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b2ap3_thumbnail_cyberattacks.png

 

The first quarter of 2017 saw an upward trend in attacks, with the threat landscape increasing dramatically in the third week of February and through March, according to eSentire analysis.

 

Between January 1 and March 31, the eSentire SOC detected nearly 4 million attacks across multiple industries, with finance, technology, legal, mining and retail seeing the most activity.

 

Scanning/information gathering and intrusion attempts dominated the data trends; together, they represented 75% of signals for Q1, with malicious code trailing at 11%. Scanning events were particularly active in the month of March, nearly doubling. This made it the dominant threat type in Q1 when compared to 2016, when intrusion attempts were most prominent.

 

“These changes in threat type volume indicate an increase in information-gathering as attackers regroup to determine the best methods of attack going forward,” the firm said in the report.

 

March also saw an increase in the use of malicious code, while denial-of-service attacks saw a slight decline.

 

“As exploitation becomes more costly for attackers, analysts are observing a gradual transition to tactics that rely on social engineering,” eSentire said. “This includes phishing, spam and webpages that manipulate users into installing malware on their computer or divulging confidential information.”

 

Interestingly, analysis of weekday threat activity suggests that some threat activity is comprised of business models that respect the traditional work week, indicating an organization or structured threat actor. Malicious code was particularly active Tuesday through Thursday, and scanning and fraud both saw reduced activity during the weekends. Intrusion attempts and DDoS seem to have no clear weekday preference.

 

https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/q1-sees-rapid-increase-in/

 

Written by Tara Seals US/North America News Reporter, Infosecurity Magazine

 

Picture credit: informationsecuritybuzz.com

 

Microtechs 24/7/365 White label Technical Helpdesk

 

In today's world, a rock solid IT infrastructure is key to every successful business. At Microtechs we have the experience and resource to ensure your company has the support it needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are able to provide an immediate response from our state of the art Technical Operations Centre which is based in the heart of Surrey.

 

 

 

With our rapidly expanding team, all specifically trained, working 24/7/365, we are able to provide excellent customer service and technical support. All of our services are available completely white labelled, ensuring a seamless extension to your company.

 

Through our services you are able to extend your hours to 24/7 or simply use us as an over flow assistant during office hours. This is all tailored to your business needs.  

 

 

 

How does Outsourcing your helpdesk benefit your business?

 

  1. It reduces your staffing costs. Why hire another member of staff, if you can outsource all of your calls for less? We are normally between 25-50% cheaper than an in-house option.

  2. It expands your opening hours. We have a technical operations centre which is open 24/7/365.

  3. It will improve your customer experience. Are you taking multiple calls from clients, but can’t get back to them as quick as you would like? Well now you have a team of 30 staff taking your support calls for you. Have an important meetings? No problem, your helpdesk has your back.

     

    We work with over 60 IT & Telecoms Businesses who trust us to deal day to day with their clients.

     

    Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

 

Call us now on 01483 407417

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_future-of-the-internet.png

 

To tackle this all-important question in the Digital Age, the research Institute IMDEA Networks, in collaboration with University Carlos III of Madrid, has just celebrated its 9th Annual Workshop under the motto: "Enabling future internet applications: networking, privacy and security challenges."

 

It is expected that by 2020 there will be over 50 billion devices connected to the Internet with powerful sensing and computing capabilities attached to them. This will enable the visions of the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart environments in which people, things, devices and actuators will constantly interact with each other, blurring the differences between the cyber and the physical worlds. However, there is no clear picture yet about what the future Internet will look like. Current stakeholders (including ISPs, CDNs and cloud providers) as well as new players will have to adapt to new applications and networking paradigms. This will require them to anticipate and face a wide range of unknown challenges, stemming from the need to efficiently interconnect heterogeneous devices while guaranteeing service, security and users' privacy.

 

The 9th Annual IMDEA Networks Workshop that has taken place on June 7th and 8th 2017 at University Carlos III of Madrid, has brought together industry players, practitioners and academic researchers to share experiences, discuss technological trends, present recent advances and confront the societal, economic, technological and security challenges to be addressed in order to make the future Internet a reality.

 

The event program included talks from industrial and academic experts, who discussed privacy and security aspects of current technologies, such as the Internet of Things and mobile computing, as well as the importance of promoting transparency and developing new regulatory frameworks to protect users against malicious agents and online abuse.

 

The workshop also covered how different stakeholders have to adapt to the evolving nature of the Internet, and to the requirements of new business cases and emerging technologies.

 

Story Source:

 

Materials provided by IMDEA Networks Institute. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170609103832.htm

 

Picture credit webforum.org

 

Microtechs 24/7/365 White label Technical Helpdesk

 

In today's world, a rock solid IT infrastructure is key to every successful business. At Microtechs we have the experience and resource to ensure your company has the support it needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are able to provide an immediate response from our state of the art Technical Operations Centre which is based in the heart of Surrey.

 

 

 

With our rapidly expanding team, all specifically trained, working 24/7/365, we are able to provide excellent customer service and technical support. All of our services are available completely white labelled, ensuring a seamless extension to your company.

 

Through our services you are able to extend your hours to 24/7 or simply use us as an over flow assistant during office hours. This is all tailored to your business needs.  

 

 

 

How does Outsourcing your helpdesk benefit your business?

 

  1. It reduces your staffing costs. Why hire another member of staff, if you can outsource all of your calls for less? We are normally between 25-50% cheaper than an in-house option.

  2. It expands your opening hours. We have a technical operations centre which is open 24/7/365.

  3. It will improve your customer experience. Are you taking multiple calls from clients, but can’t get back to them as quick as you would like? Well now you have a team of 30 staff taking your support calls for you. Have an important meetings? No problem, your helpdesk has your back.

     

    We work with over 60 IT & Telecoms Businesses who trust us to deal day to day with their clients.

     

    Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

 

Call us now on 01483 407417

 

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_World-Internet.jpg

Speaking at Infosecurity Europe 2017 today Bruce Schneier, security technologist, talked about automation and its impact on the future of information security.

 

Written by Michael Hill Deputy Editor , Infosecurity Magazine

 

“Everything is becoming a computer, and that’s the way we need to think about the world,” said Schneier, adding that as we make devices more connected with greater levels of power “computer security becomes everything security” and grows more applicable to the physical world.

 

 

 

“The internet now senses, thinks and acts,” he said. “What’s interesting to me about that is that’s the classic definition of a robot. The correct way to think about the Internet of Things (IoT), and internet in general, is that we are building a world-sized robot, without even realizing it – but it’s a robot not in a classical sense.”

 

 

 

That’s because the ever-connected world we are building on the internet is a distributed robot, Schneier added, which is not centrally controlled and does not have a singular goal or consciousness, and it’s not something that’s deliberately designed.

 

 

 

“Think of it as smart things that affect the world in a direct and physical manner” and this is what’s eating the world, he claimed. The problem is, with the IoT and cyber-physical systems such autonomous cars, medical devices and power stations, the real-world consequences can be far greater when things go wrong than they have been in the past with traditional computer security.

 

 

 

Schneier argued that security problems that have always impacted the internet will relate to the physical world more, and his guess was that “we are not going to solve them anytime soon.

 

 

 

“Until now, we’ve mostly left computer security to the market, and that’s worked mostly OK, not great, and we have been OK with imperfect solutions because the effects of failure just weren’t that great. That’s changing, and that will force us to change.

 

 

 

“We are going to get government intervention here, because the market will not fix these problems by itself. Companies do not do this by themselves; they need government to force them.

 

 

 

“It will just take one disaster before government will do something [with regulation], and they will do the thing they can grab the quickest, and we have to make sure it’s something that is smart,” Schneier concluded.

 

https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/omputer-security-becoming/

 

Picture credit: trendmicro.com

 

Microtechs 24/7/365 White label Technical Helpdesk

 

In today's world, a rock solid IT infrastructure is key to every successful business. At Microtechs we have the experience and resource to ensure your company has the support it needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are able to provide an immediate response from our state of the art Technical Operations Centre which is based in the heart of Surrey.

 

 

 

With our rapidly expanding team, all specifically trained, working 24/7/365, we are able to provide excellent customer service and technical support. All of our services are available completely white labelled, ensuring a seamless extension to your company.

 

Through our services you are able to extend your hours to 24/7 or simply use us as an over flow assistant during office hours. This is all tailored to your business needs.  

 

 

 

How does Outsourcing your helpdesk benefit your business?

 

  1. It reduces your staffing costs. Why hire another member of staff, if you can outsource all of your calls for less? We are normally between 25-50% cheaper than an in-house option.

  2. It expands your opening hours. We have a technical operations centre which is open 24/7/365.

  3. It will improve your customer experience. Are you taking multiple calls from clients, but can’t get back to them as quick as you would like? Well now you have a team of 30 staff taking your support calls for you. Have an important meetings? No problem, your helpdesk has your back.

     

    We work with over 60 IT & Telecoms Businesses who trust us to deal day to day with their clients.

     

    Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

    Call us now on 01483 407417

     

 

 

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_alex-puregger.JPG

 

Since its birth in 1985, the Wi-Fi “industry” has grown exponentially. Although originally designed to replace Ethernet cables in local computer networks, nowadays Wi-Fi’s use is ubiquitous. Fon, a carrier Wi-Fi provider, believes that Wi-Fi has to be an integrated and customer-centric technology.

 

Here, Alex Puregger, CEO at Fon, highlights seven key points that will define the Wi-Fi revolution in the coming years:

 

1. Wi-Fi Offloading will increase dramatically as mobile data traffic booms fueled by video. Cisco expects a sevenfold increase in growth of mobile data traffic by 2021, and more than 60% of traffic will be offloaded this year via Wi-Fi networks.

 

2. Driven by carrier Wi-Fi managed hotspots, the number of hotspots will grow exponentially. The number of carrier-grade hotspots will soon outnumber other access points installed, a significant step forward for the convergence of cellular and Wi-Fi. Today there are close to 100 million hotspots globally, and Cisco expects more than 500 million by 2021.

 

3. Leveraging Wi-Fi for neutral host deployments in highly frequented spaces. Wi-Fi infrastructure already exists in the majority of these locations, such as arenas, malls, and airports, so it will be a win-win solution for all involved parties. Host providers, mobile operators, and venue owners can all take advantage of the cost savings and the efficiency of sharing infrastructure. Wi-Fi also enables a lot of value-added services such as proximity marketing, indoor positioning, advertising, and analytics.

 

4. Network Functions Virtualisation will impact the Wi-Fi ecosystem. The separation of Wi-Fi software from hardware functions, and provisioning from a centralised management plane, will lead to many advantages. The most sought-after benefit, service agility, will enable quick commissioning and decommissioning of new services.

 

5. Wi-Fi will be essential for IoT connectivity. According to the WBA, during the last year, more than 85% of companies have increased the priority level of IoT on their roadmap. Wi-Fi will be the technology of choice for any higher bandwidth requirements.

 

6. Home Wi-Fi will be the basic battleground for the Connected Home. A significant proportion of consumers are dissatisfied with the quality of their Wi-Fi connection at home. ISPs are challenged to address the issues effectively or new players will win in that field.

 

7. The Wi-Fi disruption by over-the-top (OTT) players has only just begun. Google, Amazon, and Facebook, among others, are entering the Wi-Fi space. Through different approaches, they intend to improve overall Wi-Fi usability, use Wi-Fi to bring internet to the next billion people, and offer WiFi solutions with a customer-centric and data analytics-driven approach.

 

With these trends in mind, Fon has evolved its Wi-Fi Service Management Solution, providing Communications Service Providers (CSPs) with the necessary end-to-end functionality needed to deploy and manage Wi-Fi services and unlock new business potential.

 

The carrier-grade solution enables CSPs to deliver Wi-Fi services that are managed just like cellular and fixed services, helping them to differentiate and achieve business goals through multiple use cases, such as Wi-Fi Offload, Wi-Fi Calling, and WiFi Monetisation, and Wi-Fi as a Service, with advanced guest Wi-Fi functionalities.

 

On the other hand, Fon’s Enhanced Connectivity Solution allows CSPs to offer an always-best-connected experience for their users by connecting them automatically to the best network available. The solution collects valuable data, that gives operators complete visibility of network performance from the perspective of the end-consumer.

 

The author of this blog is Alex Puregger, CEO at Fon

 

Microtechs Specialist White label Wi-Fi Support

 

Supporting some of the largest Wi-Fi providers in the UK, Microtechs prides itself with the ability to adapt between end user and staff support. Constantly monitoring staffing levels, to ensure seasonal fluctuations do not affect our service levels.

 

Some of our clients include major UK airports, hotel chains, holiday parks and shopping centres.

 

Manufacturers and distributors of Wi-Fi and other cloud based products, also use our helpdesk to provide support to a wide range of resellers.

 

Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

 

Call us now on 01483 407417

 

 

 

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_5G.png

When it rolls out in 2020, 5G will mean faster, more efficient, and more widespread internet access for your smartphone. But with fixed wireless broadband, 5G technology is also set to revolutionise home broadband. So what is fixed wireless broadband?

 

What is fixed wireless broadband?

 

Fixed wireless broadband is a way for homes and businesses to connect to the internet over the airwaves using mobile network technology, rather than a physical connection through traditional fibre-optic or copper wiring.

 

A number of companies currently offer fixed wireless broadband services using existing 4G network technology, though these services are necessarily limited at present, as we shall go on to discuss.

 

Typically this use of mobile network technology covers the so-called ‘final mile’ between an existing fibre-optic network and the customer’s premises - though the actual distances involved can vary drastically.

 

Advantages of fixed wireless broadband

 

At present, the vast majority of us connect to the internet in our homes through physical connections. The fastest broadband connections available require fibre-optic cable to laid between a home or business and the main network.

 

Laying, maintaining, and upgrading this fibre-optic wiring is a costly and time-consuming process for telecommunications companies - and it’s not always logistically viable. Fixed wireless broadband takes virtually all of the pain out of this process, as there’s virtually no set-up or disruption required at the customer’s end. All they need to do is plug in a wireless router, and they’re away.

 

It also means that even areas that lack the requisite physical lines to support a traditional set-up can access superfast broadband.

 

Disadvantages of fixed wireless broadband

 

The key disadvantage of fixed wireless broadband as it stands is one of performance. With 4G network technology, download and upload speeds generally can’t match those of a decent fixed-line broadband connection.

 

Another performance shortfall with 4G fixed wireless broadband services can be latency. This means the response time between issuing a command to initiate an online service - starting a Netflix video, for example - and that service actually commencing. While ‘real-time’ activities such as VoIP calls and online gaming over current fixed wireless broadband services are viable with fixed wireless broadband, they remain better suited to fixed-line setups.

 

4G network connections are also relatively poor when it comes to traffic management. If there are lots of people using the network within a small radius, performance suffers, making any 4G-based fixed wireless broadband potentially unreliable.

 

Finally, fixed wireless broadband’s use of existing mobile networks means that the relative cost of data usage is much higher than with fixed-line broadband.

 

Enter 5G

 

As you’ve no doubt noticed, all of the aforementioned issues with fixed wireless broadband relate to the 4G network technology that currently supports it. With the arrival of 5G in 2020, those issues should become a thing of the past.

 

Indeed, it’s widely predicted that 5G network technology will see an explosion in fixed wireless broadband, to the point where fixed-line broadband could become irrelevant.

 

5G will bring about gigabit internet speeds that are considerably faster than current fixed-line standards, as well as the low latency and higher capacity that 4G lacks. It’s expected that 5G network technology will have access to far greater bandwidth and will be much smarter with traffic allocation too, so multiple premises within an area will all be able to hook up to the internet wirelessly without any disruption.

 

Many mobile operators are expecting 5G fixed wireless broadband services to be a key driver in early 5G network adoption for its ability to solve the aforementioned ‘final mile’ issues, as well as its ability to be phased in alongside existing fibre and 4G networks. Indeed, these services are expected to start rolling out in some form in 2017, well ahead of 5G’s predicted 2020 public rollout.

 

Existing fixed wireless broadband services

 

There are numerous fixed wireless broadband services currently in operation, but few offer comprehensive coverage, and all suffer speed and data allowance limitations when compared to an average fixed-line broadband service. Two of the more recognisable UK names to be involved are EE and Three.

 

It recently emerged that UK network Three is planning to roll out its own fixed wireless broadband service in UK cities over the next three years. Three is currently in the process of acquiring fixed wireless 4G operator UK Broadband Ltd for £250 million.

 

UK Broadband Limited currently runs the Relish ISP, which provides central London with an ‘up to 40Mbps’ fixed wireless broadband service using 4G LTE network technology for £20 per month. Three would reportedly expand that service to cover 40 percent of the country using its own mobile network.

 

The UK’s biggest mobile network EE started rolling out its own fixed wireless broadband service called 4G Home Broadband in 2013. This currently offers 50GB of data per month for £40 per month.

 

https://5g.co.uk/guides/what-is-fixed-wireless-broadband/

 

Picture credit: www.economist.com

 

Microtechs Specialist White label Wi-Fi Support

 

Supporting some of the largest Wi-Fi providers in the UK, Microtechs prides itself with the ability to adapt between end user and staff support. Constantly monitoring staffing levels, to ensure seasonal fluctuations do not affect our service levels.

 

Some of our clients include major UK airports, hotel chains, holiday parks and shopping centres.

 

Manufacturers and distributors of Wi-Fi and other cloud based products, also use our helpdesk to provide support to a wide range of resellers.

 

Feel free to call our friendly solutions team, who will be happy to discuss further and help tailor a solution to you.

 

Call us now on 01483 407417

 

Toyota shows robotic leg brace

 

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota is introducing a wearable robotic leg brace designed to help partially paralyzed people walk.

The Welwalk WW-1000 system is made up of a motorized mechanical frame that fits on a person's leg from the knee down. The patients can practice walking wearing the robotic device on a special treadmill that can support their weight.

Toyota Motor Corp. demonstrated the equipment for reporters at its Tokyo headquarters on Wednesday.

One hundred such systems will be rented to medical facilities in Japan later this year, Toyota said. The service entails a one-time initial charge of 1 million yen ($9,000) and a 350,000 yen ($3,200) monthly fee.

The gadget is designed to be worn on one leg at a time for patients severely paralyzed on one side of the body due to a stroke or other ailments, Eiichi Saito, a medical doctor and executive vice president at Fujita Health University, explained.

The university joined with Toyota in developing the device.

A person demonstrating it strapped the brace to her thigh, knee, ankle and foot and then showed how it is used to practice walking on the treadmill. Her body was supported from above by a harness and the motor helped to bend and straighten her knee. Sensors in the device monitor the walking and adjust quickly to help out. Medical staff control the system through a touch panel screen.

Japanese automakers have been developing robotics both for manufacturing and other uses. Honda Motor Co.'s Asimo humanoid can run and dance, pour a drink and carry on simple conversations, while WelWalk is more of a system that uses robotics than a stand-alone robot.

Given how common paralysis due to strokes is in fast-aging Japan, Toyota's device could be very helpful, Saito said. He said patients using it can recover more quickly as the sensitive robotic sensor in Welwalk fine-tunes the level of support better than a human therapist can.

"This helps just barely enough," said Saito, explaining that helping too much can slow progress in rehabilitation.

The field of robotic aids for walking and rehabilitation is growing quickly. A battery-powered wearable exoskeleton made by Israeli manufacturer ReWalk Robotics enables people relying on a wheelchair to stand upright and walk.

Such systems also can aid therapists in monitoring a patient's progress, Luke Hares, chief technology officer at Cambridge Medical Robotics in Britain, said in a phone interview.

"They can be so much more precise," he said.

Previously, Toyota has shown robots that play the violin and trumpet. It plans to start sales in Japan of a tiny boy-like robot for conversational companionship. It is also investing in artificial intelligence and developing self-driving vehicles.

Toshiyuki Isobe, Toyota's chief officer for research, said Welwalk reflects the company's desire to apply robotics in medicine and other social welfare areas, not just entertainment. The company also has an R2-D2-like machine, called the Human Support Robot, whose mechanical arm can help bed-ridden people pick things up.

"Our vision is about trying to deliver mobility for everybody," said Isobe. "We have been developing industrial robotics for auto manufacturing, and we are trying to figure out how we can use that technology to fill social needs and help people more."

 

 

http://www.mbtmag.com/news/2017/04/toyota-shows-robotic-leg-brace-help-paralyzed-people-walk

 

 

How can AI really benefit your business?

 

 

A few years ago, Artificial Intelligence (AI) would be regarded with suspicion by many businesses, perhaps considered a fad which would deliver few benefits. Nowadays, it’s becoming increasingly mainstream, and is encoded into many applications without most of us realising, even the predictive keyboard on our Smartphones.

This is just a glimpse of the potential of AI, which can genuinely save your business time and money, but how? For an SME in any sector, knowing your customer and cutting down on admin are surely business priorities. AI can help with both of these things.

Artificial Intelligence has already proven effective at automating repetitive tasks such as inputting data with smart CRMs, whilst workflows can automate otherwise time consuming processes so you can cut down on administration time and focus on running your business. Many SMEs currently embrace such time saving tools, possibly without realising the role AI has to play.

How can AI help?

AI is also incredibly useful to manage the sales process, with tasks like finding new customers, taking notes and even sales progression easily automated, but in a sophisticated enough way for quality of service not to be negatively impacted.

Salesforce is a well- known example, and they’ve been actively publicising how their smart CRMs are becoming even more intelligent in design. These systems can even guess how customers feel about a company and how likely they are to leave or change services; this can be guessed by the tone of emails alone.

Smart CRMs also have a role to play in recruitment, with AI successfully matching candidates to jobs, arranging interviews or adding candidates to mailing lists automatically. Textio is a good example of a recruitment tool which uses AI, helping companies write better job listings to attract talent, analysing every word to determine the listings’ attractiveness and suitability and offering tips on how to improve it and even eliminate bias.

What does it mean for the customer

Uncovering insights into your customer base is another key benefit of embedding AI into your systems. It helps identify what you can offer customers to improve their experience, and can even predict failures before they happen, as well as identifying future needs. It helps you suss out your next move and tell you where to focus your energy.

It also helps you ensure you’re targeting the most relevant people, and can pool insights from a variety of sources including social media and more broadly, the Internet of Things – so you have a more complete picture of your customer than you’ve ever had before.

Essentially, Artificial Intelligence has implications for every aspect of a business. It allows sales teams to anticipate opportunities and focus on the strongest and most relevant lead. It allows customer service teams to deliver a far more proactive service; they’re not just there at the end of a phone when something goes wrong or when a customer has a question because AI allows them to predict product failure and anticipate those questions before they’ve even been asked.

From a marketing perspective, AI allows you to build a more personalised experience for every customer which is crucial in today’s fiercely competitive ‘customer age’. AI and IT can also work in harmony to embed intelligence across the business, creating smarter systems for both internal and external use.

The future for AI and businesses of all sizes looks particularly exciting. It has the potential to do things like automatically organise your inbox, allow calendars to organise every aspect of a business meeting and act as a sophisticated personal assistant. It will also become integral to security, with the more widespread adoption of voice and image recognition for authentication, and the use of AI to predict breaches before they happen.

These business benefits might feel a long way off, but when you consider the rate at which AI is evolving and infiltrating our everyday lives without us giving it too much thought, it, it’s clear that smart businesses could be enjoying the time and money saving impact of AI in the not too distant future.

 

http://smallbusiness.co.uk/can-ai-really-benefit-business-2538654/

3 Ways To Reduce Your First Response Time

 

 

People don’t like waiting.

That’s why we have FastPasseselectronic tolls, and moving walkways.

And people really don’t like waiting to have their problems solved.

That’s why customer service teams have live chat, knowledge bases, and community forums.

And it’s why first response time is so important.

What is first response time?

First response time (also called first reply time) is the number of minutes (or hours) elapsed between the time a customer submits a case and the time a customer service rep responds to the customer. It’s best measured in business hours, so you’re not penalized for time off the clock.

How is it calculated?

Average first response time is calculated by — you guessed it — taking the total of all your first response times and dividing it by the number of cases resolved to find the mean. If your data is skewed by anomalous cases, it can be useful to calculate the median instead of the mean.

Why does it matter?

Research from Zendesk has shown that, to no one’s surprise, first response time correlates with customer satisfaction. In other words, the lower your first response time, the more satisfied your customers will be. But if customers have to wait around for you to respond, they’re not going to be so happy. It’s common sense.

Many businesses create SLAs to assure their customers that they will respond to cases within a certain amount of time. This is a way of holding businesses accountable for getting back to customers within a reasonable time frame. It’s critical for customer service teams to hold up their end of the bargain by hitting their SLA. Badly missing your SLA can (and does) result in lost customers.

First response time also reflects your team’s efficiency, like first contact resolution and time to resolution. If you are responding to customers within minutes, keep it up! But if it takes you a day or two to respond to customers, you need to step up your game.

 

How should it be analyzed?

You should analyze the trend of your average first response time to see if it’s increasing or decreasing. Ideally, it should decrease over time, meaning that you’re responding to customers faster.

It’s important to compare your average first response time to your SLA target so you can make sure that you’re regularly hitting your SLA. In the chart below, you can see that the average first response time is well above the SLA target from Aug ‘14 – Oct ‘14. This is a red flag. If you’re not coming close to your SLA target, you need to: (1) know about it, and (2) do something about it.

 

How can you reduce first response time?

If you’re having trouble hitting your SLA, there are a few ways you can get back on track.

1. Coaching and Training

First, you should break down your average first response time by employee to see which reps take the longest to respond to customers. Maybe everyone on your team is consistently hitting your SLA target except for one rep. In this case, you can fix the problem by coaching the rep who’s struggling to keep up with the rest. Find out what’s slowing them down and suggest ways they can improve their workflow. This is something you might want to bring up during your customer service performance reviews.

If there is a group of reps that seems to be straggling, then you should consider conducting a training session. This will help you get everyone on the same page about how and when to respond to case submissions. It will also remind your reps that first response time is a metric that your team is striving to optimize.

2. Adding Communication Channels

If you really want to put a dent in your first response time, you might need to take somewhat drastic measures. One way to do this is by upgrading your online communication channels. Many customer service teams get by with a phone line, web-based chat, and a simple FAQ section. You can stand out from the crowd — and decrease your first response time, more importantly — by adding other customer service channels on your website to give your customers more options.

Implementing live chat is a surefire way to decrease your first response time. This will empower some of your reps to respond to customer inquiries within seconds.

Creating a detailed public knowledge base will also help you respond to customers more quickly. By writing thorough responses to commonly encountered problems, you’re providing customers with a valuable resource that can resolve their problems even when you’re not around.

Another method to consider is adding a community forum to record and publicize your conversations with customers. Like a public knowledge base, this will create a library where your customers can go to find resolutions to their problems. It also gives your users the opportunity to help out other users, essentially doing your work for you! WordPress is a great example of this.

 

 

 

3. Scheduling

If you have a high volume of cases being submitted during non-business hours and on weekends, you might want to consider rescheduling shifts. This can be especially useful if you have customers in other time zones. You should look at case submissions by time to find out when customers are reaching out to you most frequently.

If there are certain times when customers are submitting a lot of cases, but you’re off the clock, you should make an effort to make your team available. Being available more often will be both noticed and appreciated by your customers.

 

No matter the size of your customer service team, you need to be tracking your average first response time. Not only is it important for keeping tabs on your SLA, but it will also help you increase customer satisfaction.

Customers don’t want to wait around for you all day. You need to engage with them as soon as you can, or you’ll risk losing their business.

 

 

 

http://insightsquared.wpengine.com/2015/05/3-ways-to-reduce-your-first-response-time/

 

Here at microtechs we specialise in outsourced help desk solutions, for more information call us today on 01483407417

5 Easy Ways to Improve Customer Experience in Call Centers

Deepanshu Gahlaut

deepanshugahlaut

Digital Marketer and Technical Content Writer

CloudSpace Technologies

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·         Customer experience management

 12th Jan 2016

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Call centers are the backbone of today’s market. Every business has a call center to deal with the clients’ issues. A well-managed and efficient call center can help a long way in making the business get more clients and retain the existing ones. They are directly responsible for maintaining the company’s image in the eyes of the target clientele and thus can make or break the business.

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Call centers deal with clients directly. There are no communication intermediaries. On one side, there is the customer and on the other is the calling agent. This is why in the customer’s eyes the agent represents everything about the company. Because of this, the agent should make sure that the service he is delivering is of the best quality.

Making sure that the customer is satisfied at the end of the call is no easy task. Humans are highly unpredictable creatures and thus, each interaction is unique. The same strategies that worked with one customer might end up negatively affecting another. While there are no sure shot algorithms or formulas to deliver the best customer experience, there are a few tried and tested methods that can make sure that the interaction is a positive one, both for the customer as well as the agent.

Here are 5 easy steps for improving the experience of the customers interacting with a call center:

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1. Minimum On-Hold Times during Calls

Nobody likes being put on hold during calls. While it is mildly annoying when an acquaintance or a family member does it, it becomes downright infuriating when a call center agent does it. The customers wouldn’t care if their issues actually need time to be resolved and the agent can’t help but make them wait.  Most customers feel that a call center should be a one-stop solution for all their problems. They don’t see the company as an organization having different sections. They see it is a single monolithic structure and thus, can’t help but feel angry when an agent puts them on hold because he needs to contact the support team immediately.

While eliminating waiting time is an impossibility, at least in the current time, there are many practices that companies can employ that the on-hold time becomes as less as possible. Shorter waiting time keeps the customers happy and ends up making them a lot more satisfied with the services.

2. Efficient Call Flow Management

Call centers get a lot of calls. That’s what they are there to do, handle and make calls. However, if there is no proper system to manage all the calls everything will go to bust. A single hour of overflow might end up tearing the reputation of your company to shreds. It is necessary that there are measures in place that can manage the call traffic and redirect the calls to the necessary extensions.

It is very common that the customer has an issue which the agent cannot resolve by his lonesome. Different agents have different jobs and one should not expect a single agent to know everything. Proper call center software should be installed in order to make sure that the correct calls are forwarded to the agents who are equipped to handle them. This makes the interaction more fulfilling for both the caller as well as the agent.

3. Happy Calling Agents

Nobody can be expected to work at their best if they aren’t happy with the work. The same applies to calling agents as well. However unlike other jobs, an unhappy agent can directly influence the customer’s view of the company. A frustrated agent might answer calls in a rough or impolite way that can create a very negative impact for the company. Even if he is doing everything the customer wants him to and doing it quickly too, a bad attitude may end up making all his efforts futile.

Companies should ensure that their agents are happy with their work as well as the working environment. There should be measures put in place that keep the workers happy and satisfied. If anybody has any problems or difficulties there should be proper channels in place to help them talk to their seniors in order to rectify them. A happy agent is a productive agent.

4. Proper CEM integration

CEM (Customer Experience Management) is a set of tools that helps in monitoring and analyzing customer interaction. While many companies prefer not giving much attention on analytics, most successful companies have a well-established CEM program up and running. There are a lot of factors involved in customer interactions that have to be taken into account before making an efficient business strategy.

With a proper CEM integration in the call center software, a company can easily find out the needs of its customers, the more frequent problems they are facing and the best ways of how to deal with them. The monitoring and analysis of their calls are essential in driving business to provide the best customer satisfaction.

5. Listening to the Customers

The easiest solutions are always the most ignored ones. Most businesses opt to listen to market analysis, professional reports, and other official-sounding data when making campaign plans. What they fail to realize is that the simplest way to make customers happy is to give them what they are asking for. And who knows what the customers want? The customers themselves, obviously.

Call centers should ensure that they give due attention to customers’ demand. They should listen to their needs and value their feedbacks. By streamlining business plans according to the wants of the customers, a company can ensure not only positive growth but maximized customer satisfaction as well.

Conclusion

Customer satisfaction is not something that should be taken lightly by any company. As everybody knows the best advertisement is the one from the mouths of the customer and that can’t be achieved unless the customer is completely satisfied with the experience he or she had whilst interacting with the company. With a proper plan and detailed protocols, making customers happy and satisfied is not much of a problem; the only thing to focus on is that it should be given the priority it deserves. Happy and satisfied customers are the difference between success and failure of any business.

http://www.mycustomer.com/community/blogs/deepanshugahlaut/5-easy-ways-to-improve-customer-experience-in-call-centers

 

 

Here at microtechs we offer a 24/7 outsourced support desk - for more information call us today on 01483407417

Four benefits from outsourcing your IT service desk

 

Supporting your organisation’s IT infrastructure with an internal service desk has become increasingly difficult. Technology is constantly changing, so keeping employees up-to-date with product training – in addition to general staffing and employment costs – can be a large burden, both financially and time-wise, for IT departments.

For organisations that can’t operate a full-fledged service desk while keeping up with the demands of technology changes and innovation, an outsourced service desk can reduce IT overheads to help shift the department’s focus onto core business.

In this post, we look at four benefits your business can gain from outsourcing its IT service desk.

1. Optimised resources

Providing round-the-clock IT support to your workforce is expensive. Depending on your business’s size, this may require dedicated facilities with additional running and maintenance costs. If you operate a mobile workforce or your employees work outside of the standard working hours, you may require the support desk to operate out-of-hours support, which could mean additional employment or increased wages.

Outsourcing to an IT provider offers great economies of scale. If you want to improve your level of support, your fee may increase, but you will not require new resources to facilitate the upgrade.

2. Access to IT professionals with increased product knowledge

As most IT professionals know, IT is one of the fastest changing markets around. IT professionals from all types of businesses are required to frequently update their product knowledge to offer the best possible service and support.

Training employees to support your range of technologies is time-consuming and costly. It requires vendor training during working hours, which would temporarily remove your IT team from their day-to-day duties. Because a business will usually opt to keep the business running smoothly versus having staff spend time in training, internal IT teams will often have less product knowledge than that of an outsourced team.

3. Improved efficiency

For both small businesses and enterprises, having dedicated support is not always efficient. IT departments are often limited on recruitment and resources, and assigning employees to provide support to internal staff or customers can take the department’s focus away from advancing the business’s technology.

An outsourced service desk not only allows your IT department to focus on innovation, but it also allows you to improve the efficiency of your department. Advanced reporting and call logging will enable your business to discover where potential problems are sourced and help improve productivity.

4. Guaranteed response and fix times

With an internal IT desk, there can be no guarantee of how quickly an issue will be resolved. When your helpdesk can’t find or fix an issue, you’re losing valuable time and money.

Outsourced IT helpdesk teams can provide guarantees called service level agreements (SLAs). SLAs may come in the form of a certain response time or fix time frame. Some providers even offer compensation if they do not achieve the contracted levels.

The choice to outsource a key department can sometimes be daunting. Management often fears losing control or facing higher-than-expected fees after a contract has been signed.

Choosing the correct IT provider is important. Carefully assess potential providers and find one with experience in managing an organisation similar to yours.

 

http://www.itspecialists.uk.com/four-benefits-from-outsourcing-your-it-service-desk/

 

Microtechs is one of the UK's leading providers of outsourced IT - for more information or to utilise our support centre, call us today on 01483407417

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