Business owners can depend on IT firms to cover a variety of tasks, such as keeping their website and apps or software running smoothly, improving workflows and keeping an eye on the virtual security front.
Not all tech support companies are the same though. However, you can get a good match by keeping these 9 things in mind.
IT services vary depending on the firm. The term ‘IT’ is a wide umbrella, which might comprise of troubleshooting, technical support and app or software management.
Entrepreneurs and business owners will need to do some research on which services they need, and at the same time find a tech support company that offers those services. It’s important to note that cost can quickly build up, and you might be better off with a firm that has all the services you want rather than acquiring several to complete specific tasks.
You can check for services offered on the firm’s official website or by getting in touch with them.
Experience is a significant factor when it comes to choosing the right IT services company. The rule of thumb is that the longer the firm has been in operation, the better.
Entrepreneurs can check for experience level by checking the license, academic background and previous jobs, partnerships and portfolios. It’s usually not worth hiring a less experienced tech support company for a cheaper price since they tend to lack credentials. Also, you’ll be taking a greater risk by going with them.
Sometimes gauging an IT firm’s experience is done by simply asking, ‘how long have you been in the industry?’ You can delve further by asking about experience in a particular field, such as software, app or network troubleshooting and support.
Reputation is somewhat similar to experience, but there’s a fine divide between them. It’s just as important though, because it says a lot about the IT company’s work ethic and how they approach conflict and partnerships.
Picking the most popular tech support company doesn’t always guarantee a great service. You’ll need to have a good balance of experience and feedback from their previous partnerships with other businesses. If you can reference the companies, then you’ll more or less have your answer on which company is most eligible for the contract.
It’s worth noting that reputation as marketed is not the same as doing fact-checking the traditional way. You will need to dig deeper and usually inquire or ask for proof of work or completed projects from the firms.
Long delays in IT are unacceptable since it’s part of the job. If your business operation and customers’ data are on the line, then you’ll want to get the one who responds quickly and in a timely manner.
It’s not enough that they respond quickly, though. Once faced with a particular IT issue, they should immediately know what to do and come up with a checklist for troubleshooting purposes. Remember, productivity and sometimes even your profit and revenue can be affected if the tech support you hire is not swift.
Availability might depend on your preference and nature of business. For example, an online commerce shop will want someone who’s on standby 24/7 to monitor the website’s performance and if there are any issues with checking out or adding products.
It’s worth considering having IT support round the clock even if you follow a closing and opening schedule. The extra help can come in handy and keep your software and systems functional when you open the next day. This ensures you and your staff will be ready and without running into any issues beforehand.
Setting a budget goes both ways for you and the IT firm in general.
The IT company will usually have a budget outlined for the scale and the services they offer. There might be a bit of flexibility depending on what you want or if there are any add-ons or extra things you want to tailor your business with.
A tech budget should be available once you meet and discuss the services required to run your IT infrastructure. On your end, you’ll probably know how much you’d be willing to spend – if the estimate from the company lines up then it’s probably a good match.
IT security should not be an afterthought since a data breach or hack can adversely affect customer trust, revenue and operation. The tech support firm should have several security measures for common security concerns, and all of them should be satisfactory enough that you don’t have to worry.
Good signs of high security include stronger passwords, sign-on platforms and encryption, among others. Access to files and equipment will be customized depending on employee level, e.g, an employee should not be able to access systems meant for managers, etc.
Customer-facing apps and software should also have a level of security to prevent data breaches and establish better trust.
Repair and Support
Small businesses and startups can get additional help when they get repair and support in the form of advisors in the mix. You’ll learn how different IT solutions work and will have greater knowledge in terms of basic troubleshooting and repair.
For big and significant repairs you should be able to turn to the IT support team and get timely help. Whether it’s an equipment issue or an app crashing, the technical support personnel should have an idea of what’s going on and how they could fix it, as well as give you a timeframe or window on when it could be completed.
Lastly, the IT services’ goals should be in total alignment with yours. Their mission should be relevant to your company or industry’s vision in the most important aspects, namely growth, sales and security.
A 5 to 10 minute interview should be enough to gauge what the tech support company brings to the table and if they’re a worthy investment. Make a shortlist, conduct interviews and pick the best IT support according to your goal and budget.