When it comes to IT support, many businesses place great importance on the possibility of receiving a round-the-clock support service. The idea of having expert help available at all times is appealing when so much of modern business relies on speed and technology.
As such, an IT service provider may advertise 24/7 IT services as a significant part of their services. However, this can be costly for the provider and can be an unnecessary expense for the client. In truth, 24/7 IT support is rarely used by most small to medium businesses.
We’ve broken down the interest surrounding 24/7 support to answer the question: is 24/7 IT support as important as people think it is?
The pros of offering 24/7 IT support
When it comes to offering 24/7 IT support, one major benefit is discussed most frequently: better customer service and meeting customer expectations. In a world where fast responses and 24/7 availability are crucial to success, having a reliable support service that can handle issues whenever they arise is a considerable benefit. Consequently, most businesses want to work with a business that is as responsive as they are.
Another major benefit of having 24/7 IT support is to improve cyber security and protect against threats. With new cyber-attacks being developed daily, round-the-clock monitoring can help prevent attacks from penetrating too far into a system before being detected. Swift reactions to counteract cyber-attacks help to minimise damage and protect the business.
Furthermore, any issue, whether caused by external attacks or a platform or system malfunctioning, can have serious consequences. The longer a system is malfunctioning, the more expensive it can be to fix and repair any damage.
Not to mention systems that aren’t working correctly or are preventing users from completing their work can be incredibly disruptive to operations, costing the business even more money. With IT professionals on hand, a situation can be resolved with minimal disruption or high cost.
Finally, any business offering 24/7 IT support will be able to attract a more global client base. Support that is out-of-hours for the main office may be the best time to work with clients in multiple time zones.
The cons of offering 24/7 IT support
With so many benefits to providing 24/7 IT support, it’s no surprise that many support providers and their clients believe having access to their support provider at all times is vital. However, paying for 24/7 support isn’t always necessary and could be a waste of money.
Offering 24/7 support comes with increased staffing costs and more logistical challenges, which can mean offering 24/7 support just isn’t financially beneficial. From hiring more staff and providing enough workspaces for everyone to the possibility of remote teams, changes in tax status, and increased utility bills, financial constraints are easily the biggest drawback to offering 24/7 support.
Aside from the financial cost of investing in 24/7 support, there is an increased logistical challenge. With more staff comes more users who need access to every part of a system which could cause overlap, miscommunication, and other issues associated with unnecessary permission.
There is also an increased chance of miscommunication when no longer using a single dedicated team. Passing support tickets over to an out-of-hours team can lead to confusion.
Without rigorous checks and dedicated communication channels, there is often misunderstanding and human error when using more than one team to offer non-stop IT support.
Alternatives to 24/7 IT support
Understandably, providing ongoing IT support isn’t always an option. Financial restrictions, client expectations, and staffing numbers mean some IT support companies cannot offer this level of support. However, there are alternative ways to support a business during out-of-hours operations.
Firstly, many IT companies provide standard IT helpdesk ticketing support. Clients can report issues anytime and add customer feedback, and the helpdesk or support team can respond during the standard working day. By using a support ticket system, clients can see the progress of their problem and how likely it is that they will get a swift response and can plan work accordingly.
Self-service and automation
Similarly, chatbots or automated response channels can provide essential support services and assistance without staff members needing to monitor the situation. Setting up bots to provide an instant response is crucial to keeping a happy customer and getting minor issues resolved fast.
Another very popular option is to set up automatic backups and monitoring processes that can continue without supervision. This way, major incidents can be prevented by automatically implementing pre-configured changes in response to specific issues. For example, if a sensor or platform registers a certain issue or reaches a set limit, it can be programmed to automatically back up the data, send an alert or even shut down until it can be handled during a normal business day.
Often, standard businesses don’t need 24/7 support services and only require emergency or crisis support. It may be more than enough to communicate to your clients that although you don’t offer 24/7 IT support, you will be on hand for real emergencies.
Speak to your clients and set service level agreements to refine how often emergency support can be given before it incurs additional charges.
How to determine the right level of IT support for your business
Offering 24/7 support can vary from business to business; Some companies provide full support at all times, while others offer a more restricted service out-of-hours. As an IT support company, offering the appropriate level of support is crucial to winning new business and maintaining a client base. Still, it isn’t always clear how much support is correct.
Here are a few things to consider when determining how much IT support to offer:
Do your clients need support around the clock?
How often would clients use out-of-hours IT support?
Would a delay in IT support make a problem significantly worse?
Do your clients work in a time-sensitive industry?
How much would it cost your business to offer 24/7 IT support?
Would automated responses and helpdesk ticketing satisfy most of your potential customers?
Could you implement more effective preventative measures to minimize the need for continual IT support?
There may be better options than offering 24/7 IT support for your business. Every IT support business can offer unique, adapted services based on their expertise and client base. In many cases, IT support companies work with third-party helpdesks to outsource troubleshooting support with the option of 24/7 availability.
When it comes to offering 24/7 IT support, every company has to decide based on their available recourses and client base. Round-the-clock support services can be very expensive to implement and may cost more than it generates. With added logistical complications, some businesses work with a third-party support company to offer 24/7 support without the initial investment.
Overall, many companies can benefit from 24/7 support, so unless it isn’t an option, offering round-the-clock support can be a significant attraction. Generally, it’s best to provide this level of support as an extra so companies that can’t afford or don’t need continual support don’t have to pay for something they won’t use; it’s the best of both worlds!