What is a ‘tech bar’ and why are companies creating them?

Dylan Brown
by Dylan Brown

You may have heard of the term ‘Tech Bar’ before, but do you know what one is? A Tech Bar provides employees and students with a streamlined, digitally-enhanced and customer-facing approach to their IT needs, including device repairs, tech advice and overall servicing.

Unlike traditional, centralized head office processes, Tech Bars are positioned in one physical location, and enable IT support workers to provide a better, more efficient service. They also give employees full transparency around wait-times.

In even the most digitally-advanced, tech-driven of organizations, if your computer were to have a spontaneous meltdown, there’s often very little you can do about it besides contacting the IT services desk…and waiting.

One of the main pain points people come up against when dealing with the internal IT services desk isn’t the service itself – it’s the not knowing when they’ll be served that gets to them.

And when things turn pear-shaped, the IT services team often bear the brunt of the blame. They’re overstretched and under-resourced, managing multiple inboxes and jumping from problem to problem.

Pinpointing a need for a smarter, more efficient approach to the traditional IT services desk, many organizations are establishing tech bars at their head offices.

What is a tech bar?

Deloitte’s 2018 Global CIO Survey revealed that the second most important area of focus for IT leaders over the next three years is ‘building high-performing teams’ – a problem 63% of respondents admitted they struggle with.

But, in order for this to happen, IT leaders need to take a different approach to how their internal IT services desks operate. 

Tech bars are modern, relaxed IT hubs in your head office building that provide employees seeking device repairs, advice and overall servicing a similar experience that they’d expect when visiting a store.

When done right, tech bars offer a seamless, personalized and time-efficient experience for both the IT teams and the employees who require support. 

And they’re rapidly growing in popularity. Between 2017 and 2018, the percentage of large organizations offering tech bar support grew from 35% to 44%, according to HDI’s 2018 technical support practices study, and was predicted to climb to 49% in 2019.

What does a tech bar involve?

Besides a few fancy couches and a pull-up banner, a truly effective tech bar empowers your IT team to provide a better, more transparent service to employees within your organization – and that means having the right digital queuing and appointment scheduling software in place like you’d expect to see in a store.

By placing employees seeking immediate support into a digital queue, your IT support desk can seamlessly attend to all incoming requests, and organize them in terms of priority. This approach also means employees are given a queue position, an estimated wait time and are updated with SMS and email notifications. And appointment scheduling software enables employees to book in time with your IT team beforehand, which not only manages their expectations, it allows you to allocate your internal resources accordingly, and assign particular problems to the people with the right technical expertise, resulting in a much better service.

Find out how a grocery retailer with 2,000+ stores reduced IT support wait times by 47%

Organizations with tech bars at their head office benefit from:

Happier, more productive colleagues

By installing a tech bar at your head office, your colleagues within your business will have a familiar place to go to when they need support. They can schedule a time to get their IT-related issues resolved – such as popping in before their first meeting, or dropping their device off before heading out for the night.

According to employee experience management tool, HappySignals, tech bars have the highest user satisfaction rating (88%) among the most common support channels, and the least amount of lost work time (half the lost time as with phone support, and a third of the lost time reported for email or portal support). 

Higher employee satisfaction within the IT team

Rather than filtering through multiple inboxes and managing outdated ticketing systems, your IT team have a clear idea of their schedule for the day and can plan their workloads around it.  

This also means that they won’t be continuously bombarded with questions that lie outside their area of expertise, nor will they all be needed at the IT support desk from 7am to 7pm every day.

A Tech Bar gives the IT services team a friendly face 

Instead of being hidden away behind their computers, your team will be able to truly showcase their skills and expertise in a casual, friendly space. 

With this face-to-face contact, and with the right software to provide support, your IT team will naturally build better, more understanding relationships with colleagues throughout the business. 

Qudini’s Tech Bar package is an innovative bundle of digital queueing, appointment scheduling and event management solutions. It’s cost effective and quick to get up and running. 

How to provide a virtual ‘Tech Bar’ service to employees during Covid-19

Learn more about how we can help improve your IT support productivity by getting in touch today or read our case study that explains how Qudini’s Tech Bar solution transformed a major grocery retailer’s new head office tech bar. 

Case study: Find out how this international bank with 1,000+ branches incorporated a Tech Bar into its headquarters

 

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