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9 Questions to Ask Before Hiring IT Service Provider

Are you considering cutting costs and increasing efficiency by hiring managed IT support services? If so, ask your prospective IT provider these questions before you sign a contract.

General Questions

1. Have you been in business longer than five years? Since 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years, asking this question can help assure that you are getting a stable, quality partner who can stick with you for the long term.

2. How many managed IT support service clients do you have? This question lets you know if the company is a trusted partner for other organizations in your community. It can also lead to a discussion of references, customer satisfaction, and evaluation systems.

3. Do you answer your own phones? The answer here should be Yes! You deserve a company that will actually provide quality, timely support once you’ve signed their contract. If your support provider answers their own phones, ask about the people who staff the phones. Are they certified? How are they trained? How seasoned are they?

4. Do you only provide complete IT services, or do you also offer individual components such as monitoring, remote-only service, hybrid services, or a limited-response contract? Assess your company’s needs and determine your most cost-effective strategy before contacting a provider.

5. Are you local, quick, and available 24/7/365? Some problems need a technician to come on site. If you are trying to work with a service provider who is miles away, that could limit your options or lengthen your downtime.

6. What is your experience with each of our software packages? Nearly any managed support IT service can handle standard software, such as MS Office. If your company uses specialized programs, however, you’ll want to make sure your provider can address any unique issues quickly and correctly.

7. What is your billing model? Some IT service providers charge a fixed fee for support, and others bill their clients an hourly fee. A fixed fee offers you a much better deal since the provider is motivated to solve the problem more quickly and efficiently.

8. Do you offer a one-size-fits-all-solution? This approach may be cheaper, but it certainly isn’t better for you as the client. You deserve a managed support IT service tailored to your company’s unique needs, opportunities, and culture. An individualized strategy also means your contracted services can be scaled when necessary.

9. What is your change management process? When hiring a managed support IT service, you’re bringing on a partner who could stay with you for years—through roll-outs of new software, multiple upgrades, and many hardware replacements. You want to be certain the company you choose has a clear, documented, and well-communicated system for managing changes before they occur.

Hiring a managed support IT service is a big step, but it’s necessary for your business’ security while you grow. By asking these nine questions, you can rest assured you’re on your way to a productive partnership.

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