Red Flags To Watch Out For When Hiring A Managed IT Service Provider (Plus Questions To Ask)
Finding a good managed service provider that you can trust with your business is no small feat. Many times small business owners are wary of moving to an IT managed service company because they have been burned with terrible customer support from providers in the past. In many cases, you have to do some initial homework before you speak with any prospective companies. There are some tell-tale signs that will show you whether or not a company is serious about providing quality IT services and support for your business.
Avoiding Direct Answers About Expectations
I think it's important for businesses and their potential IT support solutions to have a conversation about expectations. If they are going to sign the managed service contract, they should know how long it's going to take for them to resolve an issue.
Promising To Fix Things Beyond Their Control
As much as everybody hates it, t’s essential to consider that some issues can’t be solved.
They may have something to do with Microsoft, and they may have nothing to do with their environment. Thus, you can’t really put a resolution time on things beyond your control, but you can say if you're a top-tier plan, you will receive a phone call within four hours. That's acceptable. However, if they're not paying a lot, a call next business day. That's acceptable.
Inexperience With Providing IT Managed Services
Some people will run all over town trying to find customers just by going in and charging very little with the hopes of getting their business someday. The problem with that is if they don't know what they're doing, that can mess up your infrastructure, and it's going to cost a lot more to have someone like me fix it.
It happens a lot because one of the employee's nephews will be a computer genius because they know how to play games and know a little bit about computers. So, they'll come in, and they won't know what they're doing, and they'll mess something up really bad. They won't tell anyone because they don't want them to know. And then the IT guy comes in and says, what did you guys do? - Oh, it stopped working well. Now you can see that somebody modified this at this date and time.
What happened? Who did this? Then suddenly, they'll put their head down, and they'll say, well, somebody’s kid did that. I try to educate people not to have just anybody touch their equipment. First of all, it's confidential. Second, you can cost the business a lot of money If you don't know what you're doing.
Questions to Ask Managed IT Services
I'd say this to some of their existing clients:
- What constitutes an extra charge?
- What is the typical response time?
- What happens if there's a catastrophic emergency in the middle of the night or over the weekend if we're a 24-hour manufacturing facility?
- What happens if you can't get replacement parts because of the pandemic and our systems go down?
Managed IT service providers think of things like that.
I have an extra machine or two and have it all ready to go just for that reason. Because sometimes you don't know if you can get things in a timely manner. As part of insurance companies, they want to look at whether you're protected in those situations and what your disaster recovery plan is if your company does go down. So, part of being a consultant is talking about those things with the client and educating them. If they don't have internal policies, we help craft policies for employees' internet usage. Whether or not you can share documents with external people, or if it's just internal, we talk about all those things.
We look at the whole IT picture and the whole company picture, which is helpful. The other thing that companies really need to know is, and I don't care what size company you are. You have to have a budget for it because things go wrong. If you don't have a budget, You're going to be pissed off all the time every time something happens.
Takeaway: Avoid Bad IT Managed Services By Asking Smart Questions
So, there you have it: five red flags to make sure you watch out for when hiring a managed IT service provider. Chances are, your company could stay up-and-running and out of IT support purgatory by avoiding these potential pitfalls. The most important thing you can do is to ask a lot of questions about how the MSP can help—before you hire them.
If you’re realizing the managed IT service provider you currently use is not up to par, don’t worry. Give Eugene IT Services a call and we’re happy to help point you in the right direction; no matter who you are or where you are located, we are here to help in any way we can.