IT Support – Questions to Ask When Choosing an IT Company
Asking a third party vendor to handle all your IT needs tends to be a challenging task. As there are several companies which provide similar services, you don’t know who to hire. Given the fact that your business has specific needs, you want to make sure that you select the right vendor.
In this situation, it is essential you ask the IT company a series of questions, as it will give you deeper insight into them. Once you obtain the necessary information, you will be in the right position to make an informed decision.
Here are seven questions you must ask when you are choosing a company to provide IT support:
Are there different types of support?
The needs of every company vary significantly, which is why vendors who provide IT support tend to offer various solutions. You need to pick a type of support which fulfills the requirements of your company.
Most of the vendors that provide IT services offer three levels of support. The most common is to assist when something goes wrong, which is known as break-fix support. To obtain this service, you will have to make a payment in advance, or they will charge by the hour.
Another option is to hire the IT support company on an hourly basis, depending on when you need their services the most. Managed service support is the last type of assistance, where the IT company will be in charge of your system. Any time something goes wrong, they will be able to take to quick action, reducing the downtime significantly.
How to open a support ticket?
When you run into problems, the first thing you need to do is get in touch with the IT support company. Due to this reason, it is crucial that you find out how you can get in contact with the organisation? Will they provide a dedicated number which allows you to register a complaint?
Are there other forms of contacting them such as sending an email? At the same time, you should find out if they use a ticketing/desk system to handle these types of situations? The advantage is that it becomes easier for the IT support company to keep track of all problems, along with the progress of the issues. Even if you contact the organisation outside business hours, the ticketing software will help in registering a support request.
Is it possible to provide references?
A great way to know about the quality of an IT support company is to ask them to provide references. It is easy for an organisation to make promises but hard to follow through with them.
With the help of the references, you can determine whether the IT support company is worth your time and effort. For example, you can ask the business whether the vendor was able to deliver on their promises? Find out how the company feels about communicating with the IT support provider. Also, do they stay within the budget and whether the business will use the services of the vendor again.
Is there a Service-Level Agreement (SLA)?
When the IT company provides a contract, it is crucial they include a service-level agreement (SLA) in the document. It contains all the terms and conditions the provider has to follow when you face problems.
For example, when the network in your business is down, how long will the vendor take, according to the SLA to restore the services. Several companies tend to use SLA terms and conditions to take action slowly. For example, the vendor doesn’t have to respond to your issue immediately, as the SLA states that they have a 24-hour time frame to complete the job.
Remote monitoring and management – will it be provided?
As technology is growing leaps and bounds, the need for a physical presence an IT support company continues to decrease significantly. With the right software and tools, the vendors can monitor all the servers and PCs, and install packages and upgrades from remote locations.
Given that you will be investing your resources into an IT service company, it is vital that they provide remote monitoring and management. It becomes easier to handle issues before they can affect the operations or productivity of your business.
What is the average response time?
One way to determine the true weight of an IT support company is to ask them about their average response time. However, this figure tends to depend on the type of package you purchase from the vendor.
Short response times are good, but you should keep in mind that not every problem is easy to solve. Due to this reason, it is quite challenging for IT support companies to give you a definite figure. If they do, it is a red flag, which means that you need to look for a new vendor. Excellent providers will give you their average response time, but inform you that it can change, depending on the complexity of the issue.
What is the plan of action once your business grows?
As time goes on, your business will continue to expand and grow. Your requirements can increase exponentially, making it difficult for the IT support company to satisfy them. You should know that every vendor doesn’t have the resources to keep with the increasing size of businesses.
For example, they will need a greater workforce, along with expertise in a variety of systems, when it comes to handling these situations. In this circumstance, hiring a company designed for small operations won’t be of any use, when your business grows. Due to this reason, you have to keep this in mind when selecting an IT support provider.
Once you ask these questions to the IT support vendor, you will have a better idea on who is and isn’t good for your company. When selecting a provider, you should never make hasty decisions, as it can become expensive in the future. Also, make a list of vendors and compare their answers to see which one suits the requirements of your business!