Almost daily I get to see how a lot of agents use technology. They’re really no different than any other group. Just like anywhere else, some agents get it, some don’t and most know enough to get by. So what do agents look like to the “support” staff? Here’s an inside view.
Most Annoying Request
Hands down, the most frequent and annoying request is to attach a file to an email or save an email attachment they got. Browsing for files, “save” vs “save as” – I get that it can be confusing. But after a few years, you’d think they’d be able to figure it out.
Biggest Duh! Moment
Agents who weren’t using the company webmail software were always complaining about not getting email on their cell phones. Since the device and Outlook configurations were usually correct, we couldn’t figure out the problem until an agent pointed to an email in Outlook that he received a few minutes ago but wasn’t on his phone when he checked a few minutes later.
It never occurred to us that they had Outlook open all the time (including on weekends) fetching email every 5 minutes and taking it off the server…and then expect it to show up on their cell phone. Solution: Set Outlook to leave mail on the server for a few days and/or close Outlook when you leave the office.
Technology That Most Agents Get (or get well enough…)
Before there was easy remote access, agents used to email files to their accounts and use their mailbox for remote document storage. Since their Outlook data files were getting huge or mail boxes reaching their limits, we tried other solutions like VPN access but those were messy and confusing. So when Dropbox came along we showed them how to use it. It was love at first sight.
Most Creative Email Setup
POP email accounts work well enough on mobile devices, but you do have to configure things correctly in order not to lose emails – especially if you’re using something like Outlook. That kind of confusion along with exposure to IMAP (where every place you get email is synched/contains the same messages) led to one agent setting up Gmail to get their office POP email but leave it on the company mail server. Then, he set up his devices to use Gmail – which uses IMAP – so every device is in sync. Outlook is used to clear out their POP account which has a storage limit. And, he uses Gmail’s “bring your own SMTP server” option so that emails are sent from the company email server instead of Google’s.
One Thing That Agents Don’t Do but Should
Business related files are supposed to be saved on company file servers and email sent via the company mail server. Those are backed up and archived. But we all know that agents don’t always use the company resources. Plus, agents with CRM apps or who use Outlook don’t realize that their data files are stored on their computer’s hard drive – not the company server.
We’ve tried all sorts of ways to help with backing up their drives while they’re in the office but there’s not much a company can do about work done on other devices or from out of the office locations. Every agent should subscribe to a cloud backup service. It’s cheap, simple, effective and saves you the embarrassment of having your colleagues see you cry when your hard drive crashes. Just do it!
Photo by XKCD