What makes the difference between quality and mediocre IT support company?
For many businesses, this difference only becomes apparent when there is a critical system error and things go wrong.
But the true test of a quality IT support firm is not what happens when things go wrong, it is what is happening when everything's going right.
Quality IT Support Means More than Just Functioning Technology
Partnering with a managed services provider is an investment for your company. Maximizing ROI means holding your MSP accountable to the highest quality service.
Here are 5 signs you’ve partnered with a quality IT services provider.
1. Clear Service Level Agreement
A Service Level Agreement (SLA) defines the level of service you can expect from your IT provider in specific terms. Defining specific SLA criteria is important because it holds the IT firm responsible for delivering quality service in every situation.
Your SLA should include:
- Figures regarding acceptable uptime and response time. This includes minimal uptime requirements and acceptable ticket response times for different ticket levels.
- Details on how components of the SLA are measured and tracked (ticket times, call waiting statistics, surveys, etc)
- Standard communication procedure so you know how you will be informed of problems and how you can communicate with technicians
- SLA penalties - what will happen if the IT provider fails to meet its promises
Defining an SLA that works for your business is a top priority when working with a new IT provider.
For example, your SLA should make it clear what you can expect from an emergency ticket vs a low priority maintenance request in terms of response time, which technicians are qualified to handle the ticket, and how you will be notified throughout the process.
2. Meticulous Tracking, Ticketing, and Documentation
Diligent documentation and ticket tracking facilitates faster issue resolution and better customer service for you.
Imagine that you submit a support ticket to your IT services firm. With clear notes on your business systems and ticket history, the IT firm will be able to:
- Assign the ticket to the technician that is most familiar and capable to handle your issue
- Be aware of any system idiosyncrasies or requirements that will affect the problem
- Reference past tickets to glean insights and potential solutions
- Communicate with your team to ask pertinent questions and keep you up to date
A clear record keeping system not only helps solve problems as they come in, it helps prevent future issues. For example, recurring issues should be automatically flagged so they are handled with extra care. Reminders should be set to make sure to follow up on issues so your service is not interrupted.
3. Monitor Key Systems for Your Business
Automated monitoring systems can help alert your IT provider to any interruptions in service so they can prevent failures from occurring and offer a quick resolution.
Your IT company should establish with you what your top priority systems are - email, website, cloud servers, etc. Then, they should set up an in depth monitoring system and proactive remediation plan for these systems. The details of this should be outlined in your SLA.
4. Forward-Thinking Infrastructure Design
Intelligent infrastructure design is what makes the difference between a system that constantly paints you into a corner and a system that elevates your business.
Your IT firm should look your technical infrastructure to identify weaknesses and offer recommendations that will:
- Prevent breakdowns
- Reduce downtime
- Eliminate redundancies
- Be cost-effective
These recommendations should be checked against your business goals. Forward-thinking infrastructure design means building systems that support you now and and ease technological transitions in the future.
5. Backup Systems That are Proven and Tested
Regular system backups are one of the most essential technology policies for your business.
But regular backups are not enough.
Your backup system should be proven and continually tested.
One responsibility of your IT service company is to routinely test that these backups may be restored successfully and quickly in the event of a total facility loss.
You do not want to wait until an emergency to find out that backups haven’t run for several months or that the backup file is corrupted. This not only leads to a major headache for you, but a more expensive resolution.
Quality IT Support is Transparent IT Support
If you’re working with a quality IT provider, the things above probably make a lot of sense to you. But if these criteria raised some questions, they are worth bringing to your IT partner.
Monthly meetings with your IT firm are a great way to make sure you are receiving consistent, quality service.