Technology is a valuable part of our lives and businesses.
Employing an expert to help you manage your company’s IT is a huge leap of faith – you’re handing over the digital keys to your kingdom, hoping that the professionals will keep your data safe and your systems working.
So, what are the signs of a solid, reliable IT company?
Gravity IT’s Founder Glenn Chapman explains how business owners can recognise trust-worthy practices and what you should look for as you search for an IT provider.
What role does technology play in your business?
When you think about how you run your business, how many aspects rely on technology? Most businesses need at least a computer and a phone to run multiple software programs for client communications, caseload organisation and more.
Knowing the right hardware and software required to run your business successfully can be overwhelming, especially if IT isn’t really your cup of tea.
Having a trusted IT guru to help you choose and purchase the right gear for your business is crucial. Make sure you get detailed quotes that list the item specifications, and that your IT provider explains how the system will work as a whole.
Are they transparent?
Glenn’s previous experience working for other IT companies was the inspiration for starting his own business, one that places honesty and customer satisfaction above sales targets and mishap coverups.
“The IT industry is extremely technical and requires a vast, deep knowledge about a lot of areas,” he said.
“Our customers have to trust us at face value and rely on us to provide them with the right advice that gives them the best solutions.”
When your IT provider presents you with a proposal- for a new system, upgrades, gear or service- does the proposal includes both positive and negative consideration?
Giving a client the full picture allows them to make an informed business decision. It’s also a great indicator that your IT provider is open to educating you throughout the process so your understanding grows.
Think of it in the same way as taking your car to a mechanic. You probably don’t know about all the components it takes to keep your car running safely, so you need to trust the mechanic and his advice. The same is true for IT.
Will they still be there in 6 months’ time?
Quality IT providers develop strong, genuine long-term relationships with their clients. They take their calls. They reply to emails and requests. They know your name and they use it. They admit their mistakes and take action to rectify them.
In business, as in life, mistakes happen. But it’s how you handle those mistakes that matters the most. At Gravity IT, owning up to those mistakes is a key component of the business’ beliefs and moral code.
“For us, it’s never been about the money. We’re here to help people and businesses for the long haul. And that means being honest even if it hurts us.”
“We’ve found that when we’re faced with those inevitable difficult circumstances, because we’ve owned the issues and been open with our client, the opposite has occurred. The way we worked to rectify the situation has actually strengthened our client relationship.”
Before you sign on the dotted line, ask the hard questions about what to do in the event of a disaster. Who can you contact? What’s the estimated response times? Is timely help available?
Check their reviews
During your search for an IT provider, take the time to research their online reviews. What do other people say about their experience of using their services?
Ask for referrals to quality providers from business owners you trust. If someone you know speaks highly of a business and has positive experiences to share, check them out. Word-of-mouth recommendation are often the best.
Is it a pleasure doing business with them?
Dealing with IT issues is a necessity, but choosing an IT provider needs to be more than just a transaction. When things go-pear-shaped with IT, you want things explained in simple everyday language, a sense of calm and easy to understand solutions.
You get the best results when your IT provider is willing to enter a business relationship. When two-way rapport is built, both parties can gain more insight into each other’s businesses resulting in mutual benefits.
“Don’t choose your IT provider because they look good or they’re good salesmen,” advises Glenn.
“Choose your IT provider based on reputation, references and their willingness to engage at more than a transactional level.”