How to find the right IT Support Company for your Business
It’s time to dish the dirt!
Now that I am officially out of the game from selling my own IT Company earlier this year – It’s time to dish out the secrets.
This is the post to read if you are looking for a new IT Support Company and aren’t sure if you are ready to make the jump. I’m going to help you by using my knowledge of running my own IT Support business over the last decade.
So let’s talk about it….
How to find the right IT Support Provider for your Business.
These are in no particular order or aimed at any one company in particular, but they are what I’ve seen over the last decade of running my own IT business, and what I continue to see daily from IT companies out there.
The first question to ask is
1. What services do they offer?
I’m not going to harp on about this, but do they do more than just ‘IT Support’? Can they also sort out your telephones, cyber security, wireless Internet, website – anything else?If they are a GOOD IT company, then it makes sense to have them take care of as much as they can.
2. Do they support home workers?
Prime topic to cover right now given current circumstances – but news was flying all over social media about some businesses who were proudly declaring there were no additional charges to support and get remote workers set up, where others were charging for everything per the hour. I’m not saying one is right or wrong – Just raising the question of how home workers are treated when it comes to support. What support do they have (if any) if their home wireless has issues, or their broadband goes down, or they get a virus on their home machine that they’re working from? All questions that should be asked and answered clearly.
Which takes me nicely on to the next question !
3. How do they deal with a security breach?
This is something that I saw, and still see – time and time again.
A company has a security breach, whether it’s a phished email account, ransomware infection, invoice fraud or whatever it is. Their IT Company recovers things from backups and ‘fixes the issue’. The end. But what about looking at why the issue happened in the first place? Are they making any recommendations on preventing this happening again? And I mean recommendations that go beyond just resetting everybody’s passwords. I’m talking about tackling the hole in your IT Security that allowed this thing to happen in the first place. Better security comes in all forms, even if it’s a recommendation that your staff all need to be taking awareness training so they stay alert, save li…wait, not that one.
A few years back I made a video about how a local IT company had accidentally given us access into their customers networks. We had full access to their network dashboard, I could see all of the devices on their network, heck I could even shut their network down if I wanted to, more than that – I could have deleted their network. We told them about it immediately, and it took days…. dare I remember correctly, maybe even a week – for them to come back to us. We told the member of staff who did it, we called in to speak to them, we emailed them, I messaged them on LinkedIn – it was just crazy! And I bet you they didn’t report that breach to their customers. Admittedly it was low risk, and had we done something then it would have been obvious – but still… you’d act a bit quicker than that surely?
My next question to ask would be
4. How mature are they in their services?
And what I mean by that is probably by asking a different question, how simple is their pricing?
One thing I learned in my journey, and where we were heading as a business, was to dramatically reduce the number of offerings to customers. So instead of having for example, Pay and Go, then a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum service offering – the end goal was to get to one final offering. Customer pays X per month for your service. If the customer doesn’t pay X, then they don’t receive the service.
This essentially shows you that the IT business has its finger on the pulse of their business. They know their clients, their products and services, they know their margins, and they are genuinely happy with the service they provide to their clients. Those who have a multitude of options for their customers shows that they haven’t yet matured to that model and perhaps are willing to bend a bit to take on clients.
When people call in, there might be delay or confusion over what gold this or platinum that service they have. Do they get the 4 hour response or the 6 hour response contract? Much of which can be automated, by the way. In my business it was something that I always aspired to. One single service. Customer pays X per month for support. Doesn’t matter how big or small you are, you pay X and get the same service as everybody else – well, with one exception to that rule I would suggest, is perhaps a different pricing model for charities or not for profits. But it’s simple for you, simple for me, simple for staff.
And once a company has it’s vision set on one goal and one objective, it’s incredible how much progress it can make.
5. What about personality?
This is a firm favourite of mine, and a bit obvious given my background – but does your IT support company have personality?
A quick pointer here is to look at their marketing. Do they share a tonne of original content, using real photos of their staff and customers, or are their social news feeds just full of the same old corporate stock photography boring content that every other company shares? Way to be original.
Personality shows you that they’re a bit different. That they’re willing to be brave and share their soul with the world, that they look after their staff and look after their customers. Let’s see – would you rather buy from this company who learned how to do marketing in the 80’s, Orrrrrrrr this one?
6. Do they like to educate?
Personal favourite of mine, but look at their social media pages, see if they have a YouTube channel, look at their blog posts.
Are they genuinely putting out good, educational content around how to protect yourself with cyber security? Are they producing detailed, informative, truly educational content that is totally free of sales pitches, marketing schpiel and lead magnets…
If all their social media presence and marketing is just full of selling more stuff, then perhaps they care more about winning new customers than they do about educating, improving, working with and providing value add for their existing customers. “Come to our latest webinar” or, “read my blog post about what cyber security protection you need for your business”…. those aren’t really of benefit to me as a potential customer. It’s a sales / lead generation and we can all see it from a mile away!
My opinion on this whole approach is that this is the new, modern marketing. It’s taken the boring, stuffy, corporate world of marketing a business and made it personal. People buy from people. It’s not just business, it IS personal. People are making personal choices to go with people and companies who will look after them. It’s why video marketing for business is now a thing.
It’s why becoming a ‘YouTuber’ is now a legitimate career path for some people, which didn’t exist 5 or 10 years ago. It’s the modern equivalent of Apple or Pepsi or Nike spending millions on a TV Advert. Except the good news is that it doesn’t cost you anything, other than a small investment in equipment and time. If you are not already putting out free, informative, entertaining or useful content to your audience – then you should be worried. Because there are people out there who do. And guess where your customers attention will be ….
7. How old are the owners / directors and shareholders?
One interesting statistic to look at is the age of the owners of the IT Businesses you are looking to work with. If they are nearing retirement age then you should be thinking, and possibly asking, what their plans are? If you sign up as a customer and they go on to sell their business a year later, what does that mean for you.
A little hypocritical of me of course since I’ve recently sold my business. But I noticed that many IT businesses, certainly locally, had directors and shareholders nearing retirement age and who are likely already thinking about their exit strategy.
And that about wraps it up for me!
I’d like you to get in touch and tell me one thing. If there was one thing that your existing IT company could do better than it does right now, what would it be? This would be a great learning experience for all the IT companies out there to see how they can improve. And to be really brave, if you ARE an IT company, how would you answer that question on your own IT business?
I reply to each and every single one of your comments – so let’s chat!