Few self-storage operators think about technical support until they actually need it. Whether they’re having trouble with their facility-management software, a piece of security equipment or another tech tool, they need to be prepared to act before a problem occurs. Here are some pointers for being ready if something goes awry, plus insight on what to expect from the tech guru on the other end of the line.
Tech support comes in all shapes and sizes. You might have different kinds of support for your computer, software programs, access-control system, mobile devices, etc. You might even have a support package that covers all of these. If you’re using symbiotic systems from different vendors, make sure to follow the below steps for all components.
First, find out what kind of warranty is included in your contract. Most technology vendors will offer some kind of support. It can be as short at 30 days to as long as a full year after your purchase date. Few vendors give free tech support for the life of the product, so it’s important to know how long your coverage lasts.
The majority of vendors also offer an extended-warranty agreement for purchase. This will vary among companies. Some charge a fee on a per-call basis, while others have an annual tech-support plan you can buy.
Be aware of what is and isn’t covered under the tech-support plan. Does it include a limited number of phone calls per month or year? How about service calls for your hardware? Does it provide support online through live chat or forum? Some service plans even include replacement parts or loaner equipment, so be sure to ask.
When Is It Available?
Know when and how to get tech support. Ask your provider about support hours when you complete your purchase. Will you have to leave a message, or will someone be available immediately? If you leave a message, how long will it take before someone responds? Are there online resources available? When does the company normally experience high call volume?
When you’re in a jam, you need help fast. However, few vendors provide 24-hour assistance. It’s critical to know when you can get help right away and when you’ll need a backup plan.
Keep the phone number, website and operating hours for your vendor’s tech-support center in an easy-to-access location. If this information is on your computer and the system is down, you’ll be stuck. Likewise, it won’t help if this information is piled under a heap of paperwork or stuffed in the back of drawer.
Getting What You Need
Before you contact tech support, gather some information. This will help the person on the other end of the line to better understand your situation. You’ll want to supply:
- Your facility name and location
- Your account number (if you have one)
- The name of the product you’re using (specific model or version numbers are helpful)
- A clear, concise description of the problem
- The date and time the problem started
- Copies of any error messages you encounter (screenshots or photos are helpful)
- Any information about what may have caused the issue
Your goal is provide as many details as possible, such as what’s changed, what should be happening with your hardware or software, and what you’ve done to try and fix the problem. These details will give your tech-support person a better idea of what’s going on so he can help you troubleshoot the issue.
In the end, your tech-support team should be able to tell you what caused the problem, how to fix it and how to prevent it from happening again. In the event of product failure or errors, your vendor should be willing to work with you to resolve the issue and provide replacement parts if necessary.
Most self-storage operators will need technical assistance with their facility’s hardware or software at some point. Take steps to ensure that if you need support, you not only know how to obtain it, you get the best results.