Hiring an outside IT Support provider to streamline and support your small business is an important task most businesses must face. Here are 6 must ask questions to assist you in this process.
1. What support options do you offer?
Break-fix vs MSP. Reactive vs Proactive. Break-fix (reactive support) means something goes wrong, you call the IT company, they fix it and then bill you. Every time you have an issue, this is what happens. There is usually a site/travel charge, a minimum time charge and then labor charges. An MSP or managed service provider does partly the same thing. You have an issue, you call your IT company, they fix it. However, each month, the company pays a monthly agreement fee for these services either per device or per user. There are usually on-site visits already included in the pricing. This eliminates the surprise billing each month that occurs with break-fix.
Computer issues will always arise even if you have proactive services, a printer will stop working, internet issues, mouse issues. MSP's will be reactive in these situations. However, when it comes to data backup, hard drive failures, memory issues, preventative maintenance, updates and security threats, this is where an MSP should be extremely proactive.
2. How long will it take someone to respond to my problem?
Response times and expectations. When you’re experiencing a computer related issue, you need to know how long it will take for your IT company to respond to it. A response time is the first communication from the company letting you know that they know that you have an issue and that they are working on it! Resolution time is when the actual problem will be solved. This cannot always be a guarantee. There are many factors that go into a resolution such as hardware, responsiveness from the user, and possibly ordering and shipping delays. A company may give you their average resolution time as an indicator of their responsiveness and performance, however be cautious of someone that offers
guaranteed resolution times because all issues vary in complexity.
3. Will someone answer my call after-hours or on weekends?
For many businesses, after-hours support is usually not needed. However, what happens when you do require access to technical support after hours? Knowing that a company will answer your concerns during non-business hours, and the costing up front will help you choose a provider that can service your business appropriately.
4. How do I get in touch with someone and who? Dedicated point of contact. There are some companies that you can only email their support desk. Some companies prefer a phone call. Knowing what the best way to get your problem answered is crucial. Also know who you should contact and how, whether that be a dispatcher, an account manager, a service technician, the help desk, this will help get your issues resolved faster. Having a company that has omni-channel or multiple ways of communicating is ideal. 5. What exactly is Remote Monitoring and Management?
Generally, a computer or server will start to "complain" before a significant issue occurs. Remote management and monitoring can proactively catch these issues before they cause significant downtime. The ability to solve an issue remotely also cuts downtime, as the issue can be taken care of right then and there instead of waiting for an onsite visit.
6. Can you provide references from other clients?
An IT company should be willing to give you contact information of a current or former client they have done business with. This will give you an idea if they live up to their agreement you are about to sign.
Choosing to hire an outside IT Support company is a big decision, and these questions should guide you to making your process a success! If you have any questions about specific services or solutions, be sure to contact us at TierTek.