Are you considering working with an IT service provider?
It’s a big decision. When an IT service engagement goes right, your business can turn technology into an advantage and thrive. When an engagement goes wrong, the costs to your business can be huge.
Let’s make sure the engagement goes right.
To that end, here are five mistakes that many IT service providers make, presented in the hope that, by knowing them, you’ll be able to avoid them.
This is the most basic mistake an IT provider can make: failing to deliver responsive service.
Responding quickly to user issues seems simple in principle. It’s the core of classic IT service. Most managed IT service providers offer always-on helpdesks, so, hypothetically, most of their users should be able to get responses quickly. But in practice, quick responses require coordinated systems and expert technicians.
Obviously, a slow response time is a huge mistake. The trouble typically occurs in two forms.
1. It may be that helpdesk support isn’t well-staffed, which can result in delays if multiple requests come in at once.
2. It may be that helpdesk support isn’t well-trained, so the person who answers the phone isn’t equipped to actually solve the problem.
The best IT service providers staff their helpdesks so that contacting a real person is easy, and they have training and systems to make first-call resolution common and escalation easy.
In other words, they provide fast issue resolution.
This mistake is related to the one we’ve just discussed, but it’s common enough and troublesome enough to warrant its own section. If you’re looking for IT service, make sure that you work with a provider that has in-house support personnel.
Companies that outsource helpdesk support to contractors, whether onshore or offshore, are nearly always trying to cut corners. And their service often suffers because of it.
When your business outsources IT support, you’re getting a function that you’re not equipped to perform internally off of your plate and into the hands of a competent provider.
When an IT service outsources helpdesk support, they’re moving a critical part of their service farther down the chain in an attempt to reduce overhead. The result is usually longer response times and less user satisfaction.
This one isn’t quite as obvious; actually, it’s rather easy to miss. But it does make a big difference.
As we’ve written before, when users call for IT service, the support they receive is only helpful if it fixes the underlying IT problem. To ensure that the underlying IT problem is fixed requires follow-up.
Failing to follow-up can lead to bigger (and more expensive) problems if the root issue isn’t fixed.
Before you work with an IT service, ask them about their follow up process for support.
Now we’re getting to a more strategic level. It’s a mistake to provide a solution before doing due diligence on the context.
Unfortunately, this happens all the time.
Many IT service providers have a package of products and services that they’ll slap on as a solution for any scenario – a go-to monitoring platform, a certain suite of cybersecurity software solutions, a favorite make and model of workstation.
It’s not a problem to have recommendations (in fact, it’s a problem if your IT provider doesn’t have any recommendations). But when a provider’s recommendation is always the exact same in every scenario, then it’s probably not the best fit for your scenario.
At Complete Network, we believe that IT service should be strategic. That’s why we provide world-class vCIOs in all of our managed IT service engagements. We provide recommendations, but we ensure that we have a thorough understanding of your business environment before we jump into a solution that’s not the perfect fit. Then, we help you chart a path forward based on your unique needs.
This final mistake takes vigilance to avoid.
Here’s how many IT service engagements work: The provider is intent on impressing you off the bat. So, upfront, you get proactive communication, dedicated strategy, and responsive service.
Over time, though, things change. Where once the IT provider was seeking to impress you, now they’re just doing what they need to do to maintain the status quo. Over time, their responsiveness dips. You become less of a priority as the provider adds other clients. The technicians and engineers you worked with at first move up or move on, until you’re left speaking to people you don’t know and probably don’t trust.
Eventually, the service is simply unsatisfactory – and you move on to a new IT provider so you can experience the honeymoon phase again.
Here’s the bottom line: Unless there is continual and intentional realignment to your business needs, IT service relationships will continually decline.
That’s why, at Complete Network, our vCIOs meet with clients every six months, on site, to review technology roadmaps and make sure alignment is maintained. Regular adjustment is the only way to avoid letting service slip over time.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking otherwise.
At Complete Network, we take care to avoid mistakes like the ones listed above. As a veteran of the IT services field, we’re believers in long-term, high-touch IT services partnerships.
For over twenty years, we’ve been providing managed IT service and IT consulting services to organizations in Albany, New York, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Bluffton, South Carolina.
If your business is struggling with its technology, we can help. Contact our friendly, knowledgeable team any time at 1.877.877.1840 or [email protected]. We’d be happy to answer your questions, walk you through our solutions, and ensure that you avoid IT service mistakes.
In an ideal world, technology would be a consistent source of competitive advantage and benefit for small and midsized businesses. The reality is that many fail to realize that confidence.
Without the right resources and support, even a highly skilled technology team can become overwhelmed by the growing list of technology management duties. When important tasks get neglected, it creates ripple effects throughout an organization that damage productivity and efficiency.
The co-managed IT services model solves these problems by providing your existing IT team with all the support and resources they need to successfully plan, manage, and defend your network technology.
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