We've been providing IT support for almost two decades - and since 2015, we've offered a white label IT helpdesk service. We haven't done this without learning some big lessons along the way - and we're happy to share them.
If you're thinking of offering 24/7 IT support, help yourself to the benefit of our experience. Here are our top tips:
1) Hire more people than you think you’ll need (you’ll always need more people)
When starting, the tendency is to run as a threadbare operation because it’s not bringing in any money. It's a chicken-and-egg scenario, but when you start, prepare for over-investment and under-return.
2) Remember your night team will always end up relying on your day team
3) Factor in all those extra costs
Training requirements can be twice as much, because you’re training on different time zones. Read our blog on White Label IT Support costs for more on which costs to consider.
4) For every three people you think you need, add another one
We recommend a three-way shift pattern. This means you have to consider your employee welfare and days off. That includes holiday accruement, shift changes and time between shifts. Add to that sick days when you least need them, and you'll soon see that extra person rule will come in handy.
5) Handovers are pivotal
You need a 'multiple life jacket' approach. Project handovers during the day are hard enough. Now imagine handing off to a team who can’t come back to you within the hour because you’ll be asleep. You need multiple capture points for handover info. We have pre and post flight checklists and we tag in stakeholders in relevant cases. Team handover chats are recorded in our ERP and stakeholders are reminded (that's the second life jacket).
6) Protect your systems, because they'll protect you
It might be tempting to go off-piste because you're rushed or a client is making extra demands, but if you stray too far from your systems and processes, you'll face long term issues. Make sure you and your team keep a cool head and take the time to follow processes.
7) Plan for negligence
There's no use planning for best case scenarios when the worst-case ones are what your reputation's built on. How you handle the worst-case scenario will keep your customers happy.
8) Prepare to roll up your sleeves
In the early days, you'll need to get stuck in when issues need smoothing out. You might end up doing night and day shifts when no one else can to it. You'll soon reach a critical mass point where you can afford the wasted overhead. While you're ironing out creases though, you might still get those 2am calls.
9) Select a good team
You want to keep people happy and healthy so they're giving their best working day. While allowing for unforeseen costs and extra staff, you still want a team who know when to go the extra mile. Get a good team behind you, be all in it together and build the trust.
10) Balance the needs of the business with the customer's
Customer service is a priority, but it's not more important than staff wellbeing or your bottom line. Listen to what your customers are asking for, but they’re not always right. Sometimes you have to go with your gut and work in line with the way you do business. That might mean losing some very high-demand customers, but that might be for the best in the long-run.