What Prudent Questions Should I Ask an IT Company Before Hiring Them?

What Prudent Questions Should I Ask an IT Company Before Hiring Them?

There are over 863,100 IT tech support specialists throughout the US. Before you choose one IT company to work with, however, you need to know how to search through your options.

Choosing the right IT company can make or break your business. Without proper support, productivity could suffer. You'll lose money trying to fix basic IT problems on your own.

An experienced IT support company, on the other hand, can improve efficiency and productivity throughout your entire business. 

Don't choose the first IT company you come across. Instead, learn how to vet your options before choosing the best team available. By asking these 11 IT questions, you can find an experienced, qualified team equipped to handle your needs. 

Discover the best IT firm for your business by asking these questions. 

1. How Big Is Your Company?

As an IT firm grows, it's able to provide more solutions and products designed to benefit your business. These services will also require the IT company to develop a well-rounded knowledge base. A big company with a strong knowledge base will have the solutions you need when an IT emergency occurs.

Otherwise, you might get stuck with a company that doesn't know how to help.

Smaller IT companies (or single-person technicians) might struggle to provide the services you'll need. Their availability can cause problems, too. You need a team that can respond as soon as you recognize an IT emergency.

However, this doesn't mean you should choose the biggest IT support company around. These businesses often lack the experience and ability necessary to understand your IT needs. 

As you explore different IT companies, make sure they can meet your needs. They should also have a strong enough staff that there's always someone available to help. If the company tells you they're a one- or two-person operation, keep looking. 

That way, you have the peace of mind that your IT support company is ready to help when you need it most. 

2. Do You Offer Levels of Support?

Many IT companies offer different levels of support. That way, you can choose à la carte options that best suit your budget and your requirements.

For example, some companies offer pay-as-you-go support. With this option, you'll pay an hourly rate or fixed price for the help you need. This is usually a more expensive option long-term.

There's always break-fix support. With this option, the IT firm will charge you hourly. You can either pay in advance or after services are rendered. You can also ask the company if they offer a fixed-price contract, similar to how insurance policies work. 

The third option is referred to as managed service support. 

With this level of support, the company will actively manage your systems, which can reduce the likelihood something will go wrong. This usually involves signing an annual contract.

Make sure to consider your budget and needs before determining which level of support is ideal for your business. 

3. How Fast are Your Response Times?

What happens when your systems no longer function properly? You could miss out on possible sales. When customers can't buy what they need, they'll grow frustrated, which can impact your company's reputation.

You need an IT support company that can provide fast response times. A company that takes hours or even days to respond can hurt your business. 

Ask the IT firm how quickly their response times are. In some cases, this can depend on the level of support you choose. 

A guaranteed response time will only guarantee the firm replies quickly. It doesn't necessarily mean they'll have a fast solution. 

Remain wary of companies that guarantee to resolve problems within a certain time frame. 

It can sometimes take longer than anticipated to fix certain IT issues. 

4. Will I Work With a Dedicated Account Manager and Engineer?

Ask the IT company if you will have a single point of contact within their firm. You don't want to have to communicate with someone new every time you have a problem. Instead, you'll want to build a long-term relationship with one of their experts.

The IT expert will get to know your business and IT support plan. Their familiarity with your business can save you valuable time and stress. 

You might have one or two points of contact you'll deal with regularly.

However, you won't always deal with the same engineer. Most support companies allocate work to engineers based on the request. After all, you'll want someone with the right experience and expertise to fix the issue. 

5. How Do We Log Calls?

Will you speak directly with a technician or someone else during a call? Chances are the IT firm uses a call center for the first point of contact. This person will take note of your issue before determining who you need to speak with.

You don't want to get pushed from one person to another. See if the company can make your life easier by giving you one point of contact. 

Does the company you're considering have issues logging calls? You don't want to struggle to get someone to answer your request. Instead, see if they have a form or email address that goes straight to your dedicated support team.

6. What Systems Do You Use?

When choosing between IT support companies, you want to make sure they have the technology and tools you need. Otherwise, they'll fail to provide the efficiency and great service you're looking for.

Do they use a CRM system? What about an email system that helps them route requests? There are other systems your IT support company might utilize, such as remote management and monitoring tools.

Make sure the company has the tools you need.

7. What's Supported in Your Contract?

Before you sign anything, make sure you develop a full understanding of what's included in the contract.

For example, most IT support companies cover labor charges for cases related to hardware or software. They might also charge for mileage and travel time to and from your business.

Does the company charge extra for connected devices such as printers and scanners? If you have a problem getting emails to your phone, can they help?

Make sure you get a full understanding of the services they offer. The IT company should note these services within the contract.

Make sure to ask what isn't mentioned in the contract, too.

That way, you can avoid getting charged or paying extra for certain services. 

8. Do You Provide Remote Management?

Today, more IT support companies are operating off-site by using remote management and monitoring tools. Others offer around-the-clock monitoring. These companies will take proactive action to prevent small problems from becoming major ones.

That way, you'll have the peace of mind that the IT firm will protect your company's best interests.

In most cases, preventing issues before they develop is the most cost-effective option. Otherwise, you'll spend a lot of time and money trying to get operations running again. 

9. Can You Provide References and Case Studies?

Don't choose an IT company until you speak to the people who know their services best: their customers. Ask if you can speak with existing customers to learn more about the firm. You can also check online for reviews.

Otherwise, ask to see case studies. How has the IT firm helped its clients? Do they have proof that efficiency has improved as a result of their services?

What's their customer retention rate? If they fail to retain customers, you might want to consider it a red flag. 

Learn as much as you can about the IT support company before you partner with them. 

10. What is the Worst Disaster You Faced?

43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. Ask the IT firm about the worst disasters they've faced recently, including cyber-attack. This question will give you a better understanding of their ability to fix major problems.

What solution did they offer their clients? How long did it take to implement this solution? How do they manage IT security threats?

Ask about the problems they faced while trying to develop a solution. 

This is also a great time to ask the IT company what makes their service unique. You might hear cliches such as their commitment to service or fast response time. Instead, look for a value proposition that helps them stand out from competitors. 

11. How Much Do Your Services Cost?

It can take almost 70% of your company’s IT budget to keep business-critical systems running. When choosing between IT firms, you want to choose the one that best fits your budget. 

The firm should give you a realistic estimate of how much their support and management services will cost. If they offer a la carte services, get an estimate for each item. That way, you can develop a support plan that best works for your business.

You can likely negotiate these costs. If an estimate seems surprisingly low, you might want to consider it a red flag. Gathering estimates from numerous companies will give you a better understanding of how much you should pay.

Search Smarter: Things to Ask an IT Company Before Hiring

Start your search for managed IT services off strong! By asking an IT company these 11 questions, you can make sure you're making the right choice. Then, you can partner with a company that has your best interests in mind for the long-term. 

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