The IT Support Industry Secret
Make sure you get the right IT Support for your business
Unfortunately (and it really shouldn’t be this way, but…) it isn’t always easy to find an IT Company you can trust.
The complexity of IT, as well as the reliance companies have on their IT systems, often means that businesses can be left vulnerable.
We’ve pulled together a summary of some of the tactics we have come across in our 10 years in this industry – we hope this helps you to ensure you appoint a supplier you know you can trust. We also recommend you take a look at our checklist Tips for choosing the right IT Provider.
Break fix or pay by the hour
Companies offering this will usually charge you per hour for support when you need it. In theory this many seem like a low-cost option if you think on the whole your systems are running well. However, in very basic terms, the more problems you have the more money they make so often you will find the following with these types of contracts:
- When you do need a technician you will pay a much higher rate for them to fix your issue.
- The technician’s aim will be to increase their billable hours; as a result they will want to move onto the next client as quickly as possible once a task is complete rather than resolve other issues or run maintenance on your systems.
- There is no benefit to them to show you how to resolve even simple problems yourselves as they want as many calls from you as possible.
- You don’t receive any proactive support or advice so issues on the horizon aren’t prevented before they occur.
- There is no benefit for them to make sure you have the best, most reliable systems possible so often they will allow you to persevere with poor, outdated software and systems.
Preventative maintenance companies allocate a block of time to carry out proactive support tasks to keep your software and systems up to date. This helps to ensure your IT is up to date, however we’ve found that a number of companies find the following problems with this:
- The technician often doesn’t have any flexibility in the amount of time they can spend updating your systems. If they need to go over the allotted time you will often be charged a significant additional fee.
- If there is nothing that needs doing in that time, you will still be charged for a full hour’s worth of work.
Fixed-cost IT support
Most business benefit best from a fixed-cost IT support contract, where you are charged a rate per ‘user’ i.e. employee. This type of system means that:
- You know how much you will have to spend on a monthly basis (although, watch out some providers do add clauses into their contracts).
- You’ll be able to call your IT team at all times and know you won’t be charged extra.
- It is in your IT provider’s best interests to keep your IT running smoothly so they’ll be proactive and ensure your IT is in good order at all times.
There are still some sneaky methods used by IT providers who operate in this area which you should be wary of.
Many providers look to entice you into their contracts, knowing that it can seem daunting to switch. For example you may find you incur additional costs for specific, common IT tasks, such as adding or removing users, or three-year contracts which are hard to get out of. Take a look at our IT Supplier Checklist which will help you ensure you don’t appoint an IT provider who uses these methods.
Needless to say, we don’t employ any of the unprofessional tactics we have mentioned. It is our belief that a business is best run honestly and openly – and that in following this approach we build long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with our clients.