Last month, I had the opportunity to visit Proserv Property Services, a customer of Clark Integrated Technologies based in Aberdeen, Scotland, who recently implemented a Cisco Unified Communications solution designed for small business. From the moment that I arrived in town, I had a feeling that the trip was going to be an eye-opening experience. First of all, the weather condition was just a drastic change especially coming from California. Quickly, I had to adjust to the freezing temperature in Aberdeen and some light rain during the entire trip.
I pre-arranged a meeting to visit ProServ early the next morning so I could learn more about their business and the reasons why they’ve become so successful. I also wanted to know more about their day-to-day operations, their challenges and how they are using technology to serve their customer better. Walking into ProServ was like a breath of fresh air. I quickly understood where their true success lies… which I’ll come back to it as I wrap up this blog.
As planned, I was greeted by Morgan Cooper of Proserv and members of her team who were all eager to discuss their experience using Cisco technology. They shared how it helps them to be more productive such as- rerouting their calls directly to the technicians on the road– a process that used to take multiple steps to complete. Now, the calls are automatically sent to the technicians on the road informing them of their next customer visit. All of this was great for me to observe because being at the customer site offered me some perspective that is usually hard to grasp otherwise.
Next, I met with Austen Clark, Sales Director at Clark Integrated Technologies – a very successful IT solution provider who is a Cisco Select Partner. Austen and I started working together earlier in the year so it was nice to finally meet him in person. He quickly reinforced the benefits Proserv is gaining as a result of the new IT network. Additionally he explained how Cisco OnPlus allows him to monitor the devices on the network proactively and alerts the client of any issues before they affect the business. Again, a plus for me to aborb this in the real customer environment! Obviously, Austen is a great business partner of Cisco.
As if this wasn’t enough, Morgan arranged for me to visit one of their clients, David Lloyd Gym & Tennis Club. What an amazing club! Top notch facilities, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, studio, gym, state of the art cafeteria and best of all, Ross, the Managing Director, extended us such a warm welcome. He shared that when businesses like ProServ and Lloyd, that are focused on serving their customers, implement IT solutions that helps them provide an efficient and reliable service, it becomes a win-win situation for everyone.
Now, I’ll come back with my conclusion on what I think makes Proserv stand out from their competition. Of course, choosing the right IT solution provider who can give them the best advice on the technology they need to meet the business challenges- is always a plus. But in my opinion, their true success lies in the quality of the service they provide, their management, having a proactive mindset and most importantly the people who work at Proserv–they truly are all super stars!
Check it out for yourself. Watch and enjoy the video! And don’t forget to share it with others too!
Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right network technical support plan that can save you time, money and customers.
As a business owner, your top priorities are to grow your business, increase your employees’ efficiency, and serve your customers better. On top of that, small and medium-sized businesses like yours are looking to leverage a sophisticated IT network without dedicated or limited IT staff to support these goals. If this sounds like your business, you understand how increasingly reliant your company has become on your network.
As you realize the impact your network has on your success, you may also recognize the need to maintain the health of your network so that it’s always on and available for employees to connect, collaborate, and communicate with colleagues and customers alike. Network downtime can cost your business plenty in decreased productivity, tarnished reputation, and lost revenue. According to Infonetics Research, unplanned network downtime costs companies an average of 3.6% of their revenue every year. And this doesn’t even include potential damage to your reputation. In addition, dealing with unplanned IT network problems can also be very demanding on your IT staff, and time consuming.
There is a solution: If you want to reduce business-halting network downtime and stop reactively responding to IT network problems, consider purchasing a technical support plan or services from your solution provider, which can help you save time and money. A support plan gives you access to expert technical support engineers who can quickly resolve network issues, minimizing the time your network is down. Faster problem resolution and a more stable network also means your employees can stay productive. Finally, services offered by your solution provider may include additional services such as ongoing remote monitoring for proactive network management, helping to anticipate issues before they affect your business.
So before you make your decision regarding the plan that’s right for you, consider these factors when deciding which support plan best meets your needs.
Technical support. For companies looking to support new technologies while saving time and money on ongoing maintenance, a technical support plan may be the solution. These plans often provide such features as phone and online support, software updates, and hardware replacement if needed, like the Cisco Small Business Support Service. Some technical support plans like Cisco SMARTnet also offer more direct, anytime (24x7) access to support engineers to quickly resolve any network issues that may occur. Talk to your Cisco partner who can help to evaluate your current and near-future needs and determine which option is best for you.
Proactive IT service. Like large businesses, many smaller companies rely heavily on their network as a strategic advantage to serve customers, suppliers, and vendors around-the-clock—the network is their business. However, these companies often don’t have the in-house IT resources necessary to implement new technologies, let alone provide round-the-clock monitoring and rapid resolution should a problem arise. If this sounds familiar, your company would benefit from working with a managed service provider who offers more comprehensive services—one that provides real-time monitoring and alerting, troubleshooting, performance optimization, and routine maintenance.
Whether your company has 15 employees or 600, a support contract and your partner’s services can help ensure the reliability and security of your network so you can focus on your core business. To find a partner who can guide you, visit the Cisco partner locator
What features do you look for when evaluating support plans?
It’s official. The holiday season has begun. For many businesses—small and not so small, this is the season that counts. And that’s why we’re supporting Small Business Saturday. It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving, launched by American Express, to remind holiday shoppers not to forget about small businesses in the midst of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
So what can small businesses do to help take advantage of the big day and the season at hand? Paul Jankowski offers some great tips in his Forbes blog, including taking advantage of social media. For those who get the value of technology, seizing opportunities comes easier.
Yet, according to Hiten Samtani’s recent piece on entrepreneur.com, many SMBs have little or no presence on social media, and 98 percent of business websites haven’t been optimized for shoppers using mobile devices (check out the great infographic in his blog).
That’s unfortunate, given that technology is what helps small businesses compete on the same playing field as the big ones. The key is to have the right technology in place to connect people with information, securely. Not just to handle transactions, but to also help optimize productivity; so that employees and business partners can work together effectively from wherever, and customers can shop and buy from wherever.
As you head into Thanksgiving (and beyond), think about how technology could better connect your employees and your customers. Then think about what that would mean in terms of business performance.
Throughout the recent years we have seen an uptake in a new group of SMB’s – the “Progressive SMB,” organizations that are increasingly encroaching on the territory of their larger competitors. But what makes a SMB progressive?
Check out the infographic below to see what you can learn from progressive SMBs, including how they are going against the grain and investing heavily in technology to improve collaboration, productivity and long-term business bottom line results.
Do you consider yourself a progressive SMB? If so, we would love to hear how you are investing in IT to gain a competitive edge.
Please join us for a live webinar where we will discover what the new science of motivation has to offer. Susan Fowler, best-selling author and motivation expert from The Ken Blanchard Companies, will not let you walk away closed minded when it comes to motivating yourself.
What You’ll Learn:
How to choose a higher quality of motivational experience
How motivation is a skill that can be taught, learned, nurtured, and sustained
The three ways you can apply motivation skills – at an individual level, as a leader, or from an organizational perspective
Register now! Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to shift from a quantity of motivation to a quality of motivation experience.
Details: Wednesday,October 3, 2012| 9 am PDT | Noon ET |