Managed service providers (MSPs) do the heavy lifting for your business if in-house isn’t an option. This can be a real game changer when you’re facing IT challenges that need effective, efficient solutions, and it’s probably why 69% of small to medium-sized businesses hire at least one IT service provider (Clutch, 2016).
Here’s how you can weed out the cheats and hire the service provider that best suits your business needs.
Tip 1: Learn to Recognize and Avoid Fly-by-Night IT Technicians
They’re called fly-by-night technicians because they have no office, no insurance, and no ties to your business. These types of IT techs can usually be found in the Services section of Craigslist or promoting themselves on the local Facebook yard sale page, and you’re better off steering clear. You’ll be lured in by attractive industry keywords and IT jargon, but don’t be fooled. Services offered and the cost of those services can seem too good to be true, and they often are.
To help spot these so-called professionals, ask the important questions:
- How long have they been providing managed IT services to clients?
- How many technicians are on staff?
- What support do they provide during critical downtimes?
- How many clients are they servicing?
- Do they outsource their customer service help lines?
- How is customer satisfaction measured?
Professional managed IT service providers worth hiring—either as support for your team or as hardware and software solution providers—have been in business for a while, have a long line of satisfied customers vouching for their services, and are always by your side during the downtimes.
Tip 2: You Get What You Pay for with Run-and-Gun Servicers
Similar to their fly-by-night cousins, run-and-gun IT service providers make their money when something breaks. Traditionally, this break-fix model of service has been a hurried solution to one-off problems, but savvy business leaders understand you get what you pay for when it comes to IT run-and-guns. In fact, 59% of IT services have transferred from the break-fix model to a managed service (Clutch, 2016).
The problem faced when paying by the hour for repairs, which is how most run-and-gun servicers operate, is that it’s a reactive approach. Something has to break first, and it’s beneficial for the servicer when things keep breaking. Let that sink in. Additionally, the lack of accountability and follow-up support from these types of break-fix IT solutions doesn’t instill confidence. Once the technician leaves the building, the job’s done.
You may not be able to financially support in-house IT staff, but that doesn’t mean you should find the least expensive hourly outsourced option. When you recognize the business advantages of outsourcing IT to a seasoned professional, you’ll realize a long-term, dependable solution is worth the investment.
Tip 3: Professional Tools and Technicians will Complement Your Network
You’ve bypassed the fly-by-nights and the run-and-guns and are prepared to invest in a reliable managed IT service provider. How do you know their solutions will complement your network?
At minimum, you’ll want an MSP partner that offers:
- Network hardware/software asset management
- 24/7 monitoring and alerting
- Remote management
- Server and workstation backup
- Call tracking with guaranteed response times
- Tracking and management of output devices like copiers and printers
Not all IT MSPs are created equal. Hire the wrong servicer to support your team or upgrade your equipment, and it’ll cost you more than an hourly rate and a headache. Fortunately, finding the right technician also isn’t rocket science. Create a relationship with a qualified, trusted managed service provider, and say goodbye to your IT troubles.