FCS has completed the move to a pre-paid tech support model. A company I used to work for in the early 2000’s did this for their clients and it always ensured available paid time for those who needed it. Some industries refer to this as the retainer model whereby you have a lawyer on retainer, or an accountant on retainer. This is how it will work:
The New Workflow
- When you need tech support, or preferably, before you need tech support, visit https://www.fa-ct.com and click on “Purchase Time”. This will take you to a page where you can pick the Time Block you wish to purchase. You can purchase one, or you can adjust your item line to purchase multiple time blocks. Payment by credit card is done via Paypal, but FCS will also accept Bitcoin if you prefer. If you have a Paypal email address, you can log into your Paypal account as well to send funds that way. In the future, I will be able to manually process payments as well. So if you phone ahead and didn’t purchase time first, I will be able to enter your details over the phone at the beginning of our call.
- After purchasing time, click my company logo and then click the “Step 2: Start a Ticket” button. Here you can fill in the details of what you are dealing with. In the future, you will be able to visit the product page where you’d made your purchase and click the Get Help button there as well.
- After submitting your issue, you’ll be taken to a booking page where you can request an appointment at a date and time that suits you best. If your issue is not time sensitive and you are satisfied with receiving email-based techsupport only, you can close out of the FCS website at this point. For example, established website, bookkeeping and multimedia clients generally don’t need an appointment. So when you are taken to the booking page, simply close your browser’s tab. You’re done.
At each step of the way, you will receive confirmation emails ensuring that I have received your purchase, received your support ticket, and received your appointment request if you asked for one. Sometimes your appointment request will require me to call you or get further details before I can confirm. Other times, I might already be booked. Therefore, you will get a second confirmation email regarding your appointment letting you know if that date and time could be confimed or not.
Purchasing multiple Time Blocks will put paid time on credit with FCS that you can draw on at any time. I have a couple clients who currently send me funds to put on their account already, one of them does this with e-transfer. E-transfer continues to be an option for those who prefer to cover their accounts in this fashion.
4. After your tech support issue has been successfully dealt with, you will be sent a paid invoice reflecting the used portion of your purchased Time Block(s) and the work done using those time blocks. Another neat feature coming in the future will be the ability to see the time spent in your support ticket dashboard. You will be able to look at your Time Block PDF on your computer, look at your time spent in your dashboard, and be able to calculate how much you have left before you need to buy more time. This will be great for regular clients who make use of FCS services throughout the year.
Clients that typically get billed monthly should now assess how much they generally get billed for, and purchase enough Time Blocks to cover anticipated useage each month. Unused Time Blocks in any given month will roll over to the next month, so there is no concern about expiring purchases. (Not to mention the Canadian Federal Government now forbids similar purchases such as gift cards, from expiring. Incidentally, FCS Time Blocks may be purchased as gifts)
Non-profit clients, please contact me to discuss how this can work in your favour as well.
Client Dashboards and Other Changes
Something else new to the system will be the presence of three dashboards. Some of you may have used the client area of Freshbooks occasionally. You will have something similar right on the FCS website! Your support ticket dashboard is already waiting for you. Simply enter your email address that I have on file, then click “forgot password” to create your password and log in. A dashboard to keep track of Time Block purchases also exists using the same login as your support ticket dashboard (you only need to log in once to use these dashboards). When your invoicing dashboard comes online, you’ll be able to make use of that as well with the same login information.
Invoicing is being brought in-house thanks to these changes, as a result, the invoices you receive are changing appearance and content as well. One content change will be an ongoing updated Payments line, showing a grand total of all payments you have made to FCS to date. As much as possible, current invoice numbering will remain the same, although historically-imported invoices may have different titles when seen from your dashboard view. This will only impact invoices created prior to May 10, 2017.
A list of FAQ’s related to these changes is being built in the Support Ticket Dashboard. To make optimum use of these changes, you will need to log into FCS. To begin with, scroll to the bottom of the home page and click “log in”, or click on “My Dashboard” from the menu across the top. Each section of the dashboard offers access to the main login area of the site, so don’t be baffled by two or three offers to help you log in. Enter your email address (the one you are reading this from as that is what I have on file) in the space provided and then click “forgot/lost password”. (You don’t need to enter it into each area of the dashboard, just once will suffice) You will be sent a password reset link. Click on that link in your email inbox and enter the password you’d like to use. After logging in, you’ll be taken back to the home page again where you can engage in whichever step in the support process you are at, from buying time, to sending in an issue to viewing invoices or keeping track of support efforts. While it is possible to begin a support ticket as a guest, in order to purchase time you will need to use the account automatically created for you during the ticket-creation process.
We’re at the beta stage of all these changes now. I encourage you to log in, take a look around, add a time block to your account, try out the support ticket and booking system, and let me know your feedback. A few pieces of functionality are still coming, but when all the pieces are in place, everything will go much more smoothly.
Who You Gonna Call?! FCS!
Don’t forget, if you need techsupport for most Windows-based issues, drop me a line or give me a call. The FCS phone number is in the email signature below. Stop by the website to view services and rates, purchase time, or to to book an appt.
Thank you for choosing FCS for your techsupport needs.