Today, technology plays a crucial role in achieving business success. That’s why many small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are turning to IT support companies to keep their tech running smoothly. For a fraction of the cost of a full-time IT staff, you gain access to a team of certified technicians who will take IT issues off your hands.
But with so many IT support companies in the Inland Empire, how will you know the right partner for your business? To help you decide, here are key items you should consider.
#1. Impressive technical expertise and experience
The best IT support companies only hire engineers with outstanding qualifications, so make sure to review their staff’s resumes. This will give you an idea of the quality of service you can expect from them.
- How many years of experience do they have?
- Where did they get their technical training?
- Do they have industry certifications and accreditations? Are these up to date?
- Have they received any awards?
Since technology is a field that rapidly evolves, the IT support provider must stay abreast with the latest technology. You can check this by asking the following questions:
- Are they following industry news?
- Do they invest in their staff’s continued education?
- How often do they attend partner conferences?
Aside from technical knowledge, make sure they have actual experience to back it up — experience that’s relevant to your company’s unique needs.
- Have they worked with a company of the same size as yours?
- Have they supported an organization from the same industry as yours?
- Can they help you abide by the compliance requirements that your business is subject to? (e.g., Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for the healthcare sector)
- Do they have experience in managing the IT services (e.g., cloud computing, Voice over Internet Protocol) you’re currently using and planning to use in the future?
If they only have experience working with large corporations, they might end up recommending solutions that are beyond what you can afford. The same goes with industry and specific IT experience. If they have been focused on serving the finance sector, they might have difficulty adjusting to the needs of a manufacturing company. They might also have a hard time supporting your chosen IT solutions if they’ve never done that before.
#2. Efficient service levels
Make sure the IT support company’s commitments will meet your company’s specific requirements. You can assess this by looking at their proposed service level agreement (SLA) — a contract that dictates the standards they should meet. The SLA should clearly answer the following questions:
- What kind of support can you expect after business hours and on holidays: remote assistance or on-site support?
- What is their guaranteed response and resolution times?
- What are the corresponding rebates or penalties should they fail to meet their committed service levels?
- What is their escalation process?
- What are their contingency plans?
To make sure they can deliver on these commitments, try calling their hotline at night or during off-peak seasons and see who answers. Go a step further and interview some of their existing clients.
Lastly, you should also factor in their office location since this will affect the amount of time it will take for them to go on-site to resolve any issues, should the need arise.
#3. Superb communication skills
There’s so much IT jargon that technology providers seem to be speaking an entirely different language at times. This should not be the case with your potential IT support partner. Clear, thorough communication is essential to having an effective relationship with them. You can assess this by observing the following:
- Do they take time to get to know their clients?
- Do they practice active listening to correctly understand and address your company’s concerns and goals?
- Are their employees articulate?
- Can they break down highly complex IT concepts using layman’s terms so even non-IT people can understand them?
#4. Stable and well-established company
Even though many IT support companies offer monthly plans, it’s best to think of them as long-term partners. They need to have a thorough understanding of your business goals, challenges, current environment, and expectations. This often takes time, so make sure you choose a well-established provider with a stable business that will be around for years to come.
You can evaluate their stability by asking these questions:
- How long have they been in business?
- Are they recognized as a leader in the IT support industry?
- Do they have a solid base of satisfied clients? How are their customer retention numbers?
- Can they provide testimonials and references from existing clients?
Partnering with a stable provider can help ensure that your IT environment will be more scalable, resilient, and aligned with your goals.
Choosing the right IT support provider for your business is a big decision. It will shape your business’s future since technology is your company’s backbone. When you partner with Zeta Sky, not only will we solve your immediate issues, we’ll also proactively elevate your business technology to help you operate more efficiently. We serve SMBs in the Inland Empire and nearby areas. Talk to us to learn more.