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  Post #1 (permalink)   07-20-2013, 07:19 AM
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As the thread title says, how do you train your support technicians?

Some follow up questions // other things I am curious about:

-Do you just take people interested in learning and train them yourself, or do you look for people who already understand your business? If so, does your business have its own training program? What level of technicians is it for?

-Do you source your employees locally, or do many of them telecommute?

Thanks guys! I'm currently looking for some techs and not sure which way to go.
 
 


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  Post #2 (permalink)   07-20-2013, 09:38 AM
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It really depends on which level of support tech we are training. For level 1 we focus mainly on customer service and simple processes such as password resets etc.

We source all our employees locally. We interview and make sure they are up to the service standard that we want our clients to know and love.

Training is all on the job hands on training. After a brief orientation about the company they hit their computer. We have them sit with another rep or a manager and they get trained as tickets come in.

We encourage each individual to always ask questions and speak up if they don't understand something or have a suggestion.

We generally look for people who have some sort of support background. We get a lot of people who apply from local retail stores that do computer servicing.

We always look for qualities in people that show they can be trained. Our senior admins and techs are wonderful trainers so we don't have any issues training new people.
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  Post #3 (permalink)   07-20-2013, 10:09 AM
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Great questions, especially since there are so many different variables in this industry.

My company uses only local employees (at this time). It was founded by myself and another good aquintnence that I've known from the hosting industry since he also ran his own shop at one point.

From there if we know people looking for work in this type of industry we prefer to tap our current connections. Otherwise then we'll search for individuals. Talent wise, we prefer they already have experience in whatever we're searching for, as much as I value training someone in fresh exactly how you want them, I don't always have the time

My last hosting company have a small bit of outsourcing for support emails and other support communications but for Dedispec we've kept it all internal. From our support team, sales team, technicians/server admins, abuse department, etc., they're all hired in instead of outsourced.

Outsourcing though can be very valuable so definitely don't phase it out.
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  Post #4 (permalink)   07-20-2013, 08:50 PM
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Thanks for all the info, guys! I appreciate it, and I'll definitely factor it into my decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dedispec View Post
Outsourcing though can be very valuable so definitely don't phase it out.
Hadn't thought about outsourcing, as I have had a bad experience with a certain company in the past. I know outsourcing can do wonders for business, but there's just something about the idea that leaves me with a bad taste. However, I believe that when outsourcing is done right, it can be a huge timesaver and help offload some tickets from your system admins. What company would you recommend using?
 
 
 


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  Post #5 (permalink)   07-21-2013, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RH-Jordie View Post
Thanks for all the info, guys! I appreciate it, and I'll definitely factor it into my decision.



Hadn't thought about outsourcing, as I have had a bad experience with a certain company in the past. I know outsourcing can do wonders for business, but there's just something about the idea that leaves me with a bad taste. However, I believe that when outsourcing is done right, it can be a huge timesaver and help offload some tickets from your system admins. What company would you recommend using?
I definitely agree, outsourcing can be difficult to take-in at times so you do have to do some research into who you outsource with. I've had experience with a few, are you referring to outsourcing for just support tasks (support tickets, emails, chat, calls, etc)? Or are you looking for outsourcing for system admins and such?
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  Post #6 (permalink)   07-28-2013, 06:50 PM
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The way I would train techs is the way I learned. If you have people who believe and love your company, then they will work happily and provide whatever "bend over backward" support to ensure a happy client. If it is just a job to them, then you will have a problem. So I think it is a company cultural thing and a phylosophy versus technical know-how. I trained people who didn't have any computer experience and they worked out well for basic stuff but that was because they loved their company.
 
 
 


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  Post #7 (permalink)   07-30-2013, 12:29 AM
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This depends on the Degree of Experience they should get. We practice the same to our support Techs the way we learnt from.
 
 
 


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  Post #8 (permalink)   07-30-2013, 11:18 AM
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There's no degree for hosting. There's no school people can come from to learn it, and even if they could, the industry changes rapidly.

As such, the most important thing to look for is people who know how to learn and have a work ethic. The best employees I've seen are equally as likely to come from out of the industry as in the industry.

The dollar value that employees ask for also has little correlation to whether or not they're a good employee. That is, I've seen $10/hour employees that I'd prefer to work with more than $40/hour employees.

Because what I've just said essentially amounts to "it's a crapshoot," I'd have to say my advice is this. The most successful methodology I've seen essentially amounts to a trial period. Hire an employee on at a trial level of pay and give themselves X months to prove themselves. When they do, they get compensated appropriately.
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  Post #9 (permalink)   08-06-2013, 01:35 PM
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For us, I train each and every employee personally so he/she knows our procedures and quality of service I expect. This process usually takes a full day, and then about a week for the employee to get used to everything.

I first go over basic sales procedures, such as handling requests for servers and forwarding the deployment tickets to the data center. After a quick tutorial on WHMCS, I move on to showing the employee how to administer our website (for situations such as today, as I am on Vacation down in Ocean City, NJ ). After the employee gets a grip on the sales end, I teach the employee how to "administer" technical support. I show them how we set up our servers, and secure them, as well as a tour of our back end. This includes a guided tour (by me) of one of our colocation data centers (usually our local Utica NY location).

As hinted above, and since I am a small business, I like my employees to be well rounded. I only employ 3 individuals now. In the future, I will train my employees for specific tasks such as JUST sales or JUST system administration. But that is still in the works .

I have thought about outsourcing our support, but I did not want to sacrifice our quality of service for monetary gain. If I have the pleasure of hosting somebody's website or application, I'd believe they'd expect receive support from the people cashing the checks.
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  Post #10 (permalink)   08-07-2013, 02:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hostmything View Post
For us, I train each and every employee personally so he/she knows our procedures and quality of service I expect. This process usually takes a full day, and then about a week for the employee to get used to everything.
One day to train a new employee? Thats a lot to take in for just 1 day then again if it is working for you then I can't say much .
 
 
 


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  Post #11 (permalink)   08-07-2013, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
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One day to train a new employee? Thats a lot to take in for just 1 day then again if it is working for you then I can't say much .
Eh, One full "one on one" day and a week of "off and on"

But really, My employees are good friends of mine, and I've known them all for years. The only things I really had to train them with was our support procedures and order procedures. All of the technical knowledge was already there, and just needed a refresher on the cPanel web interface. We've all been hosting together for about 7 years now, but only recently decided to step up our hobby to a small business.

Glad I cleared that up. Thanks Alex for mentioning that!
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  Post #12 (permalink)   08-07-2013, 08:48 AM
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Training is always an ongoing venture! New stuff comes out, we make changes, etc. Generally we train for about a month prior to letting them "off on their own".
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  Post #13 (permalink)   08-07-2013, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hostmything View Post
Eh, One full "one on one" day and a week of "off and on"

But really, My employees are good friends of mine, and I've known them all for years. The only things I really had to train them with was our support procedures and order procedures. All of the technical knowledge was already there, and just needed a refresher on the cPanel web interface. We've all been hosting together for about 7 years now, but only recently decided to step up our hobby to a small business.

Glad I cleared that up. Thanks Alex for mentioning that!
Glad to hear it Also sounds like a nice venture you have going there!

+1 Steam101 - Training should never stop, things always change, new upgrade/implementations, software changes occur etc... - Training should always be on-going .
 
 
 


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  Post #14 (permalink)   08-07-2013, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stream101 View Post
Training is always an ongoing venture! New stuff comes out, we make changes, etc. Generally we train for about a month prior to letting them "off on their own".
I agree. I was referring to "day one" for techs and sales reps. Initially, employees must be introduced to "the basics", such as company conduct and such. The whole industry of hosting is constantly changing and evolving, and one must stay up to date to stay competitive in such a saturated market. Therefore as you mentioned, that carries down the ladder to your sales and technical support.

If your situation is like mine, you don't need to spoon feed your employees with anything. That's because of 1) My size (only 2 others working for me) and 2) My history with my employees. We have been buddies for years, even hosting websites as a hobby. They go our of their way to see whats new and get acquainted with it before we move anything to production, all without me asking. I'm sure if I was to grow and hire more employees, I would need to be constantly keeping them up to date. It all depends on how motivated they are .
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  Post #15 (permalink)   08-23-2013, 09:03 PM
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It really depends on the position. Really, in such an industry where things are changing rapidly, new products are being launched by yourself and your vendors, and of course, new technology is coming out; you really should continue to train staff all the time.

Hiring local is great, but if you can't afford to do that (office space or other reason / restriction) then remote is great too. You will have to factor in several key things when hiring remote, for example, you might have the most knowledgable tech in the world, but is he people ready? Can he answer tickets in an easy to understand way? Can he communicate?

You may have the most reliable and friendly customer service employee ever, but is his internet as reliable at home or his office? Does his phone work?

There are a ton of other things you must consider as I outlined above.

Hiring local cuts down on those problems since you would have the office, the equipment, the connection, phones etc.

Interviewing over the phone is also hard. You can't see the person, get a feeling or vibe from them. Ever had that feeling when you are around someone that something just isn't right?

Hiring should have many stages. You should pick out a short list of people you like for the job. Interview them and base if you want them to progress on how they handle the interview. Are they ready? Did they pick up the phone or did you have to call them back several times?

Then, you should pop quiz the successful ones.

When you have narrowed it down to the top 5 or even 3, you can simulate situations. Get them in front of a computer, get them to do a few hours of the hardest work that they could possibly face in that role and see if they can handle it.

90 days probation is also standard. Give them a chance to blend in, get to know you and the company.

Those who are interested in your company will have researched you and know what you do, offer and probablly stuff you didn't even think anyone knew.

I'll stop now!

Good luck.
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