Technology is an incredible tool. As such, many homes and businesses incorporate technology in their very fabric. Now, that’s great when technology works, but it’s terrible when it doesn’t. Many businesses these days have become completely dependent on computers and their accompanying systems. Small businesses are more susceptible to computer problems because they don’t have a dedicated staff like large enterprises do. As such, it is important to know what to look for in a technical support company.
Unfortunately for most people and businesses, they think about this kind of thing once the stuff hits the fan. Then they usually get desperate and choose anyone that seems like they can help. What you want to do is develop a relationship with a tech support company before you actually need them. This will help you choose someone who is reputable and delivers results.
Most small businesses can really be served by a technical generalist. This is someone who knows a lot about a lot. This is someone who can help your network if suddenly it comes down. This person should also be able to troubleshoot computer and server problems. But really, it all comes down to what types of problems you will encounter. For small business, this mostly involves computer problems resulting from viruses, malware, etc. Most users are their worst own enemy and will end up trashing their own systems. You may have the occasional network issue. Software application support may or may not be something you need to consider. The moral of the story here is to assess your potential support needs. This will go a long way to choosing a great match on technical support.
Okay, you’ve done an inventory. You have a general idea of what you may or may not need. Now it’s time to start talking to potential tech support companies. The goal is to select two potential companies that you can call on at any time to get help. Why two? Well, sometimes one will be so bogged down that turn around times are useless. Also, one of the companies may go out of business or leave town. When you call the companies, you will want to let them know that you are checking out potential tech support companies. You want to know what services they offer, what their prices are, and what their wait times are. Now, this initial conversation is as much about the information as it is the process. You want to get a feel for how you are handled as a person and a company. Tech support companies are notorious for being bad customer service outlets. This is paramount. If you are going to be dealing with someone when the stuff hits the fan, they need to be very good at customer service.
Now, price is also a big part of the equation. Some places will give a per incident price and then tack on fees if the incident goes over a certain time requirement. Others will have a contracted price that is flat with certain service level agreements. It’s important to weigh out the different price structures. If you need technical support a lot, then a flat fee would probably be most advantageous.
The last thing I want to talk about is quality of service. You want a company that will do whatever it takes to fix your problem. This means that they hire technicians who really care about solving the problem and treating customers right. If a technician ever talks down to you, I would hire a new company. A technician should be able to tell you what’s wrong in layman’s terms. If they speak over your head, ask them to explain it in terms you can understand. Any technician worth his salt should be willing and able to do this.
Remember, the secret to getting a great tech support company is finding one before you need it. Call around and talk to the folks. Note how they treat you and how they price their services. Dig in a little and see if they are patient with you. Trust me, a little time and work now will save you thousands of dollars later.
Paul has been writing informative articles like this for 6 years. He created a post on his tech blog that offers up a few suggestions for good wireless laser printers.
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