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Can You Help Me With My Help Button? — Customer Support Hacks

There is no doubt about it, technology is great when it works. But what happens when it doesn’t?

When technology has “technical difficulties,” we generally reach out to tech support. Customer Service Advocates and Product Support Specialists like myself are invaluable resources, and we are happy to help; however, sometimes you may need help outside of office hours. In this case, most software systems will have a knowledge base that clients can use to troubleshoot, which can certainly get you out of a late-night bind.

But if you find yourself on the phone with the Help Desk or Support Team regularly, you might also benefit from a few ‘tech-hacks’ that I compiled from my time spent providing support. These are common solutions to common problems many of our clients encounter.

Know What You Are Using

I spend a good portion of my day supporting clients that use our cloud-based HR and pre-employment screening software. Since these programs work right from the client’s web browser, it should be no surprise that I regularly ask clients what browser and version they use. Often I get the response of “Dell” or “Windows 8”… not browsers. To make it easy for our clients to find this out, I direct them to https://whatbrowser.org/. Now I have the important information I need to begin solving their problem.

Clearing Your Cache & Cookies

Often times, the technical difficulties my clients encounter are caused by the cache or cookies. But what are these things, and how do they work? Here are some supporting details for these two culprits:

Cache

The cache is a term that refers to a place on your hard drive where the browser stores website data in case it’s needed again. The cache prevents your computer from downloading the same things over and over again–this lets your computer run faster. When the cache is full, the things you haven’t used in a while will be deleted–similar to when your DVR becomes full. Sometimes cloud-based programs don’t work correctly or appear garbled because your cache is full. Examples include: partially loaded or badly formatted web pages, incomplete pictures, or– in some cases–the wrong picture in the wrong place. The cache isn’t always the issue, but it is definitely worth clearing first before diving in to investigate with your hair on fire!

Cookies

A cookie is a small file containing a string of characters that is sent to your computer when you visit a website. Each website uses their own cookies, it is whatever specific data (cookie) that particular website wants to remember about your visits. The user experience is better when cookies are enabled because your computer will remember information about your visit and your preferences. If you clear your cookies, sites may take longer to load and your usernames or other preferences will be erased. If you disable cookies completely, you will find that most websites won’t work properly and the internet will be quite inconvenient. So enable them, please.

User Error

Maybe it isn’t nice for tech people to make up jokes about I-D-10-T errors, but they are real. You really should check your cord connections, pop-up blockers, software updates, and if all else fails… take a 5 minute break and revisit your frustration with fresh eyes. Of course, it’s  always okay to ask for help, but don’t be that person asking “Where is the ‘any’ key?”

 

ExactHire provides technology for hiring, backed by unmatched excellence in customer support. To learn how our SaaS solutions can help your organization find, hire, and keep top talent, contact us today!

Perfectly Indispensable – 11 Ways to Impress Your Boss

High unemployment rates, volatile markets, and the constant need for businesses to run leaner are all great reasons to become indispensable at work. Let the perfect employee that lives within you radiate through your office, and recession proof yourself!

Increase your personal stock value and make sure you get noticed with:

11 Ways To Win at Work…And Impress Your Boss

1) Be timely and accountable. No one ever needed an employee who was a day late and a dollar short.

2) Use communication properly. Make sure you listen as much as you speak. Communication must go both ways or it doesn’t work.

3) Develop team morale. Don’t just bring in doughnuts on Fridays, offer to help a colleague who you know is overwhelmed. Volunteer to spearhead the project that nobody wants to take on and develop a fun and exciting way to tackle it.

4) Solve issues with solutions, don’t complain. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” In this case, as long as you have a suggestion on the issue, you can bring it up. Otherwise, keep it to yourself until you have an idea.

5) Know the industry. Spend personal time reading relevant and reputable articles that are in line with your work.  By keeping up on the latest and greatest, you are sure to help the business succeed.

6) Pick the hard action-items. When you leave your comfort zone, you will get noticed.

7) Become a SME. Subject Matter Experts are important to your boss and your co-workers. If you are the go-to person for a system, procedure, or difficult client, nobody wants to lose you.

8) Be productive, not just quick. Sure Sally can finish five projects in a day, but none of them are completed properly. Put the extra time into the details and make your pizazz show–your boss and customers will notice.

9) Commit yourself. Sounds pretty straight-forward, but commitment is hard. Luckily, it is also worth the trouble.

10) Embrace and share a positive attitude. Nobody likes a “Debbie Downer” or “Negative Nelly”. Look for that silver-lining and share the positive vibes. It will make your work day happier and more productive, and it might rub off on your coworkers, too.

11) Be reliable. If your boss can’t trust you to turn in something by the deadline, you will quickly be replaced. However, if you have a reputation for always being on time and turning in quality work, that will be duly noted by your peers and management.

Be Indispensable

Once you have mastered these behaviors, you are sure to be considered an indispensable part of your team. Of course, you should know that you will be held to these high-standards that you have created for yourself, too. If you happen to fall short of expectations one day, it will surely be noticed. But all in all, that is a small price to pay compared to what you will gain in not only job security, but most likely in additional financial rewards too. Raises, promotions, special projects and accolades will be yours for the taking!

Image credit: the garden of forking paths by Snap (contact)

Education – What Employers Really Want

I have four children, with the oldest getting ready to head off to college this fall. Like all 18 year olds, he’s trying to decide what interests him and can engage him as he enters the workplace. Having talked with him over the last several months about this, it’s opened my eyes to how much education is likely to change over the next few years.

For people my age, going to college after high school was the only viable option to making a good living. Without a college degree in the 80’s and 90’s, it was nearly impossible to get any type of professional position anywhere. At the same time, though, college was fairly affordable for most families — even those in the lower-middle-class range.

Fast-forward to today and everyone knows the cost of college has far outpaced inflation. Beyond the economics, however, there has been a significant shift in the workplace regarding what skills/training/expertise are considered valuable.

Skills That Are In Demand

It’s clear in today’s environment (and future, by most accounts) that specialized skills are in demand more than ever. The obvious example is technology — development, database administration, user experience/graphic design, etc. are all things that tend to always be in demand. Other non-technology examples include advanced manufacturing, medical equipment repair/maintenance, engine repair/maintenance (aviation, diesel equipment, locomotives). These are just a few examples of positions that are understaffed today, but weren’t even on the radar 10-15 years ago. Human Resource leaders and their recruiting teams have seen these changes and are starting to adjust to them with different recruiting strategies and sources.

So there are literally millions of jobs that go unfilled each year, yet many college graduates can’t find a job. We read about them every day. See the disconnect?

My point is that college degrees are still very important for many professions — medicine, accounting, pharmacy, teaching, finance, etc. At the same time, general degrees (like the one I earned — Business Administration) aren’t nearly as valuable as they were previously. My contention (and I’m not alone here) is that they don’t provide graduates with the tangible skills so often needed in today’s workplace. In short, it’s hard to show a great ROI to parents (or graduates), each of whom are often racking up huge debt, for these types of degrees.

Education That Employers Seek

Employers and their staff involved in the hiring process want applicants who can show an ability to contribute to the bottom line right away. What degree they earned (or didn’t earn) or from where it was earned isn’t nearly as much of an issue as it was in the past.

Here are trends I see happening now (and hopefully continuing as we move forward):

  • Specialized degree programs (usually 2 years or less) that prepare graduates for a specific function or industry
  • Kids who pursue 4 year degrees taking core classes online or at local community colleges (usually for the first 2 years) — then transferring those core credits toward their ultimate degree from a 4 year institution
  • Apprentice programs for those who want to work in a chosen profession and need specialized training to get there. This allows them to have that training provided at little to no cost, in return for a commitment to work for their employer who paid for that training.
  • Online degrees — they’re far less expensive and allow people to earn degrees while working
  • Self-learning — this tends to apply more to technology and involves kids skipping post-secondary options completely. Instead, they learn by doing through online tutorials, meet-ups, etc.

It’s hard to predict how quickly these changes will be embraced by society. Traditional colleges and universities have much at stake to stave off these alternatives as long as possible. However, as the price tag continues to escalate at traditional institutions, making the option less attainable (even for upper-middle-class families), my prediction is the alternative trends emerging will continue to become a much more accepted option for both employers and society.

Jeff Hallam is Co-Founder of ExactHire, an Indianapolis-based firm that sells software to help employers automate and improve the quality of the hiring process. For more information about our products, please visit our resources section or contact us today.

Image credit: Harvard University by David Paul Ohmer (contact)

ExactHire Partners with Orr Fellowship

We’re excited to be working with the folks at the Governor Bob Orr Indiana Entrepreneurial Fellowship, or Orr Fellowship for short!

For those of you who are not yet familiar with this exciting initiative, the mission of the Orr Fellowship is to “retain and inspire Indiana’s brightest minds. It serves as an applied training vehicle for the State’s future entrepreneurs and organizational leaders.” Participants in the Fellowship program serve two year stints at some of the state’s hottest, fast-growth and entrepreneurial-minded companies.

ExactHire just launched Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) for the Orr Fellowship, and we’re proud to be part of the effort to battle “brain drain” in Indiana. The Orr Fellowship ATS creates a central repository of individuals who apply to Orr Fellowship and Orr Internship positions.

ExactHire’s ATS solution creates a technologically-savvy means by which Orr Host Companies can quickly view the applications and qualifications of applicants, as well as contact these applicants for interview consideration, directly. These companies will have the cream of the crop from which to choose as Orr Fellows are some of the sharpest recent graduates in the state.

To explore whether or not Applicant Tracking Software is a fit for your organization, please contact us.