When you are choosing a new IT service provider, we all know that support is everything. The question is: What should you look for in a provider to make sure you get the high-level service and support your organization deserves?
You can set yourself up for success if you do a little homework upfront to vet your vendor. Make sure they have the people, process, and technology to support your organization. Our service guru, Walt Ely, is going to walk you through seven considerations when you are selecting an IT service provider.
1. Understand Employee Turnover
Stability in employee tenure is an important indicator. High turn-over means that employees may not have put in the time to get the job done at a high level. Service desk employees must learn your environment, business software applications, and your needs. If there is someone new with every exchange, it is a big time-waster.
2. Know Technician Experience Levels
A technician fresh out of school will not have the same capabilities as a tech that has been in the trenches for three years. If there are less experienced technicians on your service team, make sure that there is close supervision.
3. Ask About Support Staff Levels
Typically, support desks have tiers or levels based on technical capability because resolving complex network issues takes a vastly different skill set than installing a printer. When choosing a vendor, make sure to ask about staffing levels for various service needs.
4. Walk Through the Processes for Escalation
An escalation process should be in place to ensure your needs are addressed in a timely manner. Remember: Not all tasks take the same expertise, and well-honed professionals know when to call in other team members to avoid business disruptions. Some questions to ask:
- What is the escalation process in various scenarios?
- Is a technician permitted to work on your issue for a week before escalating to another technician?
- Is every problem reported handled in the same manner?
5. Closely Review Your Service Level Agreement
A service-level agreement (SLA) defines expectations between a customer and supplier. It lays out the metrics for service measurement, along with remedies or penalties, if any, should the agreed-on service levels not be achieved. This is a critical safety net for your business. Make sure to read the fine print so you have a clear understanding of responsibilities.
6. Get Familiar with the Process for Client Feedback
Consistent client feedback helps spot service trends and areas for improvement. When a client reports a poor experience, a service manager should gather more data to determine areas for improvement. This goes back to process and experience. Smart businesses know it is critical to have a feedback loop. Without it, mistakes may continue and diminish service quality over time.
7. Know the Customer Support System
In our world of automation, talking to another machine when one has already failed you is frustrating. When reporting an issue, make sure you can talk with a live human. When all else fails, it is helpful to communicate the old-fashioned way with a real person. It allows you to explain the importance of the issue and provide details to investigate while they resolve your issue.
We know that there is a lot to consider when you are trying to find an IT service provider. It takes time and effort, and cost considerations are often a primary driver. BUT, (yes, it’s a big but), without excellent service from experienced professionals who can help you in a timely and effective fashion, your business may pay the price. We all know that time is money. Make sure you have a service provider that gets it and acts like the true partner you deserve.