Most industry professionals define customer support as the range of services offered to help customers get the most out of a product and resolve their issues. 

In a nutshell, customer support services are designed for problem solving.  For a product using technology–like a phone, computer or software—it is commonly referred to as technical support, or tech support for short.  For technology products, in which their use is more intangible, the quality of support is an essential ingredient to the customer’s success. This holds true for software used by scrap metal recycling companies, which often have a variety of employees using software to manage every aspect of recycling operations.

The types of services offered in customer support should include:

  • Onboarding, to get new customers familiar with the product being installed.
  • Answering questions that arise in the course of learning and using the product.
  • Troubleshooting to work with a customer to get issues fixed.
  • Maintenance and Upgrading, equipping customers with new functionality in their product.
  • Sharing customer experience with other departments.

To get more insight about the nature of these customer support interactions, we talked to Caleb Torkelson, a technical support specialist and manager of the Help Desk for ScrapWare Corp. 

ScrapWare has been providing software to the scrap metal recycling industry for more than 33 years.

At ScrapWare, Torkelson assists with all onboarding of new customers. This involves working through ScrapWare’s pre-implementation procedures and walking new users through online implementation and training. 

Once a customer has their software installed and they are trained, questions will come up in the day-to- day use of the product. Customers may use a variety of channels to contact the Help Desk, either calling, emailing or texting.  The ScrapWare Help Desk is staffed 24/7.  Since customers may use the software at all hours, every day of the week, it is important that customers have round-the-clock help via multiple channels. In today’s business environment, it is no longer adequate to have a help desk that is only open during certain business hours and only accessible by appointment. “Most of the time with simple data issues, most customers will send an email.  If it is a hardware or software problem a customer would like to have resolved ASAP, they will call,” Torkelson says.

In addition to answering routine questions about software usage, the ScrapWare Help Desk troubleshoots issues that a customer needs to have fixed. 

The most common areas where customers need help “tend to be either data issues that need to be corrected or software/hardware issues,” says Torkelson.  “Usually, data issues are ones that need to be corrected overnight by our programmers, for example, date and time changes or correcting anything on a paid ticket.  The hardware/software issues tend to be either issues with the hardware or software not working correctly with the customers network or anti-virus tools, or simple training issues where the customer is incorrectly using software or hardware,” he added.

A common method of addressing a technical support problem is for the support professional to log into a customer’s computer remotely.  More in depth issues are “mainly handled by remote access, unless it would be a quicker fix for me to walk someone through fixing something” over the phone, Torkelson says.  Nonetheless, “I know I am able to walk customers through most issues without remote software and it is very common for us to do so.”

Occasionally, an issue requires input from a programmer on the development team.  In these cases, “most issues are resolved overnight,” unless a more in-depth programming change would be needed.

At ScrapWare, software maintenance and upgrades do not require interaction with customers, so there is less involvement with customer support.  Maintenance and upgrades at ScrapWare are free of charge for all customers and happen automatically, usually overnight on a weekend.  As databases and customer needs evolve, these upgrades are important to keep the software as current and effective as possible, says ScrapWare President Joe Floam. 

This links to an important customer support function, which is sharing customer experiences with other departments, says Floam.  “Caleb shares with us what our customers are experiencing and what their needs are, so we can constantly be adapting the software to improve its value for them.  For us, customer support is making sure we have customer success with ScrapWare.”     

As far as what customers should be prepared with when they contact the Help Desk, Torkelson advises, “Mainly, we just need a clear description of what is happening, after that we may have more questions but the rule of thumb is to just give us as much information as you can think of and we will use that to determine what is the cause of the problem…Please just contact me if anything is happening that we might be able to assist with.”

About ScrapWare Corporation: Since 1989, Rockville, Maryland-based ScrapWare Corporation has been the software of choice for the recycling industry. Its ease of installation and simplicity saves users time and money, while helping them achieve compliance and maintain accurate business insights. With state-of-the-art functionality that‘s tailored to each organization’s unique requirements, ScrapWare is an advanced dynamic software solution that alleviates the most pressing recycling industry worries. For more information, please call (301) 517-8500 or visit