Having the right technology partner in place is one of those things that can have a massive impact on your business if you get it wrong. Choosing an IT Services Provider that delivers on their promise can be the difference between keeping clients happy with amazing customer service, or frustrating them with slow, glitchy systems.
It can be the difference between content staff who can work remotely without friction, or disgruntled employees who are filling up your support queue with endless tickets.
It can be the difference between business success, and failure…
So what are 5 signs you might have chosen the wrong IT partner and need to change?
1. Your IT Services Provider only thinks about the tech, not about your business.
At the beginning of the relationship when they were trying to win your contract, they probably talked a good game about the impact of IT on your business. But now they’re a few years in, all those plans and ‘future-thinking’ ideas have disappeared and you can’t remember the last time you heard them mention the words ‘Return On Investment’.
If you’re not having regular strategic meetings with your IT Services Account Manager to discuss business plans, pains and objectives, then it’s likely it’s time to look for someone who can do that for you. McKinsey recommends that customers and their IT partners need to develop a really clear shared understanding of the business outcomes of any contract when choosing an IT services provider.
Otherwise, your IT systems are never going to deliver on your business aims if nothing is linked up.
2. Their recommended technology stack hasn’t changed in a decade.
IT is changing at such a rapid rate than no IT service provider can afford to stand still. If your tech partner is still suggesting the same systems and tools that they were 10 years ago with no refinement along the way, then something is seriously wrong.
Many IT companies who are tied to dedicated hardware are wary about suggesting cloud solutions which feel ‘out of their control’. Likewise, many newer cloud services companies might not have the expertise around your onsite IT to be able to suggest creative hybrid solutions that link everything up seamlessly.
Quiz your IT services partner about why they’re suggesting a particular technology approach for you. Is it the same solution they suggest to everyone or is it tailored to you specifically? If they’re not suggesting cloud services, then why not? If they are suggesting cloud services, then find out exactly why!
It sounds like we’re being contrary, but getting to the nub about why your provider is suggesting a specific solution is critical for deciding on whether it’s the right solution for YOU or for them!
3. Your IT partner only gives good customer service when there’s a contract up for renewal
If you start noticing a trend where the only time you can get hold of your Account Manager on the phone, or get your ticket answered on time is when your contract is up for renewal, then something is seriously wrong.
IT service provider salespeople are compensated on retaining existing customers, so will likely ramp up their selling activities in the month before your contract is up for renewal – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be treated well all the rest of the time.
If you’re feeling like your IT services provider isn’t as keen to solve issues or is less responsive once you’re in the middle of a contract, then it’s time to start planning for what’s going to happen when the contract does finally come to an end. Don’t fall into the trap of being wooed back into a contract that you were unhappy with just a few months before.
4. You can’t remember the last time you spoke to a skilled technical contact.
The fact is, it’s often cheaper to fill your customer-facing staff with lower paid, non-technical staff and keep your expensive tech experts behind the scenes, keeping the show running.
This means that customers often have very little engagement with their IT services provider’s technical team, except for a line or two on a support ticket.
When you sign with an IT services provider, part of what you’re signing up for is access to a wealth of expertise and knowledge that you can’t do yourself in-house. Otherwise, you’d just buy the hardware or cloud services yourself.
When looking for a new IT Solutions Partner, ask them about how much engagement you can hope to have with their technical experts during the contract’s lifespan.
5. Your Account Manager doesn’t ‘get you’.
If your Account Manager hasn’t invested the time understanding what you do, what your challenges are or what your business is trying to achieve (let’s face it, it’s Sales Playbook 101 stuff), then it’s a sign that something is seriously wrong across your IT partner’s business as a whole.
If they can’t invest in getting their staff to ‘care’ about their customers, then how are they going to be bothered to care about your IT?
At the very least, Account Managers and sales teams should be knowledgeable about their customers and how their business challenges can be solved by technology – and should be coming to you proactively with ideas and new solutions. When choosing an IT services provider, you’re buying into their ethos, their company culture and their ‘way’ of doing business.
If you don’t have faith in your tech partner’s Account Manager, then you don’t have faith in their service as a whole.