As a small business owner, when you hear the question, ‘How do you feel about your current technology support?” what comes to mind? Do blissful, warm feelings emerge about friendly service, phenomenal expertise, and proactive partnership? No? Do you instantly cringe when thinking of the frustration that you experience on the regular in getting responses to your questions? Over the years we have found that many small businesses are receiving subpar levels of service when working with IT partners. Some of the complaints that we hear help drive us to ensure that we are meeting and exceeding expectations in these areas and beyond. Based on feedback we’ve heard, here are the top 6 ways you can identify that you may have an issue with your IT support, whether this be from an internal team or an external partner.
Lack of Strategic Guidance. Your IT partner should be abreast of the technology landscape and should have an understanding of how the constantly evolving environment will affect your business. If you’re not hearing from your partner unless you’ve reached out with a problem, you might want to inquire about needing more strategic support.
Environment Management Errors. Similar to strategic guidance, is your IT manager on top of all necessary updates, renewals, and upgrades that need to happen for your organization to stay running smoothly? Are computers updated in the defined periods of time? Or, do you find that you’re the last to know when software needs updated and then run into productivity blocks when older systems fail. Be sure that if you’ve engaged your IT team with these responsibilities that they are following through with their commitments before it is a bigger challenge.
Security is Not a Concern. The topic of cybersecurity should be at the forefront of many of your conversations with your IT partner. They should be thinking of ways to protect your business and proactively suggesting ways to ensure you’re aware of the risks and investments needed. Cyberattacks, cyber insurance, employee education, and phishing are all subjects that your IT partner should be aware of and have solutions to minimize your risk. While there is not a way to eliminate the risk, your IT team should be proactively strategizing on protecting the business.
Implementing Band-Aids. When you have an issue, does your IT partner investigate, test, and put in a solution that will solve it for you just today or all days moving forward? This is similar to taking your car into the shop for a noise and the mechanic fixes it such that it doesn’t squeak but the root cause of the problem isn’t solved so the squeak returns after a short period of time. You need a partner who will perform due diligence when an issue arises, even if that takes more time or effort to resolve it. The partner should be a long-term thinker vs. a short-term fixer.
Lack of Responsiveness. When you submit a question to your IT team, are you confident you’ll hear back within a reasonable amount of time with a complete answer? We hear so often that clients don’t feel that they are a priority to their IT teams and that when issues are submitted, it’s a common occurrence to hear back after weeks or months and sometimes never. This shocks us! When our clients have an open issue, we solve it. We communicate options, ETAs, and follow-through. You should expect the same of your partners. It is not too much to ask.
Empathy is Absent. Yes, you should expect technology professionals to be empathetic and strong communicators! When you speak to your technology colleague, you should feel welcome to ask questions, fearless to raise concerns, and a true sense of partnership. Your IT partner should be friendly and able to have a conversation with you about your business, your wins, and your challenges. They shouldn’t be annoyed with you or condescending in their explanations of technology-related material. Any partnership is built on a relationship and if you aren’t able to get to know your partner, working through challenges will become all that more painful. We hear this from clients frequently that the relationship is impersonal, business-like, and cold. At Firefly, we hire people who are strong interpersonally, because our client interactions are the foundation of our clients’ success.
There are many ways to spot when a partnership isn’t going so great and these are just a few of the most frequently heard when a client has migrated to working with us about their prior experiences. We hope that every partnership is solid and hopefully this helps you to evaluate how your technical support is assisting you or could improve.
If you nodded your head a few too many times while reading these elements, maybe it’s time for a conversation with your technology partner to correct some of these behaviors and Firefly is always here to help should you find that you’re looking for a new partner.