Outsourcing services can be an overwhelming experience with so many available options in the greater Columbia, SC market. All of the service providers promise the fastest, most efficient services because they truly want to provide the best possible IT services to their customers. The problem lies in the ability of providers to actually do what they claim they are going to do! Nearly all of potential service problems arise from issues related to one of three areas: 1) Expectations, 2) Organization, and 3) Communication. A thorough consultation with prospective customers that allows for the sharing of detailed information about both parties is crucial to getting off to the right start. Most IT services are provided by locally-owned companies, which can add a great personal touch to the relationship building aspect of outsourced services. However, organizational management problems arise because the founding managers of the business have a highly technical background with limited to no business management or organizational experience. These local owner-operators have the technical expertise to fix your most complicated problems, but often have difficulties with the basics of asset management for their business. Thus, expectations are set very high for the customer, but are not always met due to general organizational inefficiencies on the part of the vendor.
Effective communication is critical in any outsourced service situation - both direct communication between customer and vendor, and the organization and tracking of communicated information. The number one complaint among current users is that "my IT company doesn't show up when they say they will and we never hear from them" and secondly "that a new tech gets here that doesn't know our system or current situation and we have to explain it all over again". Open and active communication with easy access to decision-makers is crucial for both parties in an outsourced IT service arrangement along with accountability through proven customer service logging procedures.
So, remember to evaluate potential IT service vendors:
- What expectations for speed and quality are they attempting to set and have they proven that these expectations can be met?
- What systems and people are they using to remain organized and efficient and are these systems adequate?
- What is the service provider's attitude towards communication? How easy is it to reach the person that I will need to contact for help?
- What backups does the vendor have in place related to customer service, technical emergencies, organization, and communication?