Many small businesses and startup enterprises are beginning to realize the value of outsourcing their IT support needs. With limited resources and nuanced assistance requirements, in-house hiring isn’t always the logical thing to do.
If you’ve determined that outsourcing IT support is the best option for your business, here are some key considerations for choosing a vendor and getting the service you pay for.
Clarify Needs and Budget
Before you begin to vet potential IT support services, it’s important to clarify your business needs. Does your business require some straightforward help desk services to keep things running smoothly when an issue arises? Or do you need in-depth assistance with integrating a new system and support with training staff?
Once you’ve clarified your company’s needs, you can look at your budgetary limitations. It may be challenging to determine an initial budget if you’ve never worked with an IT support service before. Don’t hesitate to reach out for quotes to get a better idea of what your project or support framework will cost. Remember to measure the opportunity cost of hiring someone in-house or going without proper support. You’ll often find that the investment is well worth it.
Look for Relevant Experience
Once you have a better idea of what you’re looking for in terms of IT support services, narrow down your options by looking for a provider with relevant experience. For example, if you run a small-to-medium enterprise (SME), you’ll want an IT service provider with experience supporting SMEs. Conversely, if you own a retail chain, you’ll want an IT support company with experience supporting various locations and protecting secure transactions.
There will be numerous IT companies that offer a variety of services, as well as those who have a targeted niche. There are pros and cons to each type of provider, and the decision will ultimately depend on your unique requirements.
Consider Case Studies and Reviews
Established IT support services should be able to produce testimonials, customer reviews, and case studies to support their claims. Case studies, in particular, can be incredibly helpful when trying to evaluate how their services helped a business like yours.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to the organizations listed as partners to get a better idea of the quality of service provided.
Evaluate the Service Models
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to IT support services. The prospective vendor you choose will likely have a variety of support levels and service models to encompass varying needs. These models could be based on ad-hoc requirements or on a monthly retainer.
Take some time to understand what the service models do and do not include when evaluating which option is best for you. Determine whether you can scale your service needs in the future and how long the commitment to your current level of service will be.
Clarify the Communication Process
When outlining the service requirements, take some time to clarify the communication process. Find out if you’ll be working with a general call center support line or if you’ll have a dedicated agent or technician. It’s also important to clarify the support hours and response time before committing to a service provider.
Determine whether your service model and provider include preventative monitoring or if the service is purely responsive. Know that there’s no clear answer to how long a given issue will take, as technology is nuanced. However, your chosen provider should be able to provide clarity surrounding communication and response times and give accurate estimates surrounding how long an issue will take to resolve.
Get Everything in Writing
Finally, ensure that everything you agree upon is captured in writing. This contract should include clearly outlined services that are included in your agreement, as well as what services are considered extra. Be wary of IT support companies that simply say “everything” is included, as that’s rarely the case.
With these key considerations, you can find an IT support provider that will keep your business running smoothly.
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