By Anthony Hartzog, Director of Global Remote Support at Abacus Group
Since joining Abacus Group in 2012, I’ve worked across many areas of the company, originally as an onsite support tech and then as one of our first remote support technicians. I also created and assumed the role of our first remote support dispatcher. Through the encouragement of growth opportunities within Abacus, I eventually became a team lead, manager and now director of our global remote support team, based in our Dallas office. I have a BA in Information Science with a minor in Business and Computer Science. Prior to Abacus, I worked in IT at the Federal Court.
The majority of our remote support team resides in Dallas, but, to account for our global presence and different time zones, we also have team members based in a variety of regions, including New York City, San Francisco, LA and London. Our service desk is a truly global framework with UK staff fielding issues for US clients, and vice versa, which has allowed our client base to grow with minimal Abacus growing pains.
When hiring for our team, we look for a combination of both technical knowledge and excellent customer service skills. Many of our remote support techs come from call center environments, with experience in support, escalation tiers and even management roles. Essentially they’re all used to working in a fast-paced environment. This is the foundation that has allowed Abacus to thrive, and it’s also been important for us to maintain a great culture. One of the things I try to ensure is that people enjoy coming to work – everything else becomes easier once you create an environment that the team enjoys being in.
As one of our remote support techs, Isaiah, has attested to, “Most of our clients come from high stress fast-paced environments, so in a way they are working similarly to us. Once you realize that and relate to the people, it makes the job itself a lot easier.”
To ensure we’re constantly able to evaluate our tech team’s performance and service levels, we encourage all of our clients to provide feedback via service ticket surveys, and have incentive programs in place to encourage as many submitted surveys as possible. Each month we award a gift card to the tech with the most amount of surveys received and the highest average score. As a result of the surveys, we’ve been able to continuously learn what does or doesn’t work in our service delivery model. You can learn more about our survey process in an article by Mike Herman, Managing Director of Global Client Support at Abacus Group, on “The Feedback Loop to Always Innovate Within Our Client Services Model.”
We’re always looking to find ways to increase efficiency and provide better service. In that regard, our remote support team is currently involved in several initiatives. We’re in the process of implementing a new client notification system that will allow us to get more accurate notifications out in a quicker manner. It will provide more updates and allow us to get feedback and metrics from recipients impacted when we send out notifications. We’re also going through an Incident Response Plan with Abacus’s InfoSec team, which will allow us to be able to act quicker if a security-related incident occurs. And, we’re working on automation of systems, such as add/remove user requests.