Jul 24 2017

What’s the Smartest Choice in an IT Service Provider? (Part 4)

pexels-photo-265686In this series, after hearing about the positives and negatives (okay, mostly negatives) of both managed (service contract) information technology (IT) services and time-and-materials (break-fix) IT services, you may be asking yourself, is there a smarter choice? Yes, there is. You have the option to choose an IT service provider who values relationships. They are out there, but in today’s IT marketplace of packaging and bundling services into monthly fees, you may miss them. In today’s hectic environment of speedy technicians with low experience and high turnover rates, you may miss them. Look for the IT service provider who understands that maybe a contract is not the best way to go, for either the client or the provider. Look for an IT service provider who focuses on relationship-based service.

The best IT service is made possible only by building a good working relationship with you, the client. This means developing a personal knowledge of your unique needs as a business; that is, what you require from your computers to best serve your needs.

It all comes down to trust, experience, and personalized service. Relationship-based IT service providers take the time to get to know their clients: to understand their business as well as their computer systems, work flows, and procedures. They are experts at applying their intimate knowledge of your computer systems and work processes to solve your technology problems. And they have the long-term clients to prove it.

Trust is a key issue.

Your computer systems are extremely important to your business and they often contain very confidential data. If you are a parent, you are not going to do a random online search for a new babysitter. You are going to ask your friends with babies who they use. You are going to do the homework and carefully select someone you feel is trustworthy. Likewise, you wouldn’t trust just anyone to protect your data or ensure your ability to run your business or improve work processes. Your computer systems are important to your business. They are the lifeblood of your operations.

The relationship-based IT service provider develops long-term relationships with clients.

The smartest choice in an IT service provider is to select one that does not function like a one-and-done company, seeking to make a one-time repair or quick fix. The relationship-based IT service provider develops long-term relationships with clients and gets to know their systems very well. These experienced technicians know exactly what to look for when performing maintenance or fixing problems. They earn your trust. They have a reputation for being honest and forthcoming about what they are doing for you. If they see a problem (or a potential problem), they will explain it to you clearly and give you an idea of what, and how long, it will take to correct.

The experienced relationship-based provider will offer the majority of support on site. Although remote monitoring should be part of the toolbox, there is no replacement for regular on-site visits. Being on site lets the provider see the whole picture and ask questions of multiple people. In the process, the experienced technician will often find other issues or potential problems in the office that can’t be detected by remote monitoring but may have an inexpensive, preventive fix. In the end, this on-site service provides greater levels of customer satisfaction than a typical hands-off, remote approach.

The smartest choice in an IT service provider is the one whose goal is to deliver superior service based on hands-on knowledge of your needs, your systems, and your goals. This knowledge is gained and applied by developing trust and solid relationships. It’s just a smart way to operate.

Read part 1, part 2, and part 3 of this series.