You know the feeling…
That frustration when, after spending time posting for, interviewing and finally hiring a remote tech team only to find out they can’t do what you need done.
Or worse yet, they can, it’s just not included in the plan you have with them!
That’s the worst!
Luckily, it’s also avoidable.
Most of the time when we hire tech teams (yes, I have to hire them too) we are doing it when we are in a crunch.
$8.78 billion: Size of the IT service management market in 2021
A new course we finally put together is launching soon and we need to fix something the last guy set up.
Or we have a broken site and want to get a new one built.
Or something else urgent comes up that needs to be attended to and we are hiring right away.
Whatever the specifics, the result is a rushed hire and, usually, an unsatisfactory experience.
Let me just tell you, from your tech team’s side, the most enjoyable relationships we have are with those clients who take their time to make the right hire.
It’s no fun for either side to be struggling to communicate, going back and forth on simple tasks, or redoing work because things weren’t clear at the beginning.
Especially when it’s from a lack of clarity around project or role scope.
To help streamline this process, let’s take a look at 5 things that your remote tech team won’t do.
Make you use the processes
The best technology in the world won’t make up for poor processes in your business.
“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” Albert Einstein, Scientist
I can’t tell you how many times I have worked with business owners, both large and small, and built systems around their processes.
Only to find out, when asked why things weren’t working, that they weren’t using the process the system was designed around.
For example, we can only build out automations for your sales team if they use the initial system that kicks off the automation.
We can only set up new client automations if new clients are reliably entered in the same platform.
We can only build your course if we have all the parts and pieces your students will receive.
We can only be as compliant in your industry as your standards inform us to be.
A painful fact about technology, and systems, is the system is only as effective as the user.
The reports are only as accurate as the data.
So the most important thing you can do when setting up your systems and working with your tech team is to be clear on what YOUR systems are that you want your technology to support.
Because if you spend a bunch of money hiring people to set up technology to support systems you don’t use, you will no doubt end up frustrated and feeling like you’ve wasted your money.
Most likely blaming the tech team.
When, in fact, the lack of systems is what is preventing your technology from working as intended. Not the other way around.
Read your mind
Remember, your tech team is made up of primarily left brained, logical thinkers.
“It's not a faith in technology. It's faith in people.” Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple.
This is insanely valuable because you need people who will think linearly, consider how one thing will impact the next, and think down the road to what are called second and third order effects.
This is actually a priceless skill that is hard to come by and worth taking your time to find.
It is also a skill that makes reading minds rather difficult for us.
Occasionally you will find a team that has a right brain thinker or two...but they will likely be so familiar with the need for linear thinking that they will avoid any and all attempts at mind reading.
So be open. Be direct. Share your outcomes so they know what you are looking for.
If they ask a question, know that it is because something isn’t clear. If you feel like you’ve already explained it, ask them why they don’t know the answer.
Could be that there are alternatives available that you don’t know about that are causing them to think twice. Maybe there is a potential impact that hasn’t been discussed.
Either way, it’s worth the extra time to make sure you are as clear as possible with them.
Hound you for answers
If questions are asked and information is needed you should absolutely expect your tech team to ask them.
An expectation of open communication is standard, and should always be there.
However, if they have sent an email, or two, or commented on a task in your project management system or sent a chat through your chat tool…
And haven’t gotten answers after a couple of attempts, don’t be surprised if they lay low for a bit.
“The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don't really even notice it, so it's part of everyday life.” Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft.
You see, tech teams are used to being an urgent need when something is broken, and to being one of the first teams to be put on the back burner when business picks up.
In fact, it’s fairly normal to be a come and go team that is used heavily sometimes and let go in silence others.
We get that busy times require more manpower from different teams and respect that.
That does mean, however, that we often times won’t track you down for answers.
That’s not done out of flakiness or laziness.
It’s done out of respect for your time and your business.
So if your tech team reaches out a couple times and gets no response, don’t be surprised if they go silent for a bit. It’s most likely just them trying to be cognizant of the needs of your business.
Treat everything as an emergency
Some things in business are urgent.
Your website breaking. Your order forms going down. Processors not working.
These things are all emergencies. They directly impact your customer experience and they directly impact your revenue.
And they do so in a large way.
They need to be treated with urgency and resolved as quickly as possible.
And it’s normal for your tech team to expect these kinds of issues to come up.
They need to respond quickly and completely to issues like these to resolve them ASAP and keep your business running.
That’s their job.
However, if you finish a set of emails and want them loaded into your autoresponder that day, and they don’t go out for a week, that probably won’t be treated as an emergency.
It’s easy to assume all tech is quick, and “loading an email” won’t take very long, but it’s surprising the things that can come up during simple tasks.
Plus, a quality tech team will test anything they do, adding complexity and time to every task. That’s how they make sure it works when you use it.
And you know the old saying…
If everything is an emergency then nothing is.
Be on call 24/7
Your contract may specify otherwise, but most tech teams are not available 24/7 for regular tasks.
Perhaps they have a 24/7 hotline to help if something goes down. Or an email address that is monitored 24/7 to take care of support issues that come up in off hours.
But most likely they are not an around the clock service that is always ready and available to handle tasks that come up.
Be sure to clarify this with them when you interview them. What is their expected turnaround time? How do they handle after hours emergencies? What do they do if something breaks on the weekend?
All of these questions are critical to you having accurate expectations about your relationship with them, and to you be satisfied with the work they provide.
It’s important when starting work with a new contractor, team or employee to be really clear on what you can expect, and what they can expect.
Working with a tech team is different than other team members. They think differently, they use a different language, and they approach problems in a unique way.
And it is their responsibility to figure out how to communicate well with you. They must communicate clearly and openly, discussing priorities and issues as they come up, deadlines and potential problems with making them, and the overall reason behind the decisions they are making or asking you to make.
But it is also yours.
Being clear about what you can expect, knowing some of these potential issues before hiring them and addressing them early, and understanding that you both come from different perspectives will help you to anticipate issues before they come up.
And, ultimately, they will make your next tech team hire a much more successful one!