other days leading to the technician’s visit. The expectation that the technician must resolve everything when they're there will be too high. More often than not, every concern will not be addressed, and so a backlog will accumulate.

Internal staff might grow impatient, try to solve things on their own, and make things worse

Of course, when backlogs occur, some staff members will try to solve problems on their own instead of waiting for the technician. While their initiative can be seen as admirable, their lack of expertise may lead them to make bad decisions (such as downloading “free” apps that load your network up with malware), opening your firm up to more risks.

In contrast, premier MSPs offer 24/7/365 support so that issues can be tackled as soon as you report them, thereby preventing problems from getting worse and requiring costly and time-wasting fixes. And the faster these are resolved, the sooner your staff can resume focusing on their tasks and be as productive as they can be for the business.

Once-a-week visits could leave your business more vulnerable to cyberattacks

Some of the worst cyberattacks in history occurred within hours of a vulnerability being discovered. If a technician is only applying patches or updates on a weekly basis, your system could be exposed for days. Similarly, if a user notices something unusual about the performance of their computer or network activity that seems out of place, but waits to report it until the technician comes in, bad actors could be enjoying unfettered access to critical data for days.

Your MSP partner systematically and automatically applies all patches and updates to computers remotely as soon as these patches and updates are available — even in the middle of the night — and monitors your networks for suspicious activity so that they can alert you immediately and work to thwart an attack in progress.

The flawed psychology of wanting weekly on-site support
There’s something about being able to see IT repairs being made in person rather than having a faceless person do the same thing remotely. Managers and business owners who lack exposure to IT feel uneasy paying for services they don’t see get rendered. If a problem is worked on remotely, and it isn’t resolved, they’ll think that the technicians doing the repairs need to be on-site to have a better grasp of the problem. And even when the problem is resolved remotely, their relief would be incomplete because the experience of witnessing the problem get solved is incomplete or entirely non-existent.

They figure that, since the results ought to be positive either way anyway, they’ll choose peace of mind and schedule once-a-week on-site support. However, as this article shows, it is more likely to make you lose far more peace of mind instead.

On the rare occasion when there are no outstanding issues, a technician’s visit can be a waste of everyone’s time

Just as much as you won’t call a plumber to your house if you don’t have any leaky faucets or busted pipes, you will not want an IT technician to come over if they have no issues to fix.

With on-demand support, you only call upon it when you have to. Top-tier MSPs, however, will go so far as to continuously monitor your systems and notify you that they’re handling issues even before you notice them. All in all, this means that your company always receives necessary care precisely when it’s needed.

We’re not saying that all on-site visits are a bad thing…

...since there are many cases where these are actually called for. In fact, XBASE will always dispatch a technician on-site if it's determined that's the best way to resolve an issue.

If you do decide to move away from once-a-week technical support visits and embrace on-demand, 24/7 support instead, then you’ll need to help your staff make behavioural changes. For instance, instead of saving up trouble tickets for the visiting technician to tackle one day, they must be encouraged to call or email the support line as soon as they encounter issues. This learned habit helps to mitigate risk and keeps staff as productive as possible every day of the week.

If your business experiences the issues associated with once-a-week technical support visits, then it’s time to look into breaking that habit. Talk to our consultants at XBASE Technologies Corporation to learn more about our Exponentially Better™ IT support services today.

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