By Sheryl J. Cherico, CEO
I have been providing IT support for Medical Practices for over 20 years. I absolutely love it, and I feel very fortunate to be in this field. When it comes to technology, I wake up with a little pep in my step. It is exciting and forever changing. Someone like me needs to have that constant change and excitement. I was the type of kid who had to rescue the princess in Nintendo’s Mario Bros. I had to solve the “pattern” in PacMan. I always had to figure out how to solve the game, or the puzzle. Games like Chess were great because they are strategic, but as you know…it is very slow. Too slow for my “IT person attention span”.
So here I am, a grown up adult. I can tell you…not much has changed. I still play games, just in a different way. On my ipad! I still love the challenge of figuring out something new. I don’t think that will ever go away. The nursing home I end up in better have something challenging for me!
As an IT support provider, I have seen many changes over there years, just in the way we provide support. Using some sort of remote entry to solve IT issues, was almost considered lazy. The client wanted to see you. They want you there on site, working on their problem. I almost agreed at that time. I thought, “get out there and see what is going on”. The thought of fixing it quickly never crossed my mind. It was all about servicing the customer, yet making a physical appearance was how I thought it should be done.
In 2005, we had a full fledged IT support organization full of “road warriors”. We started out on the road at 8:00am, and finished around 6:00pm. We piled on the miles, and put in about 4 hours per day of actually interacting with our clients. The rest of the day was “windshield” time. We were able to knock out around 5-6 tickets per day, per tech. We had great relationships with our clients, they knew us, trusted us, and liked us very much. The business was working, the clients were happy, and things were going great. Tolerance was at a whole different level. If it took us 5 hours to get to you, to install your printer, that was OK because we would be out here that same day. That was the expectation, and we were able to fulfill it.
Here we are in 2014. We have all kinds of Remote Management Tools (RMM). We use a tool called logmein, and can connect into your computer in 30 seconds. Need a printer installed? Sure, let me do that right now. In 10 minutes you are up and printing. You can’t beat that service! Our techs can now handle 20 tickets a day, and can give support almost immediately. Sounds like we walk on water right? Not so fast. With the change in the technology, comes the change in expectations. People don’t want their ticket sitting in a queue for 3 hours. They have come to expect immediate support. I admit, I am one of those people as well. If I call you with a problem, connect in and fix it…NOW. Expectations are at an all time high right now.
For the most part, we meet the challenge of the high expectations. We work very hard to make sure we don’t have to touch a ticket twice. The problem is that that is somewhat unrealistic. With the complexity of computers even today, we still need to do our due diligence, or as we call it, troubleshooting. Devices still fail. As your car gets older, your battery may die. Your phone may shut off, your ipad may not turn on. We have not figured out yet how to NOT make devices fail. For these types of instances, we are happy to send out our field technicians.
If you really think about it, being an IT support provider has saved our customers hundreds of thousands of dollars in unproductive downtime. When things are fixed quickly, proactively, and behind the scenes, your computer issues become a non-factor in losing productivity. From our perspective, this is exactly the type of business we want to be in.
Sheryl Cherico is the CEO of Tier3MD, and IT Support Group for Medical Practices.