Need tech support but don’t have the resources or desire to hire and manage an IT department? Online tech support is for you. Also called remote IT support, online tech support services are often more affordable — and sometimes more effective — than in-house IT departments. Below, learn all about online tech support and why it might suit your business better than an in-house IT department would.
If a company is having computer, networking or security issues, online tech support providers can remotely do anything that an in-house IT department could. As such, they allow small businesses to access an entire IT team without having to invest the time and money into hiring one. When you partner with an online provider, you’re essentially outsourcing, rather than going in-house, for your tech support.
Online tech support providers typically fulfill these functions:
Here are some of the most compelling reasons to set up online tech support services for your business.
Building out an IT department can involve a five- to six-digit price tag for new-employee salaries alone. Online tech support providers cost much less than what you’d pay an employee, and they offer the same level of expertise and service.
“Online tech support is a small business’ best friend because it allows them to receive enterprise-class support and service at a small business price,” said Tim Singleton, president and founder of Strive Technology Consulting.
Unlike internal IT departments that have backlogs of tasks and tech support companies that send on-site technicians, online tech support services provide immediate IT support.
“Since IT companies can do more work remotely, they spend less time traveling and more time fixing problems,” Singleton said. “This means a single technician can support more end users. With a whole team of techs supporting dozens of companies, each small business has access to an entire computer support team.”
Online tech support services give small businesses access to IT experts who can readily and effectively solve a wide range of IT issues.
“If a business is working with a quality service provider, they are getting access to an entire organization of experts at every level that can assist them with whatever arises,” said Glenn Mores, president and CEO of 3rd Millennium.
Technicians at online tech support services will also have the necessary industry training and certifications, so they’ll know the best practices for providing reliable and cost-effective IT solutions, he said. In comparison, a small business that hires an in-house IT person often has very limited support capabilities.
“Even if the organization had an internal IT resource, it’s just one person who is usually a generalist, and that means inevitable significant holes in their knowledge base,” Mores said.
Online tech support providers also have advanced support resources that are typically not available to small business IT departments.
“When a business calls for online tech support, a quality service provider will have hundreds of thousands of dollars of hardware and software tools that can be used to quickly and efficiently resolve issues,” Mores said.
Online tech support providers typically offer additional services that would otherwise be well outside a small business’s budget.
“Most IT companies like this will also offer other services, such as proactive PC maintenance, network maintenance and a high level of technology guidance that most small businesses would never be able to afford,” Singleton said.
Additionally, some providers do more than just solve IT problems; they also analyze them to spot trends and keep a pulse on issues that businesses will likely face. Furthermore, the remote IT support industry is continuing to grow and will have plenty more to offer small businesses as it matures.
“Like anything out there, remote IT support can be good or bad, but the potential is there — and there are many companies living up to this potential — to give small businesses a better IT experience than they could have ever afforded in the past,” Singleton said. “I believe this route is a better solution than hiring a full-time IT staff of one or two because of the depth of experience and services that a professional team can offer.”
Bob Makarowski, who has been teaching software and hardware courses at New York’s Baruch College for more than 30 years, said that given the cost benefits of online tech support, these services’ prevalence is not likely to diminish.
Makarowski provided these tips for how to get the most out of online tech support services as your online tech support needs grow:
Ready to partner with an online tech support provider? Here’s how to go about choosing the right one for your business.
Maybe your business is seeking relatively low-stakes assistance, such as password-reset support. Or maybe your business needs a partner for data backup and knowledge creation. Consider the depth of involvement and breadth of features you’re aiming for in a provider. Write out your exact needs, and keep this list within reach during the next step.
Through both internet searches and direct referrals from people in your professional network, assemble a list of potential online tech support providers. Visit these providers’ websites to get a sense of the breadth and depth of the companies’ services. Eliminate any providers that clearly don’t offer what you need. Contact the remaining providers to ask about their services, and see how well they line up with what you’re seeking.
You may find the combination of online tech support and internal document management software especially helpful for organizing company knowledge. Explore our picks for the best document management software to learn more about why you might benefit from this technology.
It’s one thing for your service provider to fix problems you bring to them; it’s another to do so and then offer ongoing solutions for the future. This proactive approach always reaps more benefits than reactive approaches (one-time fixes). Consider only providers that emphasize a focus on proactive support.
A great tech support business ensures company-wide cybersecurity around the clock and should do the same for its own operations. Speak with potential vendors about their security measures; then conduct research to determine whether these measures reflect state-of-the-art protocol. If not, look elsewhere for an online tech support provider.
Look into each potential provider’s response time, success rate and IT certifications. You should look for providers that guarantee rapid response times and high success rates and that have many team members with prominent certifications. This way, you’ll know you get support that’s equally high-quality and expedient.
At this point, you’ll have whittled down your list of potential providers to just a handful of great fits. Compare these vendors’ prices, and go with the provider that gives you the best value. From there, work directly with the vendor to get your service up and running.
Not all business owners are tech-savvy, but online tech support services can help. These services power your operations with more infrastructure and resources than you could provide to an in-house IT team, and they cost less. As digital platforms become increasingly vital to your company’s success, online tech support teams can help you deftly use them all.