Finding an exceptional IT support provider is essential for small business operations to function at peak efficiency. While you may think you can “get by” without one, having a dedicated IT team will save your own team members significant time and effort in the long run. IT professionals keep up-to-speed on topics like cybersecurity, the latest trends in tech or software, and how to use them. Unless you already have an IT expert on your payroll, it’s unlikely that any of your staff can make a more informed decision when it comes to technology, planning your setup or resolving technical issues.
As a small business owner, you need to focus on the other aspects of your business to maximise growth and potential. Plus, you’ll receive access to advanced technology you wouldn’t otherwise have the resources to afford.
Need to find the perfect IT provider match for your business?
Here are a few key points to consider when searching for external IT support.
What type of service do you need?
First, think about your company’s chief priorities and ethos so you can choose an IT provider that most closely matches both. Every business’ top priority should be cybersecurity, so ensure any IT provider candidates on your shortlist emphasize security services. They should also be familiar with any apps or equipment you use. Additionally, it helps if the provider specializes in a field related to your business, so they’re familiar with your requirements and understand your point of view. Finally, they should be able to easily explain how their services can specifically target your needs and benefit your admin support, your sales, your inventory, and so on.
How often do you need them?
There’s a variety of support types offered by IT companies, and the most important consideration here is frequency of use. If you only sporadically run into tech issues, you may find a provider which you can call on for each individual issue. However, it’s recommended to pay a flat fee to a firm which provides 24/7 support. These firms take a more holistic approach and offer other services besides resolving simple tech issues.
Qualities to Look for in Your IT Provider
They act as consultants
Your IT provider isn’t simply customer support in the form of a tech support service. From the beginning, they should work with you to ensure your IT infrastructure is at its best. They can recommend software, systems, or services you don’t even know exist. Better yet, they can – and should – make recommendations on how to use them. They should inquire and consider your future goals and needs so your IT setup can continue to accommodate you as your business grows.
They prepare you to resolve small issues on your own
You may think the on-call support that your IT company provides should allow you to not learn much on your own, or have other means of solving your IT issues. This simply isn’t the case. In fact, it will slow you down if you need to constantly call them for every minor matter.
Instead, your IT team will involve you in your system setup. By consulting with you about your current and future plans, they’ll ensure it’s the most appropriate solution for you, and also give you a sense of familiarity with how things can and do work in your business’ IT infrastructure. They should train you on how to use certain software, and you should have reference materials (like a FAQ) you can refer to before calling them.
They have impeccable communication
Your IT help is the supportive bridge between your team and the world of technology. Technology has its own jargon, methodologies and ways of working, some of which may be quite foreign to you. After all, that’s why you want to hire experts for support. They should be able to thoroughly communicate any issues to you in a clear, concise manner that you can easily understand. Further, they should act as a liaison between third parties, such as your internet provider. Your IT team not only needs to know what they’re talking about, they must ensure you know what they are talking about.
You feel respected
The team at your IT support company should be respectful and kind towards you and your staff. It can be frustrating when IT troubles are interrupting your work; you shouldn’t feel belittled or misunderstood during the situation. Rather, an upbeat and positive approach can assure you the issue can be solved quickly so you can get back to your work as soon as possible. You should feel like they take your problem seriously. You don’t just want experts; you want kind and helpful experts.
It’s impossible – even for specialists – to know everything about every issue. The last thing you need is an IT member to pretend like they know a solution to a problem, only to find out it wasn’t solved properly and can cause you further issues down the line. Don’t be disheartened if they reference a manual or need to ask a colleague for their advice or opinion. This is a good sign that they possess humility and are dedicated to servicing you rather than saving face.
Choose your IT provider wisely
You realize you need IT help for your business to survive and flourish.
When you hire a firm, make sure you select them carefully. Remember that your providers are more than just IT help; they are consultants whom you can trust. The right provider can cater to your specific needs. While they’re experts, they should also be humble, to ensure they solve problems accurately and to your satisfaction. Technology is a key component to your business, so you’ll need a great relationship with your provider; pay attention to their personality as much as their knowledge and experience.