Tech Support has been a calling card for millions of contractors for well over 20 years now.
Like automotive mechanics in the 20th century, they exist to support millions of users of IT systems – many of whom have very little or no support provided by the manufacturer.
Although a number of services have been around for many years, and as GeekSquad can offer 24/7 support, there is a problem that most of these providers do not help with – software.
Lack of software support
Everything from web hosting, DNS, cloud email and even the web infrastructure running systems (WordPress, etc.) requires constant maintenance, assistance and support.
This is generally not covered by the major technical support providers, which leads to a number of “smaller” providers filling the gap.
Scope is simple – if you have a problem with WordPress, Microsoft Azure, Exchange, Office, Photoshop, or any other software service provider, there are a number of ways to get fixes provided by a support company.
The difference is that the majority of support companies do NOT process code – only surface issues that can generally be fixed by looking at tutorials online. In fact, it is not uncommon to find companies that just trust others [third party] information to help solve customer problems.
This is where a number of “software”-centric support providers began providing services – giving businesses and people the opportunity to get their entire digital infrastructure running as smoothly as possible with the provision of underlying software-level support.
That is how it works
The foundation of all this is that there is a “gray area” between how many “support” companies operate and what customers end up needing.
This gray area has only grown in the last 5+ years due to the increased importance of various “cloud” -centric technologies, especially Microsoft’s progress with Azure and its accompanying services.
The company “technology” is undergoing a period of change. Soon, “software” ALL is considered “services” – meaning you have apps for those like Amazon, YouTube, and Evernote right on your desktop – reducing the need for a web browser from a “do it all” tool to simply an information-consuming device.
While this does not matter, it is that the “market” is moving towards a completely software / service-centric model.
Thus, we get a number of companies that end up in a curious position.
They may need their digital infrastructure managed, maintained and supported … but currently no provider is able to help.
It may sound trivial … but things like how to get Evernote set up in the most efficient way, designing and implementing efficient systems with Zapier or building a strong spreadsheet for new businesses on Google Docs … no provider has the ability to go so far as to ensure that businesses run their digital infrastructure as smoothly or effectively in the “new” cloud era.
The “older” providers are too focused on hardware implementation / “infrastructure” level issues … new providers typically focus on unwanted issues with them like iPhones, Android and other tools.
The “software” -centric provider allows users to maintain this infrastructure as efficiently as possible – essentially giving a shoulder to many businesses / consumers to lean on if they have * any * problems with their systems.
Both providers work in a similar way (providing “online” support staff who can be contacted via email, live chat or phone – and “offline” support dealing with localized fixes) – the difference lies in the efficiency they bring to work.
Software-centric providers generally have much more experience with the various software tools for users. For example, they may have a specific way in which WordPress is set up – or a Photoshop trick to ensure the best work.
This is what has led many companies to look at them as a means of securing their growth.
What it means
Ultimately, “software” support companies provide a more cost-effective method of receiving code-centric fixes for a variety of bugs that both “traditional” providers will not resolve and “software developers” do not want to get involved.
The biggest competition for many of these service providers is actually software developers themselves … many of them would happily provide $ 40 fixes to them like Upwork or Freelancer.
I personally have many clients who need a huge number of fixes, but these fixes we ended up doing for free (because they weren’t such big things). Adding Google Analytics conversion codes, removing WordPress menu items, automatically adding products in Shopify, managing CRM issues, etc.
The point is that the “software” support provider typically charges a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee to allow users to contact them at any time of the day / night and either receive a response directly or pass the request on to an expert who has specific expertise in the field.
While many businesses do not need the service right away, it is a huge time saver and a great safety net for people who can trust their site to work – but have no one to provide instant support if it goes down.
For example, a “WordPress blog” that receives more than 50,000 visitors per Today, have ZERO support infrastructure in place if it went down, or had issues with speed, etc. Who would you pay in such a situation?
Encoders usually charge by the hour, and most of them don’t really have much expertise with high-traffic sites. This is the type of situation where software-level support stands out.
Which suppliers exist
In terms of “software” support services, there are several providers that have come on the scene in the last few years …
Bask (.) Com – NOT software centric – services provided to consumers + business. Recurring revenue model that actually works relatively well. Unfortunately, very little software support
GeekSquad – NOT software centric – associated with BestBuy, GeekSquad is known for a decent quality of service. Unfortunately, they are not very well known when it comes to software-based problems
PCFixes (.) Com – software-centric – new service launched in 2018 to provide software-centric support – allows users to get specific fixes / help for people like WordPress, Shopify, Photoshop, Office, Outlook and more
The current industry is that it is growing rapidly and that several of the aforementioned providers are in a very strong position to help a number of companies remain operational.