Be Prepared

Once you are in the meeting you will normally be asked to explain what you currently do for IT support, why you are looking to change and what kind of service you are looking for, so be prepared for these questions.

Some Questions to Consider

You can download a copy of these questions here.

”1.

This one is useful, but not essential, it enables the IT company to get started quicker, but don’t dismiss a great company just because they have not worked in your industry. Also beware the specialist who only works in your industry, or there is a chance you will end up doing the same as everyone else?

”2.

Do you get an individual account manager assigned to your business who is directly responsible for your project management? Essential! You need to know who is looking after you.

”3.

What is their approach to systems and can they help you to implement IT systems to support, marketing, sales and customer service systems for example? There are many IT companies out there who will install a printer, a network or a server. But what you need is ‘more profit’ isn’t it?

”4.

Are they able to provide you with IT skills training? It is estimated that 90% of people use only 10% of the capability of the software they buy. Your IT partner needs to be able to provide you with a full IT service.

”5.

How much training do their team undertake in order to keep up to date with the latest IT technology? IT is a bit like Marketing. What you know today bears no reflection on what you need to know tomorrow. Where does this training come from is also a great question?

”6.

Can you have a look at their IT systems? Let me ask you a question. Would you go to an IT company to get a great email solution, if they can’t show you how effective theirs is? Would you ask a company who had really poor CRM to offer you CRM advise? I am sure you get the message!

”7.

Can you hear about results that they have delivered for others? The proof is in the pudding! Remember we are not looking for fancy IT gismos. We are looking for results. How well did that IT system improve productivity? What did it do to morale?

”8.

Can I speak to your clients? Any company will portray itself as ‘Outstanding’, reality sometimes is not the same, so asking to speak to their clients is often good feedback.

Ask these questions.
1. Did they deliver what they promised?
2. Where they responsive and easy to get hold of?
3. Did they bill accurately?
4. Did they stay within the projected budget?
5. Would you use them again?

”9.

What is their philosophy; ask them what their mission statement is? It’s an interesting question and the important thing is that it links in and is compatible with yours. 7 steps to choosing the right IT support company Page 4 of 9

”10.

What are their customer service commitments? If they are not committed to customer services and have committed to it in writing in the form of a customer service charter, strike them off your list.

”11.

Do they back up their business with clear and specific guarantees? Guarantees are important and they need to be clear to safeguard your company and so you know what you are committing to.

”12.

What systems do you operate that will ensure continuity of service (e.g. in the event of your main point of contact being incapacitated)? If you are thinking of employing a ‘one man band’ IT company. What happens if they break their leg, etc, etc?

”13.

Do they provide added value products free of charge? OK not essential, but great if they do, it shows commitment to you, their client.

”14.

Are they insured and if so how much is that insurance worth? It should be at least a £1,000,000 professional indemnity package.

”15.

How will they communicate with you? Do they have a written commitment? Do you have open access during all business hours?

”16.

Do they have testimonials and case studies from other satisfied customers? Once again getting someone else’s comment is very useful.

”17.

Are they specialist in the size of business you are. IT can be applied across a range of business to achieve the same aim but the implementation will vary depending on the size of the company check to see if they have experience and qualification in working with your size of company.

”18.

How can you increase your business efficiency from the use of IT? If the company can’t give you at least 10 ways of doing so, strike them off!

”19.

Do they have a system for monitoring your IT set-up? A structured monitoring system that keeps you informed and assured will give you peace of mind and help you keep an eye on things as well as the IT company.

”20.

Will they take time to learn about your business? Preferably by spending time with you at annual reviews and also offer ad-hoc meeting at no extra charge to cope with business change.

”21.

How comprehensive is their list of services? Look for a happy medium between the ‘jack of all trades’ and the consultant who only works in one niche area, such as PC support. The best IT companies will partner with other technology companies and they will packing this by project managing everything for you. This ensures you get a full service always delivered by specialists but with a single point of contact.

”22.

What do they believe makes them unique? Watch for vague clichés like, quality, value, commitment and service. You want to hear something beginning with, “Only we can …”

”23.

Do they research new software and hardware before they recommend it? Some it companies are keen to test the latest gadgets because IT techies love new gadgets! Make sure that they are not going to test thing with your time and money. And ask them how do 7 steps to choosing the right IT support company Page 5 of 9 they do this and what is process for testing?

”24.

Can you recommend another IT company or tell me how I might be able to find another IT company to quote? A company that will help you with finding a competitor shows a great deal of trust in your ability to assess the market and are interested in you finding the best fit for your business. If they trust you now they will in the future and you are more likely to trust them if they are this open. IT support is a trust based business and the importance of trust should not be overlooked.

By the time you have the answers to these questions you will have a much better Idea of who you are dealing with and it will allow you to compare companies that you shortlist.

You can download a copy of these questions here.