The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on the economy with many businesses having had to close or significantly reduce service for the foreseeable future. Consequently, we are headed for a period of recession and business owners must prepare their business for the difficult times ahead.
In evaluating where it is possible to cut costs, it is important to carefully consider your IT support. If you have an in-house IT team, now may be the time for you to outsource your IT. Ultimately, you want to choose the most effective way to support your systems and your people to ensure your business can continue running as usual.
Here are some tips for finding the best IT support provider for your business including what questions you should be asking and what research you should be doing.
You need to make sure that the IT support company you choose is suited to supporting your business. Some of the factors to take into consideration are:
- Size – they must have the capacity to support your business and should be able to assign the appropriate amount of time and people to you.
- Establishment – you want to be able to rely on a company that has plenty experience with businesses like yours.
- Typical Client – it is a good idea to ask the company what their typical client looks like; it would be a bit disconcerting to discover that they don’t have clients in the same industry as you
SLAs (Service Level Agreements)
SLA metrics are really useful for helping you gauge how effective a company is. These will include KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) such as response time and time to resolution and will help you understand what you can expect of your IT support provider.
- Time to Respond – this is the time it takes between a customer making a request and an engineer opening a ticket. This is a critical metric in measuring the effectiveness of a service desk. A high performing service desk will communicate effectively with you and keep you informed.
- Time to Resolution – this is the time it takes for the problem to be resolved. Ultimately, if a company’s metrics show that they are consistently taking a long time to solve uncomplicated issues, it is a clear sign that their service desk is not performing at a high level.
As well as your chosen IT support company being an established, experienced business, it is important to consider their expertise and technical skill too. There are a few things to look at when considering expertise and skill:
- Service Desk Tools – A high performing service desk will have invested in tools which are designed to save time, help them with organisation and create a more professional environment.
- Technical Skills – You should be confident that the engineers you’re dealing with have a basic level of skill and can solve simple issues without having to ask their supervisors. It almost goes without saying, but the importance of continuous training and certification can’t be stressed enough. Your service desk needs to be able to work with the technology you have and they should be able to solve your problems without stumbling on basic points, such as interpreting reports.
- Competence – A competent help desk will have processes in place to ensure that tickets are directed to the appropriate people, and if the first line engineer is unable to solve the problem, that it is escalated. It will have a system in place for out of hours emergencies and will ensure that your IT issues are resolved as quickly as possible so you can continue running your business.
- IT Partnerships – To ensure that you receive the best, most up-to-date support, reputable IT support providers will be trusted partners of companies such as Microsoft, Apple and HP. They should also be up to date on compliancy regulations, such as PCI and GDPR.
Although the content of your contract with an IT support company details exactly what services they provide, it can be helpful to have a look at feedback and testimonials from other clients. This can give you an idea of what it’s like to work with the company and how they treat customers. Some of the things you should research include:
- Customer Service – As a customer you should feel valued and taken seriously. You want to know that your service desk has your best interests at heart and that resolving your issues is their priority. If a service desk falls short basics such as politeness and communication skills, the likelihood is that you won’t feel comfortable working with them. Customer service is about going the extra mile without being asked and having genuine care and concern.
- Feedback and Testimonials – One of the most effective ways of gauging a company’s effectiveness is to ask their current and former clients how satisfied they are with the service. This can be done through online research of unbiased reviews. Additionally, many IT companies will also have client testimonials and case studies on their website.
- Dedicated Account Manager – Having a single point in the company to contact when you have questions, concerns or even compliments is a good way of building a lasting relationship with your IT support provider. They will be your main point of contact and will get to know and understand your business and plans and will be able to ensure that you are accommodated and catered for.
- Dedicated Engineer – Although it might be unreasonable to expect to speak to the same engineer every time you call, you should be comfortable in the knowledge that the engineers you speak to are part of the same team. They should have the same level of familiarity with your business. You don’t want to have to explain the basics, who you are and what your business is, every time you pick up the phone.
- Contact Methods – When something goes wrong, you need to be able to contact your IT provider quickly and efficiently. Whether it’s a phone call or logging a ticket online, their preferred method of contact should work for you.
- 24/7 IT Support – If your business requires 24/7 support, then it is important that your IT provider offers this service. You don’t want to realise that they don’t offer this support when you have an out-of-hours emergency.
Cardonet have been working with businesses for the past twenty years to help them overcome their technological challenges. We have engineering bases in the United Kingdom, Europe and Southern California and our group of highly experienced engineers are available 24/7 to assist and ensure your IT infrastructure is running seamlessly. We are here to answer your questions to ensure you get the best IT support for your business.
If you are spending too much time dealing with technology issues and if those issues are affecting your business, call us on +44 203 034 2244 or +1 323 984 8908. Alternately, you can contact us online. We will be happy to help you overcome your IT challenges so that you can set your business apart.