5 Things to Look For When Choosing an IT Service Provider

Whether you’re unhappy with your current IT service provider or just started thinking about getting some help with your growing computer network, choosing a good IT service provider is paramount to the success and growth of your business. You don’t want to waste time on companies that can’t deliver what they promise. Here are some tips that can help when evaluating potential IT providers in your area.

Look for Multiple Technicians

While it might be tempting to opt for an IT company run by a single individual, relying on a one-man band for your IT support needs can be risky. What happens when that person gets sick, goes on vacation or gets too busy to handle the load? You might find yourself without the support you need when you need it most.
A better option is to work with an IT service provider who has multiple technicians on staff. Working with a team of technicians is advantageous for many reasons. For one thing, there are more people to handle ongoing problems and support more clients.
And consider this… No one technician can know everything there is to know about every computer system or piece of software.
Having multiple technicians at your disposal means you’ll have access to multiple skill sets with a greater likelihood of getting your problem resolved more quickly.
Finally, companies that employ multiple techs often have better procedures in place to handle incoming calls, documentation, scheduling and other details, making it easier to get the support you need.

Does the IT Service Provider Have Vendor Certifications?

Microsoft and Dell vendor
Look for an IT provider who has earned certifications from recognized hardware and software vendors in the industry. Earning certifications from Microsoft, Dell, Datto and other technology vendors shows the company has met a series of conditions that vendors require and that at least some of their technicians have taken specialized courses or passed specific exams. It also means their technicians are often more qualified to troubleshoot problems on particular hardware or software.
Vendor certifications can also provide other perks, such as faster vendor support service, expedited shipping on replacement parts or access to a vendor’s senior technicians and support centers for troubleshooting. This enables IT support companies to provide better service to their clients.

Finally, it costs a company time and money to obtain vendor certifications. This shows a commitment to ongoing education, relationships with vendors and innovation as technology changes.

Find Out About Established Policies and Procedures

Any IT company you work with should have established policies and procedures for protecting your network and data while providing reliable service. Be sure to ask about these procedures before hiring any company to work on your network.
For instance:

  • Will they back up your computers before they work on them to ensure the safety of your data?
  • Will they document and map your network before they start working on it?
  • Will they ensure that any computer they work on will maintain its original software, settings and preferences after the repair is complete?
  • Do they charge for subsequent visits to fix an identical problem?
  • Do they guarantee that they will respond to support calls within a specific period of time?
  • Does the person who answers the phone have computer support knowledge?
  • Do they maintain a ticketing system that communicates the status of issues and problems?

Do They Ask You About Your Backup Systems?

backup graphic
One of the first things your IT support company should ask you about is your backup system. If your IT company doesn’t express interest in testing your backup systems to ensure they work properly, they’re not invested in the success of your business.
One of the biggest preventable disasters for most companies is a failed backup system that results in significant data loss.
Your IT company should not only know the facts about backup systems, but they should insist on testing your system to ensure your data is protected at all times.

Do They Have Verifiable References and a Solid Reputation?

Unfortunately, one of the reasons it’s difficult to find a reliable IT support company is that there are so many to choose from. New technology businesses start every day and many only last a few months to a year. You can avoid working with these fly-by-night IT companies by doing your homework before hiring any IT company to work on your network.
Be sure to ask for and verify references from satisfied customers. Don’t just take the company’s word for it. Call the companies they list as references and speak to them about their experience. Ask questions about how long they’ve worked with the company, the type of work they’ve had done and whether they have recommended them to colleagues or business associates.
After you verify the company’s references, it’s also a good idea to check on the company’s reputation on your own. Check for complaints with the local Better Business Bureau, ask friends, colleagues, and other business associates if they’ve heard of the company and do a little research online to find out all you can.
As you can see there are many factors to consider when choosing an IT provider for your growing business. While the above criteria aren’t the only factors to consider, choosing an IT service provider that exhibits these traits is more likely to result in consistent and reliable IT support your business needs.