This is a guest post by Andrew Peters, founder of the Apple-certified technology support company Wondermint, Inc.
As technology support professionals, we’re often expected to be on the front lines of the latest innovations in running a business. It can be challenging to keep your internal operations humming along while also taking care of clients. How do you know which services are worth your time? Well, one way is to read blog posts from experts like me! I’ll cover four recommendations that are sure to have a profound and lasting impact on your business.
In the technology support industry, effective communication is the game. If you can’t have constructive conversations with your clients about the day-to-day challenges they face, you’re never going to achieve lasting success. Having an easy way for clients to get in touch with you is vital.
Keeping track of those conversations is the single best thing you can do to ensure that you have documentation about the issues your clients are experiencing and the solutions you implemented. Do your future self a favor and check out services like Zendesk, Freshdesk, or Help Scout that will give you the ability to log and organize the conversations you’re having however you’d like. Do you need to see all the conversations that are relevant to a specific domain? Set up some custom views with Zendesk and feel your cortisol levels drop.
Once you’ve established how to manage all of the interactions you deal with, the next skill you need is simple: be able to predict the future. The great news is that as technology support providers, we have the capability to know when a hard drive is starting to fail, a backup is out of date, or when malware is detected on a machine. Instead of using crystal balls or tea leaves — or worse, finding out after your client — you can leverage Watchman Monitoring to keep tabs on all of the computers you help manage. It’s absolutely indispensable.
Yes, email is great, but you’re likely to encounter at least one interaction every day that will be best solved with a quick phone call. You also have to worry about making sure you’re available to pick up. Missing a panicked call from a client can tank the relationship in a hurry. A great phone presence is essential to building quality relationships with your clients.
At Wondermint, we leverage Smith.ai’s virtual receptionists to ensure that someone is always available to pick up the phone and assure our clients that we’re at the ready whenever they need us. Our clients love the fact that they can call in and talk to a human whenever they have an issue, and Smith.ai makes sure that nothing falls through the cracks, even if we’re on-site with another client or engaging in highly focused work where an interruption would be inconvenient. They even integrate with our scheduling tool of choice, Acuity!
Are you manually sending invoices via email? If so, spend a day to set up a more robust billing system that allows you to process credit cards. Depending on the size of your business, investing in a service like Freshbooks, Quickbooks Online or Xero will give you the ability to quote and invoice your clients.
If that’s exciting to you, I’ll do you one better and let you know that all of the services I’ve listed also mean your business can accept credit cards without the hassle of traditional merchant services. If the idea of a transaction fee is a turn off, get over it. Really. I promise you that the value you get from your clients’ ability to click “Pay Now” on their invoice and have the money show up in your bank account is much greater than the transaction fee.