Choosing an IT Support Company can be overwhelming. It’s probably that thing on your to do list that you’re avoiding. It’s been on there for a while and you know you’ll eventually have to do it. Luckily for you, I can help! Here is a very practical list of eight things you should check out when choosing an IT Support Company:
This one might be a little obvious, but it’s extremely important that any company you hire is trustworthy. They’ll inevitably be dealing with sensitive data about your business’ operations. You’ll definitely need to know you can trust them. An easy way to be certain of an IT support company’s trustworthiness, is to look for customer reviews. What kind of relationships do they have with their customers? Are they professional in their interactions? Do they respond to and solve issues in a timely manner? An often overlooked, but very important question – do they explain complex, technical problems in language their customers can understand? You don’t want to be stuck buying unnecessary and sometimes expensive equipment, because your IT support company is exploiting your lack of technical knowledge.
Gone are the days when purchasing an IT system was an afterthought for businesses. Today, businesses run on IT and it’s highly likely that yours does too. Your ability to make money shouldn’t ever be hampered by IT support trying to figure things out as they go along. You need to be confident that the company you hire will be able to provide you with support that’s relevant to your business’ needs. Some good questions to ask – do they support mainly businesses or home users? Do they currently offer support for your operating system? What specific services do they provide? Who are their partners? (A question for you – do you recognise any of the names?)
Everyone deserves a chance. But when it comes to your business, giving an IT support company a chance to prove themselves could be a costly mistake. Yes, I know that years of experience doesn’t necessarily make a company the best. But it does mean that it’s likely they’ve come across and resolved your IT problems before. You don’t have the time for your IT support to learn on the job. Hire a company with experience.
When your system goes down, you need to be confident that support will be on the job as soon as possible. Time to fix estimates based on support request categories are common in the industry. But don’t be fooled by companies that guarantee a solution in unrealistically short time frames. Some jobs are more complex than others and hence, will require more time to solve. You don’t want to hire a company that provides temporary fixes for everything just to meet deadlines. That’s a recipe for disaster!
Levels of Support
The ideal IT support company should be able to offer solutions based on the size of your business, your budget and your current IT constraints. Will they be able to provide both reactive and proactive support for your business? Can they help you leverage your IT resources in a way that makes your business scalable?
Does your potential IT company provide businesses with strictly technical support or do they also offer managed services? Do they buy equipment that might be required to fix problems on your behalf? (i.e. do they own the equipment, or do you own the equipment?) These are all important questions you need to ask before you hire an IT support company.
Securing your IT infrastructure will be the most essential service an IT support company can provide you with. The statistics on companies going out of business because their systems have been compromised are astonishing (required reading: “Why You Should Backup Your Data”
). Don’t leave security up to chance. Make sure the company you hire can at least provide you with basic solutions like anti-virus, anti-malware & spam protection.
Finally, but by no means is it the least important – price. While I understand the temptation of choosing the lowest cost option, I still want to caution you – price is often an indicator of quality. Generally speaking, the cheapest option is typically not the best and, in most cases, doesn’t last very long. Make no mistake, I am not in any way telling you to choose the most expensive option. We all know too well that heartbreak when something that’s really expensive doesn’t live up to its price tag. So, I’ll be frank and say that some companies are really just lots of “fluff.” They may look shiny on paper and cost a lot, but that’s all they can offer you. Their technical support may leave a lot to be desired and that’s a costly mistake your business will want to avoid. So, my advice is to be wary of companies on either end of the spectrum. But also be mindful that your business is most likely at the mercy of your IT resources being functional, so don’t undervalue IT support!