Better the devil you know? Why you need to evaluate your IT provider.
You’re a business owner and have amassed a range of war wounds during your time as CEO or MD.
I am sure like most business owners you value the TRUST in relationships you have with suppliers, colleagues and customers.
The importance of trust in business can easily be underestimated and we often find one of the reasons that companies move IT providers is down to a lack of trust.
The landscape of technology available to small business continues to advance, and more options are now available. This creates more decisions that without the right advice can be hard to make. Having the right technology can have huge economic advantages for a small business.
Key thing to consider when assessing your IT Provider:
- How often do you meet them?
- Do they make you feel looked after during an emergency?
- What reporting do you get?
- Do they care about your business goals?
- Do they you the right practical IT advice?
- Do they give you options?
The importance of trust in business can easily be underestimated. When choosing an IT Support Partner trust is a key element that should factor into any decision. Without this key ingredient, a business relationship can be hindered.
Any part of the customer experience involving human interaction will over time build up trust. This is an asset to a working relationship, and might save both sides time in the long run. In fact, it is needed for a successful professional relationship.
To put this into context, say you are working remotely and your PC breaks down, you can now have it fixed by someone on the other side of the country. Firstly, you want to know that it will be fixed quickly, secondly you want to know that your information is secure. Trusting the person who is helping you is extremely important, and for most having an element of personal interaction in this situation is likely to vastly increase trust levels. Individuals want to know that their issue will get fixed quickly and all information will be handled with sensitivity and discretion. Trust at a reputational level, followed by trust for the individual you are interacting with combine to influence this transaction.
Handling sensitive information – would you trust just anyone with that?
With the upcoming event of GDPR regulations coming into force in May this year, data security will become critical for small businesses, who are less able to survive the impact of large fines. Greater responsibility will be placed on those that hold and handle consumer data, which means businesses must assess their current procedures to identify any gaps and weaknesses. Having the right hardware/software in place can support better data management procedures, but it also comes down to the individual level, and trusting your partners to handle yours and your clients’ data securely.
How to build trust and understanding
Building and earning trust is an emotional process and can help strengthen business ties. Its significance can often be overlooked or forgotten, but without trust a business relationship won’t flourish. Relying on strong ties with suppliers and partners is key to the successful growth of small businesses.
“trust is the glue that binds employees to employers, customers to companies – and companies to their suppliers, regulators, Government and partners”
Eduardo Leite, Chairman Emeritus and Senior Partner, Baker McKenzie
At an organisational level the things we look for in order to trust a business are transparency, visibility and the ability to deliver on promises.
Businesses need to prove that they are driven by values, not just the desire to make quick profits. The benefits of fostering high trust levels are:
- Strong reputation
- Greater customer advocacy
- Sustainable revenues
- Increased employee retention
- Better resilience to crises
Source: World Economic Forum
In our business we make sure all new clients come into our offices, so they can meet the team and see how we work. This is vital in providing transparency and helps us build long-lasting working relationships.
We also regularly visit our clients’ offices, and have onsite engineers in addition to remote support. This onsite element allows us to gain an in-depth understanding of our clients’ set up and business environment. It also helps us build up trust at an individual level.
“The best way to learn if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
How trust can speed up resolution times
When an issue arises and there is trust in a working relationship, it will naturally be faster to address it. When there is understanding between the two parties, the client is likely to accept proposed solutions more quickly. Having worked with most of our clients for years, they trust us when it comes to making recommendations and proposing solutions, this allows us to provide the best possible service we can and deliver exceptional value.
What does it mean for your business?
When dealing with partners and suppliers, you have to ask yourself these three questions:
- Do I trust them to get the job done well?
- Are they responding to my business needs?
- Do they enhance my business?
If the answer to any of these is no, then you need to start considering if your partnerships are really working for you, and the possible value you stand to gain from switching.