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4 Things to Consider in an IT Support Provider

Whether you are switching providers or using an IT support service provider for the first time, this article could prove helpful in choosing the right provider for you and your business. There are many factors to consider when researching IT support providers. In the uncertain times we live in, you need an IT support company that works in partnership with and one you can depend on.

Customer Service

Customer service is an important aspect of any business and is more of an umbrella term that encompasses other aspects. For example, a restaurant will only provide customer service, not customer support. They will provide you will a delicious meal but of course won’t tell you how to cook your meat. All IT providers must provide both customer service and customer support, within the realm of IT.

A good IT support provider will firstly aim to understand your needs. This means they’ll jump into your shoes to learn what products and services you need. Each company is different and has different IT needs, so understanding them and their business is crucial. The communication between your provider and you is equally important. The tone and language they use are indicators and how fast their response and resolution times are, all play a part in good customer service.

If an IT support provider has exceeded your expectations, this is excellent. We would call this going above and beyond. Some providers offer 24/7 support, but not all businesses need it. However, there may be a one-off time when you desperately need out of hours support. A good IT support provider will have your back. They will take the stress away and solve the issue.

Contracts

Professional IT support providers will be focused on building a trusting relationship with you and like anything, some excel over others. The contract that you make with your provider will set the tone for the relationship. Any contract must leave both parties feeling that it is fair for both sides. Some IT support providers tie their clients into 12-month or longer contracts. We have come across some companies that have been tied to 5-year agreements. This is something to be mindful of when conducting your research. Other companies are not so harsh and put you in control by giving you the choice.

When we buy services, we always avoid getting locked into an agreement and always looked for rolling month contracts. This allows a lot of freedom for you to judge whether the relationship is a good fit and ensure your provider continues to provide you with consistently good service. All our contracts at Cambridge Support are month by month rolling, contact us for more details.

In any IT support contract, there are usually a handful of tier levels. This tiered system helps the IT support provider track and respond to tickets. Normally a request may start at tier one, then can get escalated to tier two and even tier three if it cannot be resolved easily.

It is also normal for any IT support provider to exclude certain situations from a contract. A ‘break – fix’ is a term you may have already heard and is always included in contracts. This means if it is broken, they will fix it, which is all included within your monthly fee amount. However, if you spill coffee on your hard drive or a power surge wipes out your server, this might not be covered in the monthly fee you pay. Your IT support provider will certainly help you get back up and running. However, as you can imagine, there will most likely be an extra cost for this.  

Response Times

Response times are very important when it comes to choosing an IT support provider. On a human level quick response times help you feel important and valued by your provider. Response times can depend on the type of organisation, the size of the team and what issues are currently being managed.

In addition, response time is not the same as resolution times. A typical standard within the industry is to respond within 10 minutes or so, this depends on the IT support provider. Each provider will then have a further set of factors that will determine if the support ticket is high priority or low priority. This therefore determines how long it will take to fix the issue. If a provider always takes hours or days to fix any issue, they could be understaffed, and you may want to look elsewhere.

Depending on how large the support team is, if you ring up your IT provider you should typically expect to get through to them straight away. If they are well staffed and depending on your problem, they could start assessing your issue immediately. Lastly, depending on the nature of your business, you may want to consider 24/7 support. Not every business will require it, however, to those who do, it is invaluable. Not all issues happen 9-5, therefore it is a feature your business needs to assess whether you need it or not.

A Range of Services

Most IT support providers offer a large range of services. Some smaller providers may offer everything but might not always be able to deliver. When switching your supplier or using an IT support company for the first time you will want to assess what they can offer you. The larger IT support companies will have much experience with clients from certain industries. Their marketing may even be targeted to companies of certain industries. Most IT support providers work on a regular monthly fee, but some may offer on demand IT as and when you require it.

Many providers will offer general IT support, consultancy, to help find a solution that works for you. They will also provide network support so that you can minimise downtime and increase staff productivity. Cloud services will also be offered, supporting both private and public cloud hosting services and finally security. This would be in terms of cyber security, with the implementation of technologies, processes and systems to secure your devices and network. It should also include data protection from cyber-attacks.

Our sister company The IT Support Group also have a similar article on why businesses need IT support, which is also helpful.

How Cambridge Support Can Help

Cambridge Support are always just a ring away and our cheerful bunch of experts would be happy to speak to you. If you are thinking of switching IT support providers, we can gladly help. We can assess your current IT systems and provide detailed solutions and useful reporting. We have much experience in many cloud and security focused services. These include Cyber Essentials, security audits, Microsoft 365, and more. We would be more than happy to assess your current IT requirements.

If you have any questions regarding this article, feel free to contact us on 01223 901 900, we are open 7am – 7pm Mon-Fri or email us at ask@cambridgesupport.com.