Partnering with an IT support company is an excellent way for small businesses to experience numerous benefits, such as reliable tech resources, predictable budgets, scalability, security, and enterprise-grade business solutions, at a fraction of the cost of having them all in-house.
However, not all IT support organizations are created equal. If you reach a point where your tech partner hinders instead of promotes business growth, then you should consider switching to another provider. Here are some telltale signs you must look out for.
#1. Slow response times and poor communication
Is your IT support company taking too long to respond after you submit an issue? Are you the one notifying them of critical issues such as internet outages or downtime instead of them notifying you? Do you have to keep following up on the status of your tickets since you won’t hear from them for days or weeks if you don't?
Though they might have a number of reasons for such delays, they should still communicate with you swiftly and frequently. If you send a support request email, you should get an acknowledgment receipt. And depending on the urgency of the issue (usually denoted/categorized as critical, high, medium, and low), you should receive a response from them within the committed turnaround times stipulated in their service level agreement (SLA).
Remember, tech issues can cripple your business operations. In fact, IT downtime costs businesses an average of $5,600 per minute. That’s why your IT support provider should fulfill their obligation to solve your IT issues, especially critical and high-priority ones, as quickly as possible.
The right IT support partner will consistently keep all stakeholders abreast of significant updates and be transparent with your team. If they are unable to resolve the issue right away, they will clearly indicate when you can expect a resolution. And, if there is a problem with your IT infrastructure, their remote monitoring systems should enable them to be the one to tell you about it. Failed backups, low memory, and PC or server crashes are all examples of problems your provider should know about before you do. The best providers will even provide regular status reports to ensure that your IT systems are running optimally.
#2. Recurring issues
If you keep experiencing the same IT problems, you may need to find a new IT support partner.
The right partner uses sophisticated incident databases to detect and resolve issues before these disrupt your business. Should an issue occur, they have systems, processes, and documentation in place to efficiently fix it and explain the steps taken to prevent it from happening again.
#3. Lack of 24/7/365 monitoring
While your company’s working hours may only be from 9 to 5, your network and data never sleep. That’s why your IT support company must monitor your systems around the clock. They should have the correct mix of remote and on-site personnel available at all times of the day and night to give you proactive 24/7/365 monitoring and support.
#4. Unrecoverable data after an incident
In today’s digital world, lost data is unforgivable. In industries like healthcare, where the government imposes strict mandates on data security and availability, data loss and compromise are severely punished. So if your IT support partner fails to back up your data and restore your operations seamlessly after an incident, then you need to look for another provider.
#5. Security incidents
Have you fallen victim to a data breach or cyberattack that could have easily been prevented? Has your IT support company failed to provide a clear plan to address security issues? Is your provider charging you extra to remediate these issues?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might want to consider a new partner. We recommend going with an IT support provider that offers a robust, comprehensive suite of cybersecurity programs and compliance and risk management services.
#6. Unmanageable IT spending
Many small businesses sign up with an IT support provider in an effort to stabilize their IT spending, yet many find that nearly every invoice is higher than they expected.
There could be a number of reasons for this. Perhaps their IT support company is purchasing and installing tech solutions without their knowledge. Bill shocks are a tactic for fleecing clients, so those who engage in this practice must be avoided like the plague. A good provider should be helping you plan, budget, and prioritize your IT expenses, not surprising you with additional costs. There could also be a discrepancy between what you expected versus what is actually covered in your contract. But your IT partner should make sure you understand what’s covered and what’s not.
When evaluating an alternative provider, look for a company that offers predictable IT spending and is transparent with their billing so you can be assured that you’ll stay within your budget.
If you’ve encountered any of the red flags above, then you should seriously consider changing your IT support company. Read our article, “Factors that make efficient and effective IT support,” to help you find the ideal partner that can bring value to your firm while unlocking business growth.
When you sign up with Frontline, you’re assured that we check off on all of those factors. Not only that, you’ll be backed by a provider that consistently ranks as one of the top IT companies in Los Angeles. Reach out to us!