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Remote Hardware Provisioning Strategies for IT Providers

Most IT service providers acquire customers outside of their immediate geographical domains. They do this to overcome saturated local markets and build new relationships abroad. Although cloud-based solutions do work worldwide, various challenges can arise in foreign markets.

If you intend to scale your business geographically, you need to settle all technical support matters. Your agents cannot visit clients to setup or resolve hardware issues, so you'll need strategies to maintain a positive experience.

Build a Knowledge base

While customers wait for their hardware to arrive, you should provide educational resources. You want to enable customers to help themselves and each other with:

  1. Tutorial articles, videos and graphics;

  2. Interactive setup and troubleshooting wizards;

  3. Forums and Q&A channels.

Clients with an interest will learn how to provision their own products. For the majority, you just want to educate them enough so that communicating in the future is easy.

Use Powerful Tools

When provisioning remotely, how you choose to communicate with clients affects their experiences. Phone support does not lend itself well to IT servicing because it assumes the end-user can follow instructions. Some clients will resist doing work themselves and others will be incapable. Thus, you need tools that will let your agents work from virtually anywhere.

  1. Screen sharing software: Remoting into your clients’ computers alleviates their technical barriers. You can quickly provision or troubleshoot without much communication. Two solutions that allow you to do this are TeamViewer and JoinMe. Unfortunately, some clients will prefer not to surrender control of their computers. In such cases, you will need to use screen-casting to demonstrate the steps for clients.

  2. Instant messaging: Live chat and other messengers let you walk customers through provisioning step-by-step. You can attach screenshots, send links and respond to questions in real-time. IM is a more scalable support model because an agent can carry multiple conversations at once. Some programs even allow group conversations. Unless you host live chat on your website with software like Zopim, select a widely accessible program like Skype.

Clarify the Scope of Your Hardware Support

Sometimes, your technicians will run into trouble provisioning hardware. The client will expect you to resolve whatever issues arise; however, some things may exceed the knowledge of your staff.

As the provider, you must become the expert on your products and services. But if another product or service interferes, you cannot have your technicians meddling with technology they do not understand. It is a liability and a waste of time. Although no client wants to hear you cannot service them, you must explain where your support ends and another business’ begins.