When your computers and business network are running slowly or glitching repeatedly, it can cause a serious impact on your productivity and that of your staff. Technology is the cornerstone of many successful small businesses, but it can also be extremely damaging when your technology isn't working as expected. Staff members can easily become frustrated and annoyed if they are unable to get a quick response from help desk personnel, while technical staff can become burnt out from the hundreds of small requests they receive on a weekly basis.
Fortunately, there are proactive and trusted IT managed services partners available who are able to step in and reduce the burden on internal staff members. Finding the right fit in your technology partner is crucial, and these questions will help you narrow down the field to help find the best fit for your business.
How Many Specialists Are on Staff?
More (and bigger!) isn't always better when you're talking about a services partner, but you do want to ensure that there are enough staff members available to provide you with the level of service that your business demands . . . and deserves. Look for an organization with engineers or technicians that have a depth of knowledge in your business vertical, with technical chops that they can leverage in your business. Cybersecurity is also a big concern these days, so look for an IT partner whose technicians have proven experience helping organizations stay safe online.
Do Your Communications Styles Mesh Well?
Does your staff prefer to speak to someone on the phone to walk them through support requests, or are they okay with the more informal chat or email options? What about your account managers -- are they available to meet with you when you need them and are they easily comprehending your requests and responding appropriately? While an exceptional sales team doesn't always equate to great long-term service, it's crucial that your preferred communication style is a good fit with any potential partners. You don't want to find out down the road that you're unable to get the level of service and support that your staff members require to be successful.
Is Your IT Services Partner Local?
This may be a personal choice, but many small to mid-size businesses prefer to have a local IT managed services partner. This adds a comfort level when outsourcing a key function such as technology because you know you can quickly get in touch with someone in the event of an emergency. The majority of your interactions will likely be remote, quarterly meetings for a full review of your relationship work extremely well when you're able to get in a room together. Having a local technology services partner can also help convince team members who are a little hesitant to move towards managed services.
Get References -- and Check Them Thoroughly
Many businesses are happy to provide references to you, but it's up to the potential client to thoroughly vet their new vendor. Calling references, and even reaching out into your business network to find other colleagues who have worked with your IT partner in the past allows you to get an unvarnished review of their support services. It's amazing the amount of information you can find on the internet today -- check Google and Yelp! references, too. A note of caution: if you find a single negative review and plenty of positive ones, don't discount the vendor automatically, but give them the opportunity to explain the situation before making a decision to move forward with that vendor.
Looking for a new technology support partner does take time and attention, but finding the right organization can take a great deal of pressure off of internal technology teams. Plus, your business users will appreciate having access to individuals that are empowered to solve their everyday problems quickly. Whether you need help desk support only or a wide range of technology services, you're sure to find a service provider that will meet your needs and exceed your expectations.