Professional support is a must-have in the modern world since the majority of businesses have gone digital. We buy movie tickets and cosmetics, clothes, and even vegetables online. To offer an excellent user experience and bear the competition, organizations appeal to support teams.
However, support is not only a service for end-users. Somebody should be able to spin the gears of the invisible to the customer part, and this is the IT support.
What is IT support
The term refers to services that entities provide to users of digital products or services. A support team deals with specific issues and interactions with customers providing necessary help or training. Another branch of support relates to internal systems monitoring and maintaining infrastructure stability. It may be called IT or tech support.
Organizations can form in-house teams or outsource this work. The main aim of any support type is to improve customer experience. Support channels include telephone calls or SMS, online chatting, e-mailing, and forums. Responsibilities cover server monitoring, help-desk support, on-site visits, systems backup, video and online chats with customers, remote repair, and more.
There are five common tech support types:
- In-House Team
It’s an individual or department located inside your business and dealing with support. In-house teams are almost the default for product companies, but in this case, they combine support with service. The support staff is a part of your organization, and all infra maintenance is delegated to a third-party service.
- Managed Service
You get a detailed list of possible services defining response time, recovery time, communication channels, and type of monitoring. You receive services on an ongoing basis for a fixed price. Managed service is convenient for delegating infrastructure, website, or app support.
- Pre-Paid Hours
You buy support hours in advance — either per month or per year — and use them on demand. The main benefits of such support are flexibility and costs saving. Pre-paid hours are also used for IT support and allow you not to hire the system administrator to your in-house team.
This type of support means creating discussion boards for your customers to exchange opinions, experiences, and advice. Crowdsourcing provides companies with tech support and user feedback at the same time. It’s not a direct business tool and provides for the professionals in the state to service infrastructure or products.
Some tech companies offer access to their documentation for users to find specific solutions themselves. Self-support allows businesses not to spend money on customer support and to rely only on their staff. However, such an approach is not applicable for all people, so it’s better to consider a mix of self-support and professional team engagement.
Who and Why Needs It
Every business that uses the Internet or software requires IT support since it brings a variety of benefits like:
- Improved Customer Experience
Every client deserves qualitative service. Tech support teams interact with customers and make sure people get the service they expect or even better.
IT support is definitely a long-term investment, however, it guarantees you an increased ROI and a saved budget. You don’t face constant repairs or unexpected expenses if you have a team that watches your software and services quality.
- Improved Security
Keeping information safe is essential when it comes to any business. And IT support narrows down the range of security problems because only support teams will have access to critical data and software.
- Maximized Efficiency
Tech support teams can implement the latest technologies and cutting-edge solutions to maximize your company’s potential. And all business owners want to develop their companies fast, don’t they?
- Less Stress
Let professionals deal with software issues and forget about constant headaches. Delegating responsibility will help you focus on management, strategic planning, and other significant business tasks.
DevOps Practices to Run Support
Obviously, traditional tech support is worth implementing. But bringing DevOps principles into your IT support improves service quality dramatically. According to Atlassian, providing DevOps support leads to 45% better customer satisfaction. 43% more employee productivity, and 38% cost reduction.
DevOps mindset is about departments collaboration which helps to establish continuous communication and fast feedback. It perfectly overlaps with the traditional support ideas and allows to get maximum efficiency. But we declare in advance that DevOps is not a panacea, so you should apply its practices wisely and only if you’re sure they will bring the desired result.
So how do we fulfill the traditional support capabilities combined with DevOps principles? With the help of the following best practices:
Support teams need to experience a cultural shift while adopting the DevOps approach. Bring daily standups and sprint planning to your tech support department, study the team behavior and focus on results rather than activities. Cultural changes will prioritize cross-team communication and shared success.
Automation is king in DevOps — it allows teams to move and deliver results faster. Make sure your support team is prepared to support, operate and restore services. If the tech support department knows every detail of each deployment, they can give the right answers to customers.
Tracking metrics is crucial to understand whether teams move towards their goals. The support department should monitor the number of repeated issues, the costs per incident, service level targets, and total costs for support.
Sharing helps minimize the gap between developers and supporters. Discuss goals, metrics, plans, sprints, tools, and processes. Encourage teams to communicate so that everybody has a clear picture of the current situation — it will bring support to the brand new level.
Tools to Use
The proper tools can help support teams with remote connections management, incident logging, report building, and feedback management. The tech stack below is essential when it comes to traditional and DevOps support mix.
- Monitoring Systems
Monitoring software facilitates the process of infrastructure monitoring for support teams. They can watch devices, traffic, apps and get notifications in the event of malfunctions. Prometheus, DataDog, Nagios, OpsGenie, and NewRelic are the best monitoring solutions from our point of view.
- Desktop Virtualization
It’s a technology that separates the desktop environment and its app software from the physical client device. It helps identify and solve problems without a damaged PC. VMWare Player, VirtualBox, QEMU, and Parallels Desktop are good examples of VM software.
- Issue Tracking Systems
These systems represent a computer software package to manage issues. Management includes bug tracking and reporting, time accounting, and priority management. Companies having both development and support teams usually benefit from this type of software. Bugzilla, OTRS, osTicket, Jira, and Redmine are the most popular tools providing excellent security and a simple interface.
IT support allows organizations to deliver better products and services, stay competitive, and get more happy customers. And supporters embracing the DevOps approach make tech support more responsive, solid, and qualitative.
Nowadays, the majority of IT companies providing software development services have support packages. But at Corewide, we mainly focus on DevOps support and offer several subscription options for different demands. If you consider outsourcing support services or require initial consulting, we will be glad to help you.