Avoid These Buying Mistakes When Choosing Your IT Support Provider
If you’re looking for IT support, or looking to change, it can be a minefield.
With such a wide range of IT solutions on the market today, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Getting this right is important. Having the right IT system in place is a crucial part of a successful, growing business. And your business set-up is only as good as your IT support provider.
The last thing you want is to feel dissatisfied with IT support. From lack of reliability, worries about cybersecurity to overcharging – if you get this decision wrong it can have a serious impact your business. But get it right and you have a technology partner who can help you work more productively and grow successfully.
I’m here to share with you some of the mistakes people make when choosing the right provider and how you as a business owner can take control of your technology. I love talking to my clients and getting asked tricky questions because I’m confident my team and I will be able to answer them. It makes the process so much easier for our clients too.
Here are some questions to ask when you’re on the search for the right IT support provider:
What are the contract terms and will I be tied down for a specific period?
This one’s important.
Most IT support companies will have a set contract with a minimum time commitment and long cancellation periods. For the most part, this comes from a place of vulnerability from IT companies. In my opinion, if you provide exceptional support then there would be no reason for a company to leave you. We’re after long-term relationships, not long-term contracts.
If you’re not happy with the service, you should be given the ability to get out when you need, so ideally search for a company with a short minimum term and a month’s cancellation period. Also, be aware if there’s a penalty involved.
You need to know the scope and limits of cover. Also check your pricing is transparent so you don’t end up dealing with hidden extras at the end of the month.
Think of things like:
- What does your IT company classify as a fault?
- Who pays for onsite visits? Is this included or an extra cost?
- What isn’t covered in the support contract?
- What are your response times? (Be wary of guaranteed response times)
- If people step outside of the contract, what are the penalties?
How do I know you’re the right fit for my business?
Your needs will constantly change depending on the growth plans and budget for your business. You need to sit down and clarify exactly what your needs are at present and what you will need in the future.
Are you looking for a one-stop IT solution that can offer you everything from software to hardware, networking and support? Are you looking to only outsource parts of your IT?
Do you want your business’s data to be accessible from anywhere at anytime? Then you’ll need to look for a digital solution with cloud-hosted options.
It’s definitely best to meet in person with a senior employee or better yet, the owner so you can get a feel for their philosophy as a business and if they’re able to meet your requirements. After all, you’re the one who will have to trust them to handle your IT on a daily basis.
Can I get references for a business in a similar situation?
The best way to measure an IT company’s ability to deliver is through referral. You want to be sure they can support your specific business needs so ask to speak to their other customers who have a business of a similar size.
If you’re a smaller business, you want to be sure you’ll be as much of a priority as their bigger clients.
Of course technical skills are important (this should be a given) but it’s important you get the impression they have your best interest at heart. Do they deliver on what they promise? Are they easy to get hold of and do they stick to the budget?
In the end it comes down to people. They should be able to provide you with substantial evidence that they’re more than capable of handling your business regardless of your size.
How big is your team?
Before you splash out on the big players in the field, you need to carefully weigh up the pros and cons here. Your priority should be focused on ensuring the IT team has the resources to meet all your needs.
There’s no doubt one-man bands offer a more personalised service but what happens when they’re on another call or they’re ill or on holiday? Whereas a corporate will have the resource to cater to your every beck and call 24/7, it’s likely customer care will be lost.
Depending on your objectives, go for a medium-sized provider who offers breadth and depth of skills but is focused on delivering a tailored experience for their clients.
Again, if you’re feeling doubtful, speak to their existing clients to understand if they’ll be a good fit for you. You need to feel safe placing your business in their hands.
Who will manage my account and how do I let you know about problems?
You don’t want to be speaking to a different person every time you call with an issue. Make sure there’s a designated contact on the other side with who you can build a long-term relationship with.
When problems arise, you need to know how to report these faults. There should be a dedicated number you can call, an online portal where you can submit a form or a direct email address to the support team. It’s important to be clear on the process and to know they will be there to help with your issues at a drop of hat.
Ultimately, if your technology fails or you need help, you should be able to count on your IT providers to quickly resolve the issue and prevent it from happening again.
I hope you feel more confident in making the right decision when it comes to switching or choosing IT support. It’s about time businesses give those ’so called’ IT professionals a boot and get in contact with the people who are passionate about helping you succeed.
If you have any more questions or you’d like to chat about IT support, don’t hesitate to give us a call, we would be more than happy to help you.