Tuesday, 4 April 2023

How to pick the right IT support company for your business

Choosing an IT partner is one thing – choosing the right one can be something else entirely. What are the key considerations when picking an IT support partner?

Choosing an IT partner is one thing – choosing the right IT partner can be something else entirely. A recent conversation got us thinking, how should you pick the right IT support company for your organisation?


We recently onboarded a new customer who had asked us to bid for their business two years earlier. At that time, they decided to go with a different IT support company who quoted a lower monthly rate than we did.

Price is measured differently to value

Quite a few months later, the customer approached us again. They admitted they had made the decision based on price – but they weren’t happy with the value they were getting. Support requests weren’t being acknowledged or fixed in a timely fashion. Their team spent many wasted hours chasing up to get things addressed – hours they would have preferred to dedicate to building their business and delivering work.

They felt they’d made the wrong decision and asked us to bid for their business again. This time, they chose us as their IT partner. The lesson they’d learnt: lowest price and best value aren’t always the same thing.

While we acknowledge that price must be an important factor in any purchasing decision – your IT support contract ought to be both affordable and good value for money – it got us wondering what the key considerations should be when you pick an IT support partner. And which are decisive when it comes to making the right decision for your business?

Read on to discover the Grant McGregor team’s thoughts.


#1. Experience & proven track record

How are your chosen vendors currently delivering for their customers? You should be able to draw on a variety of evidence to understand how their customers’ thoughts on how they are performing: star ratings, Google reviews, customer success stories, testimonials and reference visits. 

If, on the other hand, the company is being clandestine about customers, it’s probably not a good sign.


#2. Length of time in business

Even simple due diligence like checking financial information on Companies House can tell you a lot. Today, technology is the backbone of many companies’ operations and can be a significant source of competitive advantage. You don’t want to trust your IT support to fly-by-night operatives or financially insecure companies.

Of course, we’re not saying that start-ups can’t be great – we were all one once, after all. And, if a company is hungry for your business, you might get a better deal. But if they haven’t been in business long, its worth exercising a modicum more caution: make sure you have well-defined KPIs and SLAs in place and make sure you can easily get out of your contract if you need to.


#3. Existing clients in your industry

We recognise that it isn’t always possible for an IT support company to put you in touch with one of their existing clients in the same industry as you. After all, when you’re growing your business, you’ve got to start somewhere. Someone has to be the first. And you don’t really want them to be serving your direct competitors.

However, knowing that your IT company has experience in your sector does offer added peace of mind. They’ll have a better understanding of your priorities, practices and processes. And they’ll be better placed to make recommendations about the specific tools and technologies that can help you achieve your goals. At the end of the day, it’s all about understanding what’s important to you.


#4. Performance stats and delivery metrics against SLAs

Ask to see information about how any prospective partner is performing against the SLAs they agreed with their existing customers. A good IT support company will be able to evidence how they are delivering against their customers’ important metrics. They’ll have a consistent mechanism for capturing these metrics along with customer feedback. And better yet, they’ll be able to demonstrate improving performance overtime.

If they can’t give you this information, this should be a big red warning flag. If it isn’t being measured, it’s clearly not a priority and it probably isn’t getting done.


#5. Customer retention rates

How many customers renew their contracts? This is one metric that is a sure indicator of customer satisfaction. There will always be some churn but, if retention rates are low, this is a warning sign.

Don’t be fobbed off when a company tries to point you in direction of some long-established clients as references instead of providing retention rates. You want to know they are good to everyone – not just a few favourite and prioritised clients. 


#6. Commitment to their clients’ continuous improvement 

Your IT support company shouldn’t just be firefighting. They should also be able to demonstrate their ability to add value to their clients’ operations. They should be able to help their clients drive forward with innovation in a way that propels competitive advantage for their clients. 

You’ll know from their ability to talk about innovation whether this is a key priority for them. Plus, review their customer testimonials and customer success stories to understand how their customers have benefitted from this kind of proactive, forward-thinking approach. 

How has your potential IT partner helped their existing customers to achieve ROI on IT projects, improve their sales performance, enhance their productivity and collaboration or supported a move to flexible working? If they can demonstrate proactive work in an area in which you’d like to make improvements, even better.


What now?

Choosing an IT partner needn’t be complicated. Don’t be afraid to ask the right questions – and demand evidence in their answers!

If you are looking to choose an IT partner, download our free guide:

Free Download The 2023 IT Services Buyer's Guide

It’s not about us - it’s about all IT companies and the things you should be looking for to ensure a healthy and supportive relationship.

And if you’d like to know more about how Grant McGregor might measure up as your next IT partner, get in touch with our team today.

Call us: 0808 164 4142

Message us: https://www.grantmcgregor.co.uk/contact-us 


Further reading
We have much more advice about getting the most from your partnership with your IT support company on our blog. Catch up on some recent articles here:
•    10 signs it's time to get a new IT support company
•    A recent case exposes why cyber security requires multiple lines of defence
•    The year in review: 2022’s biggest tech stories
•    12 questions to ask your web developer about cyber security
•    What preparations do you need to make before switching IT partner?
•    What should a cloud migration strategy look like in 2022?