How to Choose the Best IT Support for Your Business
There are certain business investments that are fun to spend on, like splashy marketing, new office furniture, or sleek product promos. And then there are the less sexy investments, like backend solutions and IT support. But it’s these latter investments that tend to have the most significant impact over the long run.
The Cost of IT Downtime
IT downtime is expensive…to put it mildly. Whether it’s a network crash or application failure, downtime can destroy your bottom line, ruin client relationships, and put your business in jeopardy.
According to Gartner research, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute! And a single hour of downtime can cost as much as $140,000 to more than $300,000 (for larger enterprises). And of those enterprises surveyed, 33 percent say an hour of downtime has a total cost of $1 million to $5 million (when collateral expenses are accounted for).
Your business might be on the smaller end, but just because the price tag is smaller, doesn’t mean downtime is any less costly. If you aren’t careful, you’ll muddy your reputation and hurt your chances of future growth.
How to Find the Right IT Support Team
While there are dozens of steps you can take to prevent downtime and other related issues, one of the best solutions is to hire and work with an IT support team. The challenging aspect is sifting through all of the services in your area to find the right support team for your needs.
To ease the process of finding the right IT support team, we’ve compiled a list of factors to consider:
Most people start with pricing, but this is the wrong approach. A cheap IT support team will cost you more in the long run. If you’re serious about “saving” money, you need a team that’s reliable. In other words, they better show up when you need them.
Consider working with a team that offers a guarantee. PalmTech, for example, promises they’ll have a qualified technician dispatched and working on your IT problems within an hour or less. (Compare that to a service that offers no guarantees and shows up the next day.)
Think about how valuable that quick, reliable service is. Even if your downtime is far less costly than industry averages, a difference of six to eight hours could still save you thousands of dollars. Plus, you get the peace of mind that comes from knowing your support team will be there whenever you need them. This changes your entire mindset.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of noise in the IT support industry. And with so much money on the table, certain companies will take advantage of clients by injecting weasel clauses, exclusions, and hidden fees into their contracts. And if you get synced up with one of these companies, you’ll get nickel and dimed on everything.
The right IT support company is trustworthy. In other words, they do what they say and they say what they do. There are no smokescreens, hyperbolic marketing messages, or questionable tactics.
Not all IT support companies are created equal. It’s easy for a company to develop a splashy website and slick marketing that makes it look like they know what they’re doing…but do they actually have the skills needed to serve you well?
The best way to analyze a company’s skillset is to speak with past and current clients to see what their experience has been like. Pay particularly close attention to clients that have needed the company to step in and solve a problem.
Okay, now that we’ve discussed the three most important elements – reliability, trustworthiness, and skill – we can discuss pricing.
If you find multiple IT support services that are equal in these three areas, then you can evaluate based on pricing. But even then, you have to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Read through the service agreement, ask questions, and run multiple scenarios to be certain you have a clear idea of how much each service costs.
Set Your Business Up for Success
Successful businesses aren’t built overnight, but they can be destroyed in quick order. An IT support team helps you establish a strong and centralized IT infrastructure, while simultaneously protecting your downside. If you don’t already have an IT support team on your side, now’s the time to find one!