November 19th, 2009
“I need a Dedicated Tech”, the client went on describing his requirements, along with pricing and a long list of preferred skill sets. One of the most important aspects that clients tend to forget in the above mentioned process is what they are looking for when they hire a dedicated tech. Is it only the technical or soft skills that matter or does the pricing too?
Working with servers is not rocket science! Not even half of these requested skills come into play often. May be once in a while, a kernel recompilation becomes essential. But does this mean, we need to hire only experts? Wouldn’t it be nice to hire individuals who have a true passion towards satisfying your customers? A person with such an attitude will be ready to go above and beyond the call of duty to see your customers, smile always.
When you look for dedicated techs, you should try to gauge your needs. Being the owner of a hosting company that has grown to a stage that dedicated techs are needed, you would be the best person who knows the common issues occuring in your servers.
A few suggestions I have to put forward are :
- As a first step, you need to analyze your tickets to get a better understanding of the pattern and occurrence of issues. This will give you a basic idea about the kind of customers you have. You will then have a fair idea on what kind of support they require. You might want to ask yourself this question at this point, “Should I sort out the technical issues or the customer managament part first”?
- As a second step, you need to plan how to spend your earnings/profit to provide quality support. Once you have done this, you can decide your budget. Please keep in mind that it should always be sustainable.
- Hiring a dedicated tech is not like switching on a light. The tech needs to get oriented to your business requirements. Does he have the ability to change with requirements? Can he think on his feet and decide the proper course of action when confronting technical problems? You need to set challenges so that the tech starts thinking in the same way as you, about how to grow your company. This helps the tech to align with you and your customers.
- Do you think about customer friendliness? You can read hundreds of reviews on the performance of a company but can never ascertain what kind of experience you will face.
What sets the people in a good company apart, does not depend on an individual’s brilliance alone, but more on the processes and the training they undergo.
This is what brings uniformity in the service you get. As you cut on prices, you also tend to cut on quality, because just like you look at the ROI of what you purchase, a support person will also have to check his viability with the revenue he gets. Accordingly, he decides to just do his daily work, rather than pro-actively innovate by developing automated solutions to reduce customer issues.
- A very important aspect that a client has to keep in mind is the old adage, “too many cooks spoil the broth”. In any team or a company, you should not have 3 or 4 different techs doing serverwide administration tasks, unless there is a emergency or a set hierarchy. You need to have good people, but all of them need not be experts because it will involve too much of work being done in the server. So choose one person for his technical superiority while the others should have the aptitude to learn and reach that level following a set of standards or guidelines, set by your best guy. This way, you create a stable administration setup with a proper hierarchy of growth for each individual. There is a continuity, when you have people with so many different experience levels rather than one set with the same experience, since attrition and individual growth are aspects which cannot be prevented forever.
Choosing a dedicated tech is just not about the lowest price. You need to always keep in mind the security risks to your business, the kind of impact it will have on your customers and the level of trust you can keep on the hired people.
Outsourcing is always good for better profitability and cheaper hosting packages. However, there is a major security risk between hiring freelance support personnel and contracting from outsourcing companies. With outsourcing companies you will have accountability and redundancy because of the replacements they will always have for eventualities. The kind of SLA (Service Level Agreement) you sign is also important and should be carefully read and understood.
The kind of SLA (Service Level Agreement) you sign is also important and should be carefully read and understood.
With the right dedicated techs, you are no longer limited to having people who handle the technical issues you do not understand. Instead they become the base on which the quality of your services is measured and you gain happy customers who fuel your growth. So choose wisely!
About the Author:
As a Member of Executive Group, Lijoe Antony Chakiath oversees Information Security aspects at Bobcares including ISO 27001:2005. He also manages Mergers and Acquisitions interests of Poornam. Lijoe has over 7 years experience in the Web hosting industry and with Bobcares. He is passionate about travelling and long drives.