Ask These Ten Questions

When you are ready to hire an IT service provider, there are certain questions you need to ask to find the right company for the job.

1. How Long has the IT Service Provider Offered These Solutions?

Finding and using the services of a well-established company is essential to ensure your business network is protected now and in the future. Find out the history of the company and the types of businesses it has served in the past. Working with an established, stable company can help ensure they will be around for years to come as your business grows and your needs evolve.

2. What Does the Company’s Typical Customer Look Like?

There are some providers that may be better suited to your needs than others. Any quality IT service provider is going to value you as a customer; however, you have to consider if they can meet your current and future needs. Some questions to consider about your own business include:

  • How critical is technology to your day to day operations?
  • What value do you put on the technology in your business?
  • What growth plans do you have?
  • What type of hardware is currently being used?
  • Do you have a good “technical coordinator” on staff who can be the point person for communication?

Answering these questions can help you find a company that offers solutions that align with your needs and goals. Ask them about:

  • What is the typical size of company they work with?
  • What industries do they have expertise in?
  • Do they have references of companies similar to yours?
  • You will be able to determine if you will be a small fish in a big pond and therefore get less than stellar services or be a main player for the organization. This is going to impact the level of service your business receives.

3. How Many People Do They Have on Staff?

There isn’t necessarily a “best answer” to this question. If your business has extensive needs, finding a company with a larger staff may be best, as they will be better suited to handle these situations. Also, it’s less likely that issues will arise if someone is sick or leaves. However, larger providers may put small clients behind their big ones, leaving their IT needs lost in the shuffle. Find out how they prioritize their clients.

Specifically, find out how many people on staff are considered tech support. While the company may have 20 staff members, if only two are actually tech support, this could mean trouble if a lot of calls come in from different clients. Also verify if all of the support staff are employees or are they outsourced. Outsourcing is a legitimate model but you should know who will be accessing your systems and data.

4. What Tools Does the Company Use?

Any legitimate IT service provider won’t have a problem sharing information about the tools they use. Most service providers are using industry best in class tools. These are tools you can search for online and learn about what they offer. Specifically, backup, antivirus, security monitoring and patch management.

If you find a company that offers proprietary tools they have developed, they are going to try to leverage these in a way that may put you at risk from having a “one of a kind” solution that only they can maintain. Implementing these tools in your business may cause problems if you ever want to change service providers.

5. How Do They Price Their Services?

Does the company offer flat rate pricing? Or, do they use a break-fix model?

You should also find out how the company makes a profit. Do they only make money when they are doing projects or fixing things when they break or when your current equipment needs to be replaced? If this is the case, there may be a conflict of interest.

After all, if this is how they make money, the service provider may recommend fixes or upgrades when they aren’t actually needed and chronic recurring problems become their recurring revenue.

6. How Does the Company Handle Calls for Help or Service?

Each company has a unique way to handle incoming calls. Will your call be sent directly through to tech support? Or, will there be an account manager handling your call?

While both solutions are fine, you should find out the method the company uses for tracking calls, issues, and past fixes. The last thing you want is to have to explain your entire business and issue over and over again each time you call in for help.

7. How Are Recurring Problems Identified?

What methods does the company use to identify and track recurring problems? This is essential, as it will ensure an issue that more than one person in your business is experiencing is handled before it continues to spread.

8. Is There Anything Out of the Scope of the Company?

It’s important to find out if there is anything that a service provider can’t do. This is particularly important if they offer an all-inclusive or flat-rate fee.

9. Does the Company Outsource Any Services?

This was touched on above, but it is best to know if the company is going to outsource any of the services they claim to provide. This should not be a big secret and something a reliable company will share with you upfront.

10. Can the Company Grow and Scale with You?

Do you have big plans for growth? If so, you need to find a provider that can help with this.

If you are ready to seek IT services for your business, The Purple Guys can help! Call and set up an appointment for us to come in. Together, we can access your situation and talk about your needs.

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