Friday, November 13, 2009
When I first started in this business the way to do support worked something like this: When we got a support call from a customer, we tried helping over the phone. If that did not work, we'd make an appointment and visit them on site. As a support technician I was able, on a good day to visit three customers. Plus maybe help others on the phone.
When the customer asked us to do an installation for them, we made arrangements and depending on the complexity of the install, we would be at the customer site for at least a couple of days.
As I moved from a computer dealer to working for a software company with global customers, my support tasks remained pretty much the same. Only the territory got bigger. Most of the support was done over the phone, but there were times where I had only hours to pack and fly to a customer site on the other side of the US.
Installation on remote sites involved a lot of planning and logistics. Especially when doing them abroad. We had to make sure products cleared customs and everything was ready before jumping on a plane. I remember flying to Perú to install a RIP on an imagestter, and when I got there there was no film for the machine. The RIP was working, but there was no way to calibrate the machine. I had to wait five days for film to arrive. This was expensive and a big hassle for everyone. Sure, as a company we made money on the installation. But it also meant that when our support staff was on the road, it was harder to take care of the customers that called in. Plus being away from home working for long periods of time was never fun.
Today things are a lot easier thanks to technology. Many of the software products we sale have electronic licenses, meaning no dongle is required. We also have remote support tools that allow us on a support call, to take control of the customer's computer. Making the installation or trouble shooting of programs a lot easier. We can install a RIP in Patagonia in the morning, and right after that train someone with PDF Imposition in Toronto.
These remote tools have helped us in sales too. We can demo most products online to people in several locations. Of course nothing beats face to face interaction. We still do sales visits and trade shows. But in this hectic world were we expect things to be instantaneous and very inexpensive. These tools have helped us meet these needs. Remote support tools are green in more ways than one, they help our customers save money, they allow our technicians to spend more time with their families and they are easy on the environment.
Posted by Alvaro Rodriguez at 1:33 AM