It is possible to offer real-time technical support through the Internet. As a matter of fact, there are several mechanisms for offering such real-time technical support through the Internet.
One mechanism for offering real-time technical support through the Internet is that in which the technical support is mediated via Internet Protocol – IP – telephony.
Another mechanism for offering real-time technical support through the Internet is that in which the technical support is mediated through email. For this to work, the emails would have to be replied as soon as they come in, thus simulating something akin to a real-time interaction with the people seeking technical support.
Yet another mechanism for offering real-time technical support through the Internet is that in which the technical support is mediated through Instant Messaging clients. Some of these, as you come to learn, are actually integrated with email systems. A good example is the Google Talk Instant Chat client, for which you can sign up simultaneously with Gmail at address given in this post.With the account thence created, it would follow that you’d also be logging into the Instant Messaging system every time you go through the www.gmail.com login procedures. This sort of a system can subsequently be integrated, through the API, to serve as a system for providing technical support, in real time, through the Internet.
There are some two routes that you can follow, towards being a computer technical support professional.
The first route that you can follow, towards being a computer technical support professional, would be the route where you enroll for a relevant college degree course, in the course of whose pursuit you acquire the skills necessary for you to function as a computer technical support professional.
The second route you can follow, towards being a computer technical support professional, would be the route where you take vocational training courses geared towards the attainment of specific certifications that ultimately lead you into being a qualified computer technical support professional.
The best route for you to take will depend on several things. It will, for instance, depend on the amount of time you have, to train. It will also depend on the amount of money you have. But the amount of money you have shouldn’t be too much of an issue, as you can always go to www.fafsa.ed.gov to apply for the so-called my ed loans with which you can finance the studies. Still, you want to avoid being unnecessarily saddled with loans. That is especially the case if you have a way of attaining the same skills, without having to pay too much.
There are several methods that are used by high traffic websites to keep customer support costs down.
The first method used by high traffic websites to keep customer support costs down is whereby the people behind the websites in question invest in the development of extensive knowledgebase libraries. These are libraries through which their services’ users can find answers to all questions they happen to have about the services in question. Take a website like Yahoo Mail (www.yahoomail.com). You notice that the folks behind it – it also being referred to as Ymail in this blog post — have built a strong knowledgebase in the help section. Thanks to this, we hardly ever encounter a situation where Ymail service users actually have to seek the help of the human technical support staff, because answers to most of the questions they have are to be found in the help section.
The second method used by high traffic websites to keep customer support costs down is whereby they outsource the provision of such services to companies — either in their localities or abroad — that have the provision of customer support services as their core competency.
The third method used by high traffic websites to keep customer support costs down is whereby they automate the customer support service provision function as much as possible.
There are some three things that you must establish beyond reasonable doubt, when interviewing a candidate for a technical support job.
Firstly, you must establish whether the candidate has a good technical understanding of the fundamental and practical principles of the system in which his or her technical support will be required. If, just as an example, you are the hiring manager at Etrade, and you are trying to hire someone who will be helping people with Etrade sign in technicalities, you want to be sure that the person you ultimately hire is someone who understands the underlying technology well. You can gauge this through an examination of the courses the candidate has taken, and the positions the candidate has held before.
Secondly, you must establish whether the candidate has good or at least acceptable communication skills. You have to remember that technical support work is not just about doing things practically, but also (more crucially) about showing people how to do things practically. It is, at some level, a teaching job, and communication skills are therefore very crucial.
Thirdly, you must establish whether the candidate has a passion for the job. If you hire a person who is just after a paycheck, you may have problems because the truth of the matter is that technical support work needs someone with real, tangible passion.
There are two key ways in which Internet-based service providers go about giving technical support to their customers. The Internet-based service providers in question here include webmail service providers. They also include online news vendors. Another example is that of online dating service providers like Plentyoffish. All these have to grapple with the challenge of giving technical support to their customers, who almost inevitably land into technical difficulties requiring support.
The first way in which Internet-based service providers go about giving technical support to their customers is by employing their own technical support workers for this role alone. This is, in other words, doing the technical support work in-house. There are cases where it turns out to be either the most efficient or the most cost-effective way to go about the whole business of supporting the users of the various Internet-enabled services.
The second way in which Internet-based service providers go about giving technical support to their customers is by outsourcing this function to companies that specialize in technical support provision. There are cases where objective calculations reveal that this is the most efficient way to go about providing support to the users of Internet-enabled services. Indeed, best practice in this industry seems to favor this approach, though outsourced technical support does definitely have its own problems.
There are several issues that you are likely to keep on encountering when providing technical support for a database-driven site.
Firstly, when providing technical support for a database-driven site, you are likely to keep on encountering issues to do with logins. An example of a database-driven site is probably that of the one at which the Scottrade stocks trading platform is accessed (www.scottrade.com). And if you were to chat with the folks who provide technical support for it, it is our bet that they would aver that many of the queries they receive are for issues revolving around the Scot Trade login procedures. The same trend is observed with other database-driven sites – and Scottrade.com is, by the way, not a special case in any way. We just used it as an example.
Secondly, when providing technical support for a database-driven site, you are likely to keep on encountering issues to do with database access. There are cases where people login successfully, but they can’t access the actual databases, so they are stuck.
Thirdly, when providing technical support for a database-driven site, you are likely to keep on encountering issues to do with database manipulation. There are cases where people can access their accounts and the database successfully, but they have difficulties performing specific functions.
There are two major levels of technical support offered on the websites of financial institutions. The financial institutions in question here include banks, credit unions, credit card issuers and so on.
The first major level of technical support offered on the websites of financial institutions is that which may be termed as ‘general’ technical support. This touches on things like the general workings of the financial institutions’ websites, the features of those websites, the banking products available on the websites and so on. Since this is not very sensitive, most banks are normally willing to offer it over normal Internet connections.
The second major level of technical support offered on the websites of financial institutions is that which may be termed as ‘confidential’ technical support. This pertains to things like individual customers’ login credentials, individual customers’ accounts and so on. Banks tend to be extremely careful when offering this sort of technical support. In most cases, they only do it over secure connections. That is why, for instance, people who hold the General Motors credit card notice that they are redirected from the GM Card website at www.gmcard.com to the website of the bank that offers the actual MasterCard, whenever they need technical support touching on the card itself.
There are several ways in which the government gets technical support for its websites.
The first way in which the government gets technical support for its websites is by hiring its own technical support people. If, for instance, you are having problems processing your tax returns on the IRS website, and you call technical support, chances are that the fellow you will be talking to will be a (direct) government employee.
The second way in which the government gets technical support for its websites is by engaging independent contractors for this function. This is, for instance, the approach that the government seems to have adopted, for management of its (direct) student loans disbursement and collection functions. That is a scenario where the government works with firms like Affiliated Computer Services (ACS). The end result is a situation where folks with student loan issues actually get them addressed in a dotcom site, namely myedaccount.com (whose link can be found in this post), as opposed to a .gov site as would be expected by default. Further enquiry is likely to reveal that this is as a result of a government partnership with a private service provider (like ACS). In future, we may see other functions being similar contracted, with the contractors essentially ending up doing technical support work for government websites.
There are several reasons as to why technical support work for a government website can be very challenging.
The first reason as to why technical support work for a government website can be very challenging is in the fact that these government sites are logged into by very many people. Take, for instance, the FAFSA website, used by folks looking for info on federal student aid programs like the Pell grant. In spite of it being put on the best possible web hosting, a site like that is bound to crumble every once in a while, due to the pressure placed on it. The support staff behind it are therefore kept on the edge, anticipating such breakdowns.
The second reason as to why technical support work for a government website can be very challenging is in the fact that web hosting and other services are typically procured through tenders. It thus becomes hard to change suppliers, even when some start slacking leading to ‘issues.’
The third reason as to why technical support work for a government website can be very challenging is in the fact that the sites are typically updated from multiple locations (through CMS). It thus becomes hard to keep up with everything.
There are several qualities that you need to be looking for, when hiring technical support department staff.
Firstly, technical support department staff need to be people with good, basic technical understanding of the various types of engineering system they are to provide support for. Suppose, for instance (just for the sake of argument), you have been subcontracted by Yahoo to provide Yahoo Mail (www.yahoomail.com) support. In that case, the team you deploy to provide the actual support should be conversant with things like Ymail.com login and Yahoomail.com sign up procedures: those being the things they are likely to be queried on on a day to day basis.
Secondly, technical support department staff members need to be people with the willingness to be continually learning. Technical systems are always being updated and upgraded, hence the need for continual learning. If you recruit people with an apathy to learning, you will have problems.
Thirdly, technical support department staff members need to be people with good communication skills. They should be people who have no difficulties making themselves understood.
Finally, technical support department staff members need to be people with pleasant personalities. They should also be people who have exceptionally high levels of patience, as they are likely to have to deal with clients who may be extremely slow to understand or, worse still, clients who are not exactly courteous.