Finding reliable IT service can be a challenge. Here are the signs you need a new vendor.
One of the greatest challenges facing businesses as they try to find a reliable Managed Service Provider (MSP) for their IT needs is their own lack of expertise in the field. IT services are foundational to almost every modern business, yet the average business owner is unlikely to fully understand their options, and given how quickly technology changes, those things they do understand may quickly become outdated.
Accordingly, business owners place a great deal of trust in their MSPs to offer expert advice and high-quality service. In a good partnership, the trust a business places in their MSP is rewarded by a professional relationship that lasts for many years. But sometimes, through mismanagement, bad practice, or failure to keep up with the times, that relationship goes sour. How do you know that your IT vendor is still the right fit for you? And if you’re looking for a new vendor, how do you know they’re the right choice?
Here are seven signs that an IT service provider isn’t looking after your business.
1. They aren’t invested in your long-term business goals.
Every good business person knows that a reliable, long-term partnership is more valuable than a short-lived one—especially when it comes to a business’s critical infrastructure. Accordingly, a reliable partner will take the time to learn about your business’s needs and your goals for the future.
If you’re trying to expand your remote workforce, they can help set up your cloud network.
If you’re trying to earn government contracts, they can help you meet compliance standards.
If you’re trying to move into a new office space, they can help you lay the groundwork for upgraded IT.
When an MSP isn’t taking the time to learn about your long-term goals, it’s either because they want to put you in a one-size-fits-all solution—which may be more cost-effective for them but not for you—or they don’t expect your partnership to last long. Either way, it’s a red flag.
2. They don’t give you clear contact information.
When a need arises, who do you contact? Do you should never feel as though you are scrambling to find contact information in an emergency—and that includes those relating to your IT. Your IT provider should give you clear information for how to reach the right person in case you need help, no matter what the time, day or night.
3. They don’t employ specialized IT experts.
Is their staff comprised of general IT specialists, or do they have a team of experts with different specializations? This is an important consideration, as IT is a broad field, and apart from different businesses having different priorities, different industries also have different requirements.
If you’re working in a regulated industry, it’s especially important that you find an MSP who can help you meet IT compliance standards. The US Government, the healthcare industry, and the financial sector all have specific compliance codes for protecting privacy and digital security. If you work in these industries—or hold contracts with companies that do—you should have an IT provider who can help you through your own compliance requirements.
4. You’re encountering recurring issues that aren’t getting resolved.
A sure-fire sign that your IT provider isn’t a good fit is if you have a recurring problem that won’t go away. If your MSP claims to have implemented a solution to your issue, but the problems you’re having persist, there’s clearly something at fault with their service.
Good IT providers are problem solvers at heart. They have a tenacity about their work that means they aren’t satisfied by a quick fix—they want a permanent solution. If your MSP keeps patching over problems without ever resolving the underlying issue, then they’re leaving the job half-finished. Find a provider who wants to finish what they start.
5. They don’t help you take proactive, preventative measures.
Is your MSP only there for emergencies? Maybe that’s what you think they should only be there for. Either way, if you aren’t thinking proactively about your IT, you could be setting yourself up for a larger crisis down the road.
Many of the best IT practices involve preparing for the future so that you’ve created a resilient IT infrastructure that can better position your business in the face of a crisis. This means you have routine data backups in place in case a hurricane or wildfire destroys your office. You have integrated cloud environments in case your team suddenly needs to transition to remote work. And you have two-factor authentication and other security safeguards in place in case someone attacks your network. In IT, preparation is the best offense.
6. They only communicate in overly technical language.
At the beginning of this article we talked about the knowledge gap that exists between many businesses and the MSPs who are hired to support them. IT is a technical field, and it can be easy for those who work within it to forget how much jargon they use in their explanations.
However, some IT companies will intimidate their clients by using overly technical language as a way of confusing them. They might do this because they don’t want to be bothered with a more careful explanation, or because they are trying to convince that business to buy more services than they need. Or they could just be bad at communicating. Either way, this isn’t what you want in an IT vendor.
Your IT partner should take the time to make sure you understand the reasoning behind the IT decisions they’re making, and the decisions they’re asking you to make. You should walk away from your MSP feeling less confused and more confident in the decisions you’re making for your company. It’s as simple as that.
7. They pass on responsibility to others.
Finally, your IT partner should be your advocate when it comes to making sure your needs are met. If they continually bounce responsibility over to some other organization—and if that organization bounces it back to them—you have a problem.
It can sometimes be the case that the issue at hand really isn’t in your MSP’s scope of responsibility. For instance, if you’re having difficulties with your Internet connection that are caused by your Internet provider, there’s not much your IT partner can do. However, when you begin working with them, you should have a clear understanding of what does belong in that scope of service. If they’re dodging responsibilities that have been outlined in your scope of service, then it’s time to look for a new partner.
Choose an IT vendor that’s invested in your business’s best interests.
Your IT supplier should be interested in building a true partnership with your business that will last for years to come. If you feel you aren’t being treated as a priority by your current MSP, it’s time to look for someone new.
In fact, if you need an IT service provider who is ready to invest in a long-term partnership with your business, it’s time you talked to us. As an MSP serving southeast Michigan for over a decade, we know what it takes to provide long-term support for our clients. They know it, and the number of long-term contracts we hold with satisfied customers is proof that we deliver what we promise.
Your business’s IT needs are too important to leave in the hands of a provider who won’t give them the attention they deserve. The good news is, we will. Contact us today.