Knowing how to choose the right IT support provider is a difficult task.

The world of IT can be a technical one, so how do you know your IT support provider is right for you and your business set-up?

Before you sign a contract, here are the questions to help you cut through the noise of IT support and allow you to make the right decision:

1.) Do you specialise in a specific industry and what does your typical client look like?

Find out if the company is focused on smaller offices or larger companies with 100+ employees and what industries they have experience working with.

This will indicate whether they’re capable of meeting your needs as a business.
Trust us, applying a network software built for a four-person team, to an office of 50+ is never going to end well.

It’s definitely best to meet in person with a senior employee or better yet, the owner so you can get a feel for their philosophy as a business and if they’re able to meet your requirements.

After all, you’re the one who will have to trust them to handle your IT on a daily basis.

2.) Can I get references for a business in a similar situation?

Once you know they’re a right fit for the size of your company, ask them to provide proof.
The best way to measure an IT company’s ability to deliver is through referral.

You need to be sure they can support your specific business needs so ask to speak to their existing customers who have a business of a similar size.

You should get the impression they have your best interest at heart. Do they deliver on what they promise? Are they easy to get hold of and do they stick to the budget?

In the end, it comes down to people. They should be able to provide you with substantial evidence that they’re more than capable of handling your business regardless of your size.

3.) Who will manage my account and how do I let you know about problems?

Establishing this beforehand will save you plenty of time and money. You don’t want to be speaking to a different person every time you call with an issue. Make sure there’s a designated contact on the other side with who you can build a long-term relationship with.

When problems arise, you need to know how to report these faults. Find out what systems are in place to ensure this can be done in the most efficient way possible.

There should be a dedicated number you can call, an online portal where you can submit a form or a direct email address to the support team. Make sure they’re clear on the process so you know they’ll be there to help with your issues at the drop of a hat.

4.) What are the contract terms and will I be tied down for a specific period?

Most IT support companies will have a set contract with a minimum time commitment and long cancellation periods. For the most part, this comes from a place of vulnerability from IT companies.

If you’re not happy with the service, you should be given the ability to get out when you need, so ideally search for a company with a short minimum term and a month’s cancellation period. Also, be aware if there’s a penalty involved.

In my opinion, if you provide exceptional support, then there would be no reason for a company to leave you. We’re after long-term relationships, not long-term contracts.

5.) What type of levels of support do you offer?

We all have different needs and budgets which is why your potential IT support should offer a variety of service levels.

These could include:

Online chat-only support is when you pay a minimal amount to gain access to an online chat agent.
Pay-as-you-go support is the better option for growing businesses as you can simply add a new user as you expand.
Managed service support will ensure your IT support is actively managing your system on a daily basis (you’ll have to sign an annual contract)

These are just a few of the options worth exploring. It’s best to chat directly with your IT support to get a better understanding of what level of service you need in your business.

6.) Is there a limit to the amount of telephone and remote support you offer?

You need to know the scope and limits of cover. Also, check your pricing is transparent, so you don’t end up dealing with hidden extras at the end of the month.

Think of things like:

What does your IT company classify as a fault?
Who pays for onsite visits? Is this included or an extra cost?
What isn’t covered in the support contract?
What are your response times? (Be wary of guaranteed response times)

7.) What is the worst IT disaster you’ve ever had to face with a client?

Who doesn’t enjoy a great horror story?

Mistakes happen. It’s the one fault we all share as people. What’s important is the way we deal with these mistakes.

By hearing how they helped their client recover from their IT calamity, you’ll get a good idea of how they approach problems and the process they use. Were they just winging it or do they have a logical system in place?

This question will also reveal the integrity of this company. As you know, transparency and trust are vital when it comes to your IT support. If they shy away, they may not be your guys. If they’re open and upfront about the less than fortunate events, you at least know they’re human. Honesty is the best policy.

So, what are you waiting for? You’re equipped with everything you need to make sure you find your perfect IT support provider. If you need more advice or would like you to talk about the different options, get in contact, and we’ll help you out.