As a continuation to our Avoid Unscrupulous IT Vendors: Part 1 article, utilize the following as a guideline and see if you notice similarities between he below information and your IT vendor. If you do, it may be time for a change.
Jack of All Trades, Master of None | Does your IT vendor offer a million services from IT & Internet, to Copy Machine & VOIP phone services? Does it seem that your IT vendor offers every services known to man? This is not necessarily a good thing. Selling different services is how IT vendors make money, and offering more services is a good way to make the most out of your client base. IT companies overextending themselves with multiple services to sell, maintain, and support is a recipe for disaster. Most IT vendors focus most on the selling part and less on the maintenance and support part. There is no primary focus and there is no concentration. Often times clients are kept waiting for that one guy who knows about that one thing to call you back because no other technician can help you. When choosing an IT vendor the best analogy I can make is to go for that specialty restaurant who makes the best brick oven pizza on the East Coast. Avoid Diner IT vendors with menu’s 10 pages long. You’ll leave with a full belly but the service and experience will be inferior and uninspired at best.
Consider Unlimited Support Plans | Billing issues and bad relationships are born from pay-as-you-go plans. It’s a very hard thing for a law firm that knows nothing about technology to look at a bill and understand every billing line item. Due to this some law firms simply don’t look at their bills unless they are higher than normal, while others dispute every charge. We have found that what cultivates positive relationships is unlimited support plans. This is a support figure that does not change, a consistent number that law firms can rely on. If your IT vendor shy’s away from unlimited support plans, this means they make too much money from you on a monthly basis and they are not willing to lower the cost in order to keep you. When we introduced unlimited support plans we lost money, but we gained positive relationships that keep our clients with us longer. Avoid IT vendors with a short term vision and short term solutions. Your goal is to grow with your IT vendor, not bounce around from vendor to vendor.
Train Your IT Vendor | If your IT vendor truly wants your business, they should be willing to bend over backwards to keep it. This means detailed services on your bills showing exactly the services performed and the total cost with subtotals. Having this makes it easier to shop around when looking for new IT. You’ll know exactly what your paying for and for how much. An all too common practice it to put a generic description like “Monthly IT Service” and then a random total that is either fixed or variable on the monthly basis. Meanwhile that generic description could encompass a backup, monitoring, support, subscription services, cloud services, anything really. Stay away from hidden services with hidden pricing and have the courage to ask your IT vendor to change their bill if your in this situation. It either means they are lazy, unorganized billers or hiding something.
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