Since the pandemic, the option to work remotely—or at least hybrid—has become an increasingly common expectation among employees. And it makes sense: Remote work is known to reduce employee stress, boost productivity, and produce higher job satisfaction.
But it also means employees are now scattered all over the world. That makes it incredibly challenging to provide adequate, timely, and secure IT support. Plus, many in-house IT departments are not trained to deliver support for completely virtual work environments.
That’s precisely why so many companies are outsourcing tech support. Let’s look into the benefits and challenges of outsourcing remote work tech support to understand it better.
Benefits of outsourcing tech support
Outsourced technical support, or Managed IT Services, is when companies hire a third-party team to provide technical services and support. It comes with a host of benefits:
Access to support from anywhere, at any time
Remote workers love the ability to work whenever, wherever. That might mean employees are signing in early in the morning, late at night, and from the beaches of the Caribbean. It’s all fair game.
But that also means that they might need support at 5:00 in the morning or 11:00 at night. Or when traveling, their 10:00 AM is your company’s 4:00 AM.
An outsourced IT support team is not limited by working hours. It is staffed by people worldwide, in different time zones, ready to serve your employees 24/7/365 via phone or live chat. That level of support is critical to maintaining the flexibility of remote work.
Able to be scaled up or down with ease
The need for IT support tends to come in waves. When onboarding new employees, they will need much more intensive support. But once they are established, their IT needs usually scale back.
Similarly, your IT needs might flow with the seasons. Your retail shops might need significantly more support during the holidays, but not later in the winter.
It’s far too much hassle to hire and train in-house employees to meet these changes in demand. But it’s easy to scale outsourced technical support services.
Saves significant time and money
Hiring, training, and maintaining an in-house IT support team is expensive. You are required to cover:
- Paid time off (PTO)
- Office space
But outsourcing to technical support specialists is incredibly cost effective. You nix all of those costs from your budget without sacrificing any of the quality.
Well-trained and equipped for cybersecurity
Many of us stepped into remote work and were completely blindsided by the need for security. Between 2020 and 2021, cyberattacks increased by 68%. And that number has only continued to grow.
But trusted, third-party IT teams have been working remotely for decades. They are well-trained and equipped with the proper safety protocols to protect against data breaches. What’s more, outsourced IT teams can provide real-time security monitoring.
Let’s look at a couple of case studies to see the benefits of outsourcing IT support in action.
Case Study #1: An established museum and its outsourced IT services provider
Background: A celebrated and established museum in New York City had limited in-house IT capabilities. Because most of its back-end employees were working hybrid, the museum decided to outsource its IT tech support to a managed services provider (MSP).
Implementation: The MSP provided round-the-clock IT support, cybersecurity services, and proactive system maintenance.
Benefits: The museum experienced significant cost savings as they did not have to maintain a full-time in-house IT staff. They also enjoyed better uptime and fewer IT-related disruptions thanks to the proactive approach of the MSP. The business could focus more on its core operations, while the MSP took care of IT management and customer service.
Case Study #2: A national retail chain and outsourced IT support
Background: A large retail chain needed a robust IT support system to manage its extensive network and point-of-sale systems.
Implementation: The company outsourced its IT support to a global IT service provider specializing in retail IT solutions.
Benefits: The retail chain saw improved system reliability and reduced downtime. The outsourcing partner provided scalable services. This meant the retail chain could easily adjust its IT support needs based on seasonal fluctuations. What’s more, the company gained access to the latest retail technology trends and cybersecurity measures. This increased consumer trust and compliance with data protection regulations.
Challenges in remote workforce tech support
While outsourcing IT services is incredibly beneficial, it also presents a number of challenges. Here are some of the most common challenges and suggested solutions for overcoming them.
Challenge #1: Security issues
Trusted IT service providers will have the technology and protocols in place to protect your business. However, this still isn’t a guarantee against phishers and data breaches. Employees using weak passwords or unsecured Wi-Fi networks can make a company’s firewalls vulnerable.
- Invest in virtual private networks (VPNs).
- Require all employees to regularly change their passwords.
- Set up two-factor authentication.
Challenge #2: Communication issues
In-house IT teams are able to physically stand in front of employees’ computers to diagnose and resolve problems. But it is much more challenging to communicate computer and technology issues remotely, especially complex technical issues.
Solution: Invest in technology like video conferencing tools and remote desktop sharing to make it easier for technicians to communicate with employees.
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Challenge #3: Inefficient service delivery
Maintaining quality of service is often a fear of companies when considering outsourcing tasks. But with a few protocols in place and the right technological support, an outsourced team can provide top-notch service.
- Ensure everyone in your company has the software and hardware they need to do their jobs well.
- Determine KPIs to measure and monitor the third-party’s quality of service.
Integrating outsourced tech support with remote teams
For companies that have never worked with an outsourced IT team, knowing how to integrate all the moving parts can be daunting. Here are some best practices for how to successfully blend remote and outsourced teams.
- Establish clear channels for communication between remote workers, the in-house team, and the outsourced IT support team. Utilize tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or other collaboration platforms to facilitate seamless interactions. Hold regular meetings and updates to keep everyone on the same page and foster a sense of teamwork.
- Create well-defined Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with the outsourced IT team. The SLAs should clearly define response times, resolution times, and availability hours.
- Implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive data, especially when IT support involves remote access to systems.
- Provide comprehensive training for remote workers on how to use IT resources, access support, and report issues. Also, ensure the outsourced IT support team is well-versed in your company’s technologies, processes, and expectations.
- Use unified IT systems and tools that can be easily accessed and managed both by remote workers and the outsourced IT support team. Cloud-based solutions are often ideal for this.
As you look to integrate your different teams, consider using these communication and collaboration tools to further aid integration:
- GitLab or GitHub
Training and knowledge transfer
One of the best ways to ensure quality of service and consistency is to properly train the outsourced team. As you train the team, use both theoretical, lecture-based lessons and practical, hands-on sessions.
Outsourced teams should be educated on the following:
- Your company’s mission, values, and culture
- Your company’s history and key achievements
- Unique aspects of your work environment and market
Outsourced teams should have comprehensive documentation of your IT systems. This includes:
- Network diagrams
- Software documentation
- Your standard operating procedures
Outsourced teams should be thoroughly versed in the following:
- Your company’s security policies
- Data handling procedures
- Compliance requirements
As you work with outsourced teams, remote workers, and in-house employees, foster a culture of continuous learning. There will always be new technologies to integrate and new best practices to implement. Schedule regular check-ins and provide support. Above all, work to build genuine relationships between your internal team and the outsourced IT team.
Monitoring and evaluating performance
Once you’ve trained the outsourced team, it’s critical to regularly monitor and evaluate performance. The following KPIs will help you maintain quality of service across all team members.
- Response Time: Tracks how quickly the IT support team responds to a request or incident.
- Resolution Time: Tracks the average time it takes to resolve an issue.
- First Contact Resolution Rate (FCR): Calculates the percentage of problems that are fixed on first contact without having to be escalated.
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): Assesses the satisfaction level of internal or external users with the IT support they receive.
- Ticket Volume: Tracks the number of support tickets raised over a period. Analyzing trends in ticket volume can help identify common issues and areas needing improvement.
- Ticket Backlog: Monitors the number of unresolved tickets at any given time. A growing backlog indicates understaffing, inadequate skill levels, or inefficiencies in the support process.
- User Training and Education: Measures the effectiveness of any training and educational initiatives the IT support team provides to users.
- System Downtime: Tracks the total time that systems are unavailable or not functioning correctly.
Adapting to technological changes
One of the best benefits of working with an outsourced IT team is that they inherently have a broader knowledge base. This is because the third party works with companies across all industries, exposing them to new technologies and best practices.
Even so, it can be challenging to actually implement new technologies and best practices. To encourage continual adaptation, regularly practice the following:
- Encourage continuous learning and professional development.
- Give employees access to industry publications and resources.
- Collect feedback from customers and employees about your tech services.
- Conduct regular audits of your IT support processes and infrastructure to identify areas that need upgrades or improvements.
- Run pilot programs to test whether a new technology or service is a good fit.
Selecting the right outsourced tech support provider
Choosing the right outsourced tech support provider is as critical and complex as any hiring decision. You need a team that is experienced, trustworthy, and committed to providing excellent service. You also need a provider that can scale quickly, adheres to robust security measures, and works well with your remote and in-house team.
At Global Response, we do all that and more. We have worked with 200 of the world’s leading brands—from The Metropolitan Museum of Art to Lacoste to EVgo—to provide high-quality service and IT support.
Contact Global Response today to see how we can help you integrate your remote teams with comprehensive IT support.
Outsourced IT tech support refers to hiring an external service provider to manage and maintain a company’s information technology (IT) needs. This can include handling customer support queries, managing IT infrastructure, providing cybersecurity solutions, and ensuring the smooth operation of IT systems.
Yes! Most outsourced IT tech support services can be tailored to meet specific business requirements. This can include:
- the level of support provided
- the particular technologies and platforms supported
- the hours of operation (like 24/7 support)
- the inclusion of specialized services such as cloud management or cybersecurity
The first step is to carefully select a service provider. You want a partner with a strong track record in maintaining data security and adhering to relevant regulations. Next, establish clear agreements on security protocols, data handling procedures, and compliance with laws like GDPR or HIPAA. Then, conduct regular audits and assessments to ensure adherence to high levels of security.
The performance of an outsourced IT tech support team is typically measured using various Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Common KPIs include response time, resolution time, customer satisfaction scores, first contact resolution rate, and others mentioned above.