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A Guide to choosing your next IT provider – Fundamentals of a Good IT Support Provider

Now that we have considered the importance of Proactive maintenance and choosing a provider who suited to the needs of your business, let’s consider a number of other miscellaneous factors you should take into account when choosing an IT support provider.

Response and resolutions times

You obviously hope that business-critical issues rarely arise, but when they do you want to know that they will be dealt with promptly. Consider posing the following questions:

  • What is your average response time?
  • How quickly are support tickets typically resolved?
  • How quickly could I expect onsite support? (If offered)

They should have statistics available to respond to these questions.

Security Services

A good IT provider will have a comprehensive suite of security services on offer to protect your business from a myriad of online threats.  Ask about backup services, firewall products, network scanning tools and the anti-virus suites they use.

An IT company that takes security seriously will implement a number of measures to keep your network secure, rather than relying on a single instrument in isolation.

Technical Competencies

It’s important to assess an IT provider’s core competencies to ensure that their expertise is accordant with your current and future IT requirements. A mature, experienced provider will be able to guide and enable a wide variety of infrastructure projects; from network building and office relocations to telecoms and cloud services, a knowledgeable and experienced provider will do the lot!

Don’t be afraid to enquire about accreditations. For example, if the provider is a Microsoft certified Partner they will be up-to-speed and knowledgeable on all things Microsoft, while a ‘Cyber Essentials’ accreditation displays a strong commitment to online security.

And lastly, while it’s no absolute guarantee of quality, you may want to enquire about the length of time a provider has been in business or even ask about the depth of industry experience senior managers have. An experienced provider will generally have been exposed to a greater breadth of IT disciplines and will be able to pass this first-hand experience on to you.

Customer Service

Seek customer referrals! Seeking a first-hand account of the customer experience from previous and existing clients is the best way to gauge a provider’s commitment to customer service. Written testimonials are great, but it’s always best to get a recommendation straight from the horse’s mouth.

Other signs of great customer service include:

  • A dedicated account manager. A fixed point of contact is great for rapport-building, and this individual will get to know the ins and outs of your IT system intimately.
  • A customer charter. A sign that a business takes its customer interactions seriously.
  • Unlimited support. You want a provider that won’t place arbitrary caps on the amount of support they’ll provide. Unlimited support means you’ll be able to pick up the phone whenever an issue arises, big or small!
  • Flexibility. A good provider will be able to work with you to accommodate your specific business needs and adapt the pricing structure accordingly. For many businesses, the “fixed monthly fee” model works well while many others prefer to access support on a “pay as you go” basis.
  • Short term contracts. If a provider is confident in their product, they’ll often employ the “try it and see” approach by offering short contracts.

Consultancy

Technology is in constant evolution and so is your business. So, while you may not need IT consultancy services right now, it’s always best to have expert advice on hand when you come to need it in the future. Look for a provider with an intense interest in developing the IT systems of their clients. Terms like “IT roadmap, Infrastructure audit” and “strategic planning” are a good sign.

Ask whether consultancy services are included in the support packages offered? For example, could you pick up the phone at any time for strategic guidance?

Partner Discounts

Particularly pertinent if you are planning imminent changes to your IT system; an established provider will have the buying power to offer its clients hardware and software at discounted rates. Enquiring about such discounts could save you a small fortune on upcoming projects.

 

We’re Netplatforms.

We’re Net Platforms and we have years of experience in supporting small-medium businesses across London and Essex with such technology challenges. We’ll get to know your business and create the most appropriate solution to meet your technical requirements while being commercially sensible in cost. Why not get in touch with our team today and explore how you can prepare your business for the future of telephony with VoIP technologies.

0207 993 9035 or hello@netplatforms.co.uk.

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Book a no-obligation discovery call with a member of our team today by calling 0207 993 9035 or hello@netplatforms.co.uk