In Charles Dickens’ famous work, Great Expectations, the story is full of expectations and misunderstandings. When Mr. Jaggers and Pip, the protagonist in the novel, are discussing who is responsible for some of Pip’s misunderstandings, Jaggers tells Pip to “Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There is no better rule.”
The advice from Mr. Jaggers makes a lot of sense for business owners and managers. This is especially true when considering expectations for a relationship with an IT firm. To avoid misunderstandings, we offer some key concepts to verify and question when selecting a new IT and computer support firm.

Problem Solving Skills

At IT Radix, we often use the phrase, “date us before you marry us” when we are speaking with organizations for the first time. We say that for two reasons. The first is to reduce any anxiety a prospect might have when engaging with us prior to seeing us in action. But, the second is to give the prospect a chance to see us in action and see what we can do. If you have a list of issues or problems that are currently affecting your network, pick the top one and engage a prospective IT firm with the task of solving that problem. Watch them and listen to the questions they ask. This will give you an indication of their ability to analyze situations—a good trait to have.

Accessibility After Hours

Do you have a set schedule for when your computer, cloud, network or application issues are supposed to happen? Of course not. They can happen any time…during, before, after and beyond the traditional work day. Find out how your support will be after hours, during holidays and weekends. Ask about experiences they have had with their clients. See if you can speak to a few of their clients about those exact circumstances so you know how it really will work, if it happens to you.

Ability to Communicate

To avoid a communication breakdown once into a relationship with an IT firm, take a long hard look at their entire organization and give a critical examination of their ability to listen to you and to share what they do. Did the sales person give any wishy-washy statements? Not a good sign. Did you get a reassuring feeling in speaking with their scheduling team? A good sign. How about their technician(s)? Did he or she adequately, simply and clearly communicate processes and potential solutions? The more they avoided “tech-speak,” the better off you will be.

Attention to Detail

One of the lesser-known secrets about technology is that it’s all related. That means that when addressing one problem or issue, the solution can sometimes negatively affect another set of things in the computer or the network. Our techs are required to test PIES access—Printing, Internet, Email and Software—for each user after addressing each issue. This attention to detail is important and has proven vital in reducing callbacks after a solution has been put in place.

Planning Versus Reacting

One of the biggest complaints we hear from prospective clients is that while their current support firm is responsive, they are totally and solely reactive. Many of these folks report to us that their incumbent support firms have never come to them with a proactive list of items that need strategic thought and budget planning over the course of time. Ask prospective IT support candidates about their approach to ongoing account management. Ask them when they attended the last seminar on emerging technologies or security issues. If they have trouble sharing an answer, you may want to ask a lot more questions.
In order for great expectations to turn into great relationships with an IT support firm, have a go at the advice above and give us a call today. It might help lead to a relationship just like the one Pip finally enjoys with his beloved Estella as is stated in the final line of the novel…”I saw no shadow of another parting from her.”

First published in our August 2017 IT Radix Resource newsletter