Kaseya Community

How are you providing after-hours emergency support?

  • I have a question for those of your providing after-hours emergency support. What system/process are you using to enable this?
    Do you contract with an outside firm to answer phones after hours?
    Do you pay a staff member to work graveyard/weekend/holiday shifts?
    Is your company small enough so you simply give people your personal cell phone to your customers?
    Do you have your voice mail/auto attendant system route emergency calls to your staff's cell phones in some special manner?

    I'd be really interested to hear feedback on what you're doing and what's working (or not). We've grown to a reasonable size without offering any formal after-hours response guarantee. But I think it's time we formalize it.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.

    Legacy Forum Name: How are you providing after-hours emergency support?,
    Legacy Posted By Username: kentschu
  • We are a small company, only 2 of us ... we both carry cell phones, however we've also found that if we give out the cell phone numbers the clients tend to call us personally on those instead of calling the main office ...

    Our solution took time to come across and lots of tears, etc ... but in the end the best way to implement for us became to have the main office line do a call hunt (sort of) ... Our main number is capable of doing a busy/no answer call forward which is set to one of the cell phones, depending on who is on call ... We also have done the following we will answer the call after our business hours IF AND ONLY IF the company calling us is still open (IE - it is still business hours for them). There are a few of our clients that have business hours that go beyond the normal 9 to 5, and we support them no extra cost during those hours, but they are told to expect a somewhat slower response from us outside of our business hours ... If anyone is outside their own business hours when they call we let the call goto voicemail, check the voicemail to see if it is a "true" emergency. If the problem is a "true" emergency then we will return the call and actually charge for the service call if we have to go onsite (we wouldn't normally during business hours charge - we are an all you can eat type pricing). If the problem is not a "true" emergency (ie - no one can get anything done/server down issue) then we log the problem with a trouble ticket the next morning and call the clients back then.

    Legacy Forum Name: MSP General Discussion,
    Legacy Posted By Username: TBK Consulting
  • General emergency support is performed by the autoattendant forwarding calls that choose the emergency support option to an answering service, which then contacts the oncall technician. This helps prevent the 3am calls from waking a tech up and potentially answering the phone rudely while half asleep.

    Proactive emergency support is simply performed by assigning the (important) alerts to send an email to a particular oncall mailbox, which can be forwarded to the technician who is on call.

    It works fairly well as long as the on call tech is responsible and acts on the important alerts.

    Legacy Forum Name: MSP General Discussion,
    Legacy Posted By Username: csharpjmark
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  • We charge customers extra for access to after hours support. We then give them a PIN which they must enter before phone call is routed to an after hours cell, which the on call employee then answers.

    Legacy Forum Name: MSP General Discussion,
    Legacy Posted By Username: LANWorx
  • We have an on-call mobile and it gets passed from one engineer to another, This mobile has a generic message setup so if it does go through to voicemail the customer knows they have got through to the support number..
    Each engineer can choose if they wish to go onto the oncall roster and they keep the phone for the week they are rostered on.
    The phone gets passed every Wednesday at midday (We chose Wednesday because that is less likely to be a public holiday)
    Engineers are paid for having the phone for the week. This is not much but it does cover their "inconvenience" of having to carry a phone.
    Engineers can swap days between themselves but this is between the two engineers who do the swap. (this works for a you cover my shift while I take the wife out on our anniversary and I will cover you next weekend while you are playing cricket)
    If a call comes through the engineer will let the customer know that "Their call has come through to the after hours support number and they will be charged for the call. Do they wish to proceed with the call or wait until the next business day".
    If they do go ahead then the engineer gets paid an agreed hourly rate for after hours support.
    Finally, there are certain conditions for the engineers who go onto call. They need to stay within mobile phone service area, They need to stay within 100km of the office, they need to be capable of legally driving a car, etc...

    The problem with our system is:
    The last person to leave our office at the end of the day needs to remember to divert the phone to the on-call mobile.
    The first person in needs to undivert the phone in the morning.
    When calls come through customers sometimes ask "What is the charge for support calls" Because we have different customers on different SLAs that we charge different prices to this can get complicated.

    Legacy Forum Name: MSP General Discussion,
    Legacy Posted By Username: garry
  • We have a Gold offering that gives 24x7 support for Priority 1 Issues (both proactive notices and phone calls) that we charge extra for. We also have a shared cell we pass around on a schedule, usually for a week at a time. Our voicemail system is configured to answer at night when no ACD agents are logged in to answer live and the prompts lead the customer to a mailbox if they agree that they have a Gold contract or are willing to pay for after hours support. The system then sends an email to the cell phone (via SMS) and the engineer on call can listen to the message to evaluate the request and determine whether the work is billable or not before even callign the customer back. For proactive notices, Kaseya emails the same SMS address when P1 thresholds on Gold customers are hit.

    We also pay a set fee for carrying the phone (for the inconvenience of not being to go out of town, out partying, etc.) and our bonus program adds up as they work on these calls at a rate slightly lower than our typical bill rate for contract work or actual rate for billable work.

    The only thing we struggle with is how to schedule this effectively without having to change it constantly (vacations, sick time, out of town work, etc.) as well as how to set the base pay.

    FYI we have 5 different engineers in rotation and require a base certification level to be in the program to ensure we have manfacturer support in the event we have to call in after hours (certain vendors require this for us.)

    Legacy Forum Name: MSP General Discussion,
    Legacy Posted By Username: jilderton
  • We are a small firm too (3). We also provide IP based phone systems. Our Automated Phone Attendant offers an after hours emergency message. When the caller leaves an after hours emerg message, our phone system emails the message and sends an sms text message to our cell phones. It keeps sending every 5 minutes in a specified order if no one calles in for the message. Once any person calls in for the message, the system stops sending the alert. In the past year, this has worked very well and we have had only one emerg call and it turned out to be a wrong number.

    Legacy Forum Name: MSP General Discussion,
    Legacy Posted By Username: marcb
  • marcb
    We are a small firm too (3). We also provide IP based phone systems. Our Automated Phone Attendant offers an after hours emergency message. When the caller leaves an after hours emerg message, our phone system emails the message and sends an sms text message to our cell phones. It keeps sending every 5 minutes in a specified order if no one calles in for the message. Once any person calls in for the message, the system stops sending the alert. In the past year, this has worked very well and we have had only one emerg call and it turned out to be a wrong number.


    We use a similar tactic. All techs are automatically emailed the "emergency" voice mail. But the designated on-call tech (rotates weekly) also gets automated phone calls from our phone system until they answer. Every 10 minutes. We just change the automated phone number every week to the on call tech. The on call person then responds to the email list to notify all the other techs that they did in fact get the 911 call. That way in case they some how miss the automated email, text and persistent 10 minute phone calls, another tech can pick up the emergency.
    Customers maintenance or not pay a premium for after hours and weekend work. This has worked very well. We receive about 1 911 a week and the senior level techs share the work load this way.

    Legacy Forum Name: MSP General Discussion,
    Legacy Posted By Username: jrvandy
  • Similar to some other posts here. We use our main line as the single point of contact for office hours and after hours calls. We never give our mobile numbers to clients, this is company policy - have made this mistake in the past only to get calls from clients at odd hours, public holidays, sick days, you name it.

    After hours, an automated message presents the option to be transferred to the after hours on call technician, after a brief message that this may incur a $50 after hours fee. Our phone system (dlink voice center aka microsoft response point) allows us to adjust this number each week to whoever is on call.

    The main benefits of this are that our mobile numbers are not exposed to clients and we don't have to pay for another spare mobile or pager.

    Mike.

    Legacy Forum Name: MSP General Discussion,
    Legacy Posted By Username: lansoft
  • Has anyone considered google voice? They will give you a phone number that can ring as many numbers as you like. These numbers can be changed by logging into the settings pages and selecting the forwarding numbers, I have three so far. Not sure if there is a limit.(the changes are instant)
    You also have the ability to transfer the call to you cell just in case you answered from your office line or line at home. It also has the ability to text you the complete voice message. I've read of any bad reviews.
    You first have to submit a request. It takes about 2-4 weeks to get before they get back to you.

    Legacy Forum Name: MSP General Discussion,
    Legacy Posted By Username: ttlpcs
  • We have a similar method to others here

    All calls go through our main office, which uses an Asterisk based IP PBX.

    The system is configured to send calls through to our desk phones (starting with reception) during our business hours (8.30am to 5.30pm mon-fri) and automatically switches to the after hours dial plan outside these hours or on public holidays (we enter in the dates seperately into the configuration)

    the after hours prompt informs the caller they have reached our after hours service and asks them if they want emergency support [press 1] or to leave a message which will be responded to the next business day [press 2]

    if they press 1 for emergency support, the recording explains to them our after hours rates and again gives them the option to press 1 to continue, or 2 to leave a message

    if they press 1 the system forwards the call to the on call engineers mobile number.

    the only down side i have had with this is if the call does come through exceptionally early i've had an engineer sleep through the call. as a result we are considering a call service which takes the message and then attempts to ring the engineers directly, escalating possibly to my mobile if they can not get a hold of an engineer

    we all make mistakes so i can't be terribly harsh on my staff for sleeping through a phone call, but at the same time we have commitments to our clients so i need to find a way that works no matter what the situation.

    Legacy Forum Name: MSP General Discussion,
    Legacy Posted By Username: justX
  • For after hours calls, our clients leave a message and a tech (read: me/I) will get back to them as soon as possible... When I call back I get the gist of the issue then explain to them that since it is an after hours call there will most likely be additional charges. Most people opt to let me have my night/weekend back. I would like to get it so that the system does all that for me, but someone has been too lazy to do so...

    Legacy Forum Name: MSP General Discussion,
    Legacy Posted By Username: thirteentwenty