Winner winner…

Two cheerful young people using computer and celebrating their success.

To kick off the holidays we just want to say a big thank you to all of our customers who rely on Rescue, especially during this sometimes-stressful season. As a token of our appreciation we wanted to give back to some top technicians.

At the beginning of November we kicked off a campaign where managers or coworkers could nominate top support technicians they feel go above and beyond day in and day out. So today we are here to thank – and brag about – some of the top LogMeIn Rescue technicians!

Grand Prize Winner:

Nominated by her Manager Chad at Command Central

Kathy uses Rescue to support our customers who need help and guidance with a complicated software product. Her dedication and patience with one particular customer has made all the difference in making sure the customer is able to perform their job in pressure situations. Kathy has spent hours using Rescue to do so.”

Additional Winners:

Nominated by Adelmo at CharEm ISD

Mike is always going up and beyond what the customer thinks they want. He will arrive early or is always staying late to accommodate our staff. He is very knowledgeable and uses that knowledge as his strength.”

Nominated by Jeff at Evenflo

Braden is a bright star in our IT Support staff. He continually provides fast, friendly and efficient support to any user in our organization. We were recently purchased by another company, and he jumped all in to make sure we could support multiple new users in multiple sites in the US.”

Nominated by Raju at Securifi Inc.

Mirza is incredibly awesome in going the extra mile and making sure his customer is happy at the end of the day. He has proven that in many instances. He is very much a hard working person, who always ensures every customer is important for the company, for his team and for himself. It doesn’t matter if it’s his first call at the 9th or 10th hour, he has the same energy.”

Nominated by her Manager Rob at Affiliated Foods Midwest

Paula is awesome. She has been working for me for about 3 years now. She provides very good customer support, and completes all assigned tasks/duties completed effectively & efficiently.”

We received many more great testimonies of Rescue technicians going above and beyond. As we continue to evolve to meet your support needs, we want to say thank you!

         

The Business Pivot: Why Customer Retention is Key

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With ever-evolving markets being a constant challenge, companies are working tirelessly to stay ahead of the competition.  Many have begun to embrace change by pivoting – making a sharp shift in the direction of their business – and some have done so with great success.

The most famous contemporary pivot is probably Twitter, which transformed from an iTunes-like podcast repository to today’s ubiquitous micro-blogging behemoth. Other notable pivots include Groupon, originally a fundraising site; Nokia, which started out life as a paper mill; and Wrigley, which pivoted from soap producer offering a stick of gum inside each box to a chewing gum company.

Companies reinvent themselves for a number of reasons.  Some do it to stay relevant in a constantly changing market, while others make the change as the result of understanding of your customer needs. For example, David McConnell, a book salesman, found that his mostly female clientele were more interested in the free perfume samples than the books he tried to sell door to door. Pretty soon, Avon was calling.

Reinventing yourself is not a decision that should be taken lightly.  It can be extremely risky, but also can be extremely rewarding.  When considering whether a pivot makes sense for your organization you should ask yourselves a few questions:

  • Does it make sense for your company to reinvent itself?
  • What are your main reasons for the change?
  • Are you in a position, financially or otherwise, to take a risk?
  • How do we do it without losing customers or market credibility?

While all of these questions are extremely important, I would argue that customer retention is the most critical. You worked hard to gain the trust and loyalty of your customers and the last thing you want to do is lose them in the transition. Keep your customers informed of plans, talk to them about why this is important and how it will help you provide better products and services.  Give them an opportunity to provide input, and once the transition is in place, continually keep your ear to the ground so you know how they feel about it.  Helping your current customers feel part of your journey is the best way to keep them loyal while opening opportunity for additional customers.

One of the best ways to keep your customer base updated is through your customer engagement organization.  Customer service representatives should be trained to have an open and caring dialogue with customers to answer questions and acknowledge comments.  Customer engagement and support tools are a great way to keep to ensure constant contact with customers no matter where they are.  If part of your pivot plans include rolling out a new product modern tools like remote access can help you provide excellent education and support for your customers as they get acquainted with the new product.

Done well, a pivot – or several pivots – can lead a business through changing market conditions to come out a winner.

         

Eyes on the Bottom Line: How to Keep Customer Loyalty & Support Costs Down

It’s an unfortunate reality that no matter how much you try to simplify and bulletproof your product, there are still going to be times when your customers will get stuck and need help.  Below is a list of tips to help you get them unstuck, make your support team more effective, all while keeping costs down.

  1. Steer your customers towards chat: A support tech can only talk to one person at a time, but with chat, they can engage multiple customers. Chat can also speed things along when you have to give the customer a confirmation number or URL – no need to spell things out and risk misunderstandings.
  2. Support your first line staffers: The more incidents handled by your first-line support staff, the lower your costs. Make sure to equip them with extensive reference materials, including FAQs, records of previous sessions and give them opportunities to shadow advanced support. In the long run, this will cut costs, as your first-line staffers will be able to take on more advanced questions.
  3. Make remote control easy:Remote control access to the customer’s computer or device can significantly speed up support calls, but only if you don’t waste time assessing compatibility and forging unique connections for each user. Standardize on remote control software that connects instantly and that works across the board.
  4. Give customers their own reference materials:Help your customers help themselves by giving them their own FAQ, knowledgebase, or forum. This is a great way to get simple questions answered without having bring in support staff.  Just be sure to keep your customers’ technical abilities in mind. Don’t assume that they’ll understand things you do – explain everything like you would your non-technical aunt or grandmother and have the information is easy for them to access, without having to call into support.
  5. Let support work remotely:Today’s professional remote programs let tech staff work from anywhere with an Internet connection. Letting support employees telecommute reduces absences, cuts down on pointless meetings, and encourages employees to stay with your company, reducing hiring and training costs.
  6. Stay in contact with your developers:No one has a better view of user interface flaws than the tech support staff. Create opportunities – an online forum, department meetings – where support staff can describe aspects of your UI that confuse your customers. In the long run, UI improvements will reduce the number of calls, and save money.

Providing excellent customer support is a necessity for a successful business, but delivering the high level of support customers expect can be costly.  The good news is that if you organize and run your support properly, you can keep costs down and provide the best possible support experience for your customers – helping to cement their loyalty.  And that is as good as gold.

         

Five Ways Entrepreneurs Waste Money and How to Plug the Holes

You don’t want to jeopardize your growing business by having your money slip through your fingers. Here are five small and medium businesses money-wasters, and how you can avoid them.

UNDERESTIMATING PROJECT COSTS

You know how it goes, the first 90 percent of the job takes 90 percent of the budget; the remaining 10 percent of the job uses an additional 90 percent of the budget. To avoid massive overages, learn from others. Tap the wisdom and experience of people who’ve worked on similar projects. You might also want to check with experts in budget management, such as the Center for Project Management and Cost Xpert.

FANCY OFFICES

An office is a place of work, not an extension of the owner’s ego – so avoid the expensive art and tropical fish. Worried about clients coming in? They might be just as happy if you came their way. And keep in mind that, with today’s videoconferencing, cloud storage and remote access tools, you may be able to have most/all of your staff work from home, cutting rent entirely out of your budget

OUTSOURCING SERVICE AND SUPPORT

Outsourcing service and support seems like an obvious money-saver, but outsourced support staff are likely be less familiar with your product and less motivated to go above and beyond. So you might want to keep this one in-house. This doesn’t mean you have to build a helpdesk system from scratch. Look for ready-made support software, such as LogMeIn Rescue, that can meet your needs without requiring much up-front investment.

UNNECESSARY OR EXTRAVAGANT BUSINESS TRIPS

Even if you’re a bargain traveler, you may still be spending too much on travel. Ask yourself whether you can handle the business without in-person contact. Between chat and videoconferencing, chances are you can. And if you do have to travel, keep on keeping those costs down. Take public transportation, invest in reliable mobile hardware so you can stay productive and connected, and remember that pricey hotels usually charge more for Wi-Fi than the bargain one, where as often as not Wi-Fi – and breakfast – are free.

HIRING THE WRONG PEOPLE

Don’t rush into hiring anyone, interview carefully, you want more than someone with the right skills. Look for someone who’s enthusiastic, even passionate, about your product. Make sure you can trust their references; or better yet, go with people recommended by those you trust. Catherine Clifford compiled an excellent list of the hiring rules successful entrepreneurs use.

You have to spend money to make money. But if you spend too much, your company may not be around to make anything. Following these tips will help you avoid the money-wasting trap.

         

THREE WAYS TO ENSURE THAT YOUR STARTUP WILL SUCCEED

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As exhilarating as founding a startup can be, the sad fact is that most startups don’t succeed. What causes most startups to fail? We asked three influential SMB consultants for their insights on how to overcome these obstacles.

  1. Plans for growth
    Jackie Nagel, founder of Synnovatia, an SMB consulting firm, believes that “those who struggle with growing their business do so because they are missing 3 critical pieces: a goal for growth, a strategy for growth, and a plan for growth.” (And, no, just wanting to be the next Mark Zuckerberg is not a goal, strategy, or a plan for growth).
    Gary Bizzo, a small business consultant, and author of How to Start a Successful Business – The First Time, faults “CEOitis, where the entrepreneur was great when vision was required in his startup but has quickly realized he is in over his head but won’t or can’t relinquish control,” as a core reason why companies get into trouble. Successful CEOs cultivate self-awareness and acknowledge when their weaknesses may be getting in the way of their company’s growth.

  2. Invest in IT early on
    Gary Bizzo notes that “one of the biggest problems is not building a robust system from the beginning” (underestimating growth and not thinking far enough ahead). Bizzo believes that you should “create systems when starting up as if you were going to be the next McDonalds.” This does not, of course, argue for setting up the infrastructure you’d need to run McDonalds (food permits, industrial fryers, etc.). That’s overkill, and no one’s going to give you’re the money to do it, even if you want to. But it does argue for thinking about what IT you’ll need, and having an idea of how you’re going to scale. (Hint: software-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service let you take advantage of superb technology, with low upfront costs and the ability to grow with you.) And even if you can’t afford all the IT infrastructure in the world, it’s always best to build a tech-savvy staff from the outset.

  3. Hiring practices
    Small business and technology evangelist, Ramon Ray, has watched SMBs make the following hiring mistakes:

– Hiring talent with values that do not match the company’s
– Hiring for a specific skill set
– Not firing fast enough

Poor hiring practices include: bringing in friends and family members who just aren’t up to the task. (Hiring friends and family is easy; firing them, not so much.)

So, if you want to make ensure that your startup succeeds, consider your strategy to grow, your IT needs, and your hiring practice. Best of luck!


         

Avoid These 3 Common Small Business IT Growing Pains

Shot of a mature businessman looking tired while working at his office desk

As we referenced in our last blog, failure to invest in IT early is one of the common reasons startups fail. We’ve seen that as a small company grows it is bound to make some mistakes along the way, but many times, the most critical (and costly) growing pains are IT-related. More often than not, this occurs because smaller organizations lack IT resources. Combine that with the need to place their energy on keeping the business running, and you may well have yourself some technology growing pains.
With that in mind, here are a few steps you might want to consider to avoid these pains:

  • Your data’s important. Make sure you back it up. Bad things happen, and you could become a victim of a server crash, fire, flood or cyberattack. Thus, you need to make sure that your data is secure, which means regular and frequent backups. A cloud-based or hybrid approach is the solution of choice for many small businesses. Backups can be automated, easily scale as needed, and keep your data offsite, safe and sound.
  • PC’s are like cars. At some point, it doesn’t pay to keep them going. Once a PC has been in action for more than a few years, and needs major repairs that may end up costing you half of what a replacement will, it’s time to think of investing in new gear. A repair or upgrade may cost you less in the short run, but over time costs can really add up if you need to keep fixing it. Replacing the computer brings with it a number of benefits, more powerful equipment can improve productivity, and you’ll also be able to use newer software and peripherals that wouldn’t work with your old gear. Keep in mind that some repairs make more sense than others. Adding RAM or a new hard drive to boost performance or storage capacity may well work out; replacing a dead motherboard, not so much.
  • When you do dispose of old hardware, proceed with caution. Those old PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets are likely to hold sensitive company data. If your gear falls in the wrong hands, you could find yourself with legal or compliance problems. Wipe your old data out, check out this article you might find helpful when considering recycling your old hardware. Once you’ve taken care of your data, you’ll need to find a way to safely dispose of your old equipment, which is likely to contain materials harmful to the environment. So no tossing old gear in the dumpster, instead, consider selling it (directly, or through a service like Gazelle), or donating it to a charity like ComputersWithCauses.

Sound IT practices like these will better support you as you grow. The sooner you begin to implement them, the better.

         

Rescue’s Ready for El Capitan

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On September 30, Apple will be releasing the newest OS X (v10.11) El Capitan, and LogMeIn Rescue will be ready!

We are ready with a customer applet that supports the newest 10.11 OS X, from day 1 – With no updates or add-ons required, Rescue users are ready for those early adopters.

Coming soon – An update to the Mac Tech Console featuring Rescue Lens, along with Mac El Capitan Support, and some other goodies! We will keep you posted on when that is available. In the meantime, you’re all set for those end users who’ll be making an immediate switch to El Capitan.


         

MAXIMIZE PRODUCTIVITY IN YOUR SMALL BUSINESS

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Small businesses have always been concerned with staff productivity, but today’s many online distractions can make for an even bigger productivity challenge. Don’t worry; we’re here with some guidance. Here are a few tips for keeping employees productive on the job:

  • Standardize communications platforms 
    Choose an instant messaging app like Google Talk or a private social networking system like HipChat or Slack to promote communication between employees. But make sure that all your employees have them installed and know how to use them properly. Encourage them to use these tools, whenever it makes sense, as a substitute for phone calls or face-to-face meetings, which can be productivity sinkholes.
  • Don’t block “time wasting” websites
    This may seem like contradictory advice, but there is a reason. While it seems logical to block employees from Facebook, Pinterest, and other seeming time-wasters, these sites can also give your employees a much-needed, refreshing break from their busy day (when appropriate). There is also the case that there are legitimate business reasons to be on these sites. But if social networking and gaming are proving too tempting, apps like Focus Lockor a browser plug-in like StayFocusd will help employees stay on task.
  • Keep skills sharp
    With things changing so rapidly, it’s important that your employees are continually acquiring new skills, whether it be presenting, writing, or learning new tech skills vital to your employees’ success. Old-style training programs that take employees out of the office for days at a time can be costly, time consuming and often ineffective. Encourage your employees to explore online learning sites, such as Lynda and Coursera, that let them learn at their own pace.
  • Make sure your employees have the tools they need
    One area you should be paying attention is to your internal IT helpdesk and customer support team. Companies who deploy LogMeIns Rescue experience a tremendous increase in productivity: higher first call resolution rates, shorter call handle times, and an increase in customer satisfaction.


         

Five tips for turning service incidents into sales opportunities

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Thanks to social media and review sites, when someone has a less-than-positive support experience, the experience is shared with everyone on the Internet. On the other hand, positive support experiences, while they’re not as likely to get as much publicity, can make your customers or prospects more receptive to upsell or cross-sell opportunities.

Check out these five tips that we have found to help improve service incidents:

  • Pull together an FAQ: Users may not want to read through a manual or an instruction site, but they’ll look through a brief list of frequently asked questions (FAQ). Chances are that a FAQ will have the answer they’re looking for. To jumpstart your FAQ creation, talk to your early adopters and find out what glitches they’ve found. We find it helpful to begin an FAQ when our product is in beta, and allow the FAQ to evolve over time.
  • Publish all your self-service items: Though FAQs are a great first step, publish your technical information for your more hands-on customers. This includes manuals, quick-start guides, and any applicable downloads (drivers, runtime modules). Even though some customers like the DIY approach – it definitely requires some support!
  • Offer multiple support channels: Some folks are comfortable with phone and e-mail, others prefer text and chat for support. By offering a variety of channels, the customer can choose the channel they would like to use, helping drive customer satisfaction.
  • Keep good support records: If you maintain detailed records of all support interactions, you’ll be better able to analyze the source of problems (and use the info to keep your FAQ up to date). A lot of remote support tools, like LogMeIn Rescue, can pull very detailed customized reports. This helps save your technicians time from having to manually document each session, and gives you the ability to quickly reference specific details from any session – even a session from over two years ago!
  • Show (don’t tell) your customers: Customers aren’t always good at explaining exactly what they’ve been doing or exactly what they’re seeing. Use a video-enabled remote access/remote control tool to see exactly what your customers are seeing, and show them first-hand how you’re fixing the problem for them.

While these tips may not look like they have a direct connection to selling opportunities, positive support interactions have a direct impact on customer loyalty. Positive support interactions will also increase the likelihood that your customers will turn to you for further products and services, and maybe even refer a friend!

         

Helpdesk Skills: Not sounding phony on the phone

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Companies often create scripts for their support reps to ensure that reps stay on brand, and provide the right support to customers in the right context. However, there is a downside – sticking too closely to a script may make your reps sound phony and robotic. Customers pick up on this, and that’s not a good thing. Who likes being treated like a robot? Customers don’t, and your support reps don’t either.

This doesn’t mean that you should do away with scripts; scripts are excellent guidelines and provide reminders to reps to be empathetic (e.g. “I’m sorry you’re having this problem,” “I understand completely,” or “Let me see what I can do”). These phrases don’t need to be delivered 100% verbatim, but there are times when your reps will need to make these points.

Educating and training your reps are important so they’ll get used to handling conversations that include both scripted and unscripted elements. Mock phone calls with their peers are a good way to practice. Mix it these mock phone calls with listening games and improv games to help your reps get used to handling situations that go off script. Don’t shy away from difficult conversations – your reps will have encounters with customers who are angry, perhaps even abusive, or maybe just hard to understand, and they need to be prepared.

Once your reps have worked through various support scenarios in mock environments, they’ll get used to handling conversations – scripted or not. They’ll begin to understand how to develop a real rapport with your customers, and how to express empathy for what they’re going through. Customers will be more at ease, and get the feeling that your support reps are on their side.