If you are considering using a new IT Service Provider, it can be easy to get caught up listening to their pitches and only hearing about what they do well. In order to have a better long-term relationship, it can help to ask questions that will help you determine if they are a good fit for you. Here are 5 important questions to ask:
1) What is your typical and guaranteed response time for critical issues? What is it for non-critical issues? To know if their response times are appropriate for your organization, think about your needs. There is no right answer. Does your company need help immediately regardless of how critical a problem is? Or, are you OK with a 2-hour to 24-hour response time (which usually costs less)? Be sure to ask how response times differ during nights and weekends. And be sure to get a clear understanding of their definition of “critical” versus “non-critical”. You do not want to wait until you have a problem to find out if their support meets your needs.
2) How do you track reported issues? Best practices are to have (and use) a ticketing system, which minimizes follow up required by your users. Without a ticketing system, issues may go unresolved or require multiple follow ups to get resolved.
3) Who can contact tech support? Some IT providers want you to funnel all service requests through a single individual, such as a manager, at your company. Using a single contact provides more control over usage levels; however, it also slows down response times. The other model is to let any user contact the service provider with an IT issue.
4) Do you resell any hardware, software or services? When IT providers resell a product or service, it typically creates a bias when making a recommendation. So, you want to know that when you get a recommendation from them. Other providers choose not to resell anything so their recommendations are unbiased.
5) Can your IT professionals communicate in a non-technical way with users? Once you get to the point where you are seriously considering an IT service provider, be sure to meet a technician and not just a salesperson. That will give you a better idea of how much jargon and technospeak they use. Unless you have a very technical person in your organization to work with them, working with IT professionals who use a lot jargon can be very challenging. When IT professionals communicate in a jargon-free way, users feel better informed, understand what is going on with IT and learn to trust the IT team.
No matter which company you select, be sure to ask the questions that will help you find the right provider for your organization.
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