IT supportSmart SMB owners are learning a valuable lesson that is leading to increased productivity and cost savings. It is simply this – do what you have expertise doing, and allow others to do the same. You hire an accountant for your taxes. You hire an attorney for your contracts. Doesn’t it make sense then to hire an expert to manage your IT function? As with any other outsourcing relationship, in order to find success, you need to first vet the provider. Here are five characteristics of great IT support providers.

  1. General experience: This isn’t everything because some companies learn how to do things better than others. You could hire a company with 5 years of experience who knows how to do things much more efficiently and cost-effectively than another with 7. But, in general, the more experienced company will provide a higher quality of service and know how to better address your needs. If they’ve been in the IT business for a long time, that also indicates they have evolved along with the IT products they service.
  2. Experience within your specific industry: The IT needs for the healthcare industry versus a law firm, for example, are much different. Both will need extensive record keeping, but what is stored differs dramatically. Legal firms, which are often very small, also may need someone who physically visits the premises and makes hardware repairs.
  3. Custom solutions: When you talk to the representative from your managed services provider, note how much they ask questions versus provide answers. If they’re doing all the talking and telling you how things should be done, then how are they going to understand which services best fit your company’s needs?  If they’re giving you all the answers, then you’re probably getting a cookie-cutter solution that everyone gets. And that may not be the best for your company. The best managed network services provider asks many questions so they fully understand which services will drive the most value for your business.
  4. Client references: Any company worth their salt should be able to provide you with at least a handful of clients willing to serve as references. And if you really want to go the extra mile, actually call them. Few companies will follow through and contact the client references.
  5. BBB rating: Not all IT support companies have been around long enough to get listed with the BBB. However, the industry as a whole is getting mature enough that many companies do have this rating. Don’t view it as the final authority on the quality of a business, but do take it into consideration as another important factor.

If you check those 5 factors while you evaluate different IT support companies, then you’re sure to end up with a high-quality service provider.

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