There are lots of IT companies in London, but not all of them are made equally. It can be a bit of a minefield choosing IT support in London, but we’ve compiled 10 handy tips to help you choose a partner that is reputable, reliable and, above all else, right for your business.
1. Explore various service level agreements
An SLA (service level agreement) outlines the level of service you can expect from your IT support company. It will cover things like:
– Expected response times for various types of IT problems
– Which aspects of your IT systems are maintained by the company
– The percentage of uptime you can expect
– Procedures for reporting IT problems
– Consequences if service obligations are not met
Generally speaking, the higher level of service you need, the more expensive the service will be. You should talk through various service levels with an IT support company to establish a level of service that works with your budget while satisfying your IT needs. Only sign a contract when you’re totally happy with the SLA proposed.
2. Understand if they fix problems or prevent them
IT support in London isn’t just about fixing IT issues when they occur. A good IT support company will strive to protect against IT failures in order to minimise downtime.
From managing security against cyber crime, to taking care of your data backups, there are many aspects of IT maintenance that will help to stop your business running into problems. Always ask an IT support company how they can protect you from IT problems and downtime.
3. Take note of their language
One of the biggest reasons many small businesses choose to hire an IT support company is because they don’t have the in-house technical knowledge needed to do it themselves. That means they’re not usually familiar with the complex technical terms used to describe various IT services and systems.
The best IT companies in London will acknowledge this, and will use language which is accessible and easy to understand when it comes to describing technical terms. Ultimately, it’s a sign of good customer service; clients need to know exactly what they’re paying for and why it’s valuable to their business, so it makes sense to communicate this in a manner they understand.
4. Figure out if they’re a listener or a talker
There is never a one-size-fits-all approach to small business IT support. IT services vary hugely from business to business and a good quality IT support company will acknowledge this.
You can expect the best IT companies in London to listen to your unique business needs and offer the most suitable solutions. If they’re talking at you and pushing you towards services without understanding your business goals and needs, it’s a sign that they’re not right for the job.
5. Shop around for rates
Rates can vary greatly between IT companies in London, so it makes sense to request quotes from a few different providers. This will give you an informed idea of what’s reasonable for the services you require.
Remember that cheapest isn’t necessarily best. A company may have higher rates because they’re more experienced or have specialist knowledge, for example. Equally, though, you may not necessarily get the best level of service from the most expensive company. Cost is only one aspect to consider when choosing the right IT support company.
6. Understand the geographical area they cover
When searching for IT support in London, it’s vital that you know where they’re based and which areas of the city they cover. If you need urgent support on your business premises, you need to know how quickly they’ll be able to reach you.
You also need to bear in mind your long term business goals. If there’s a possibility you’ll be moving to new premises or expanding into different areas, you’ll want to know that an IT support company will be able to continue to serve you.
7. Ask if they offer remote support
Sometimes remote support is the quickest way to get an IT problem resolved. It can also be a cheaper solution for businesses which have a pay-as-you-go IT support model.
Of course there are some problems which can’t be fixed remotely, but in many instances it makes sense to attempt remote support first. After all, the sooner an IT problem is fixed, the less impact there is on business operations.
8. Find out if their IT services can grow with your businesses
An important part of small business IT support is the ability for it to scale. Initially, small businesses may be working with tight budgets and limited IT needs. However, they might need to level up their IT usage as they hire more staff or expand their reach or business offerings.
The capital is prime location for new businesses and start-ups, so many IT companies in London are familiar with the concept of scaling their services in line with the growth of the clients. If you have big plans for your small business, it’s really important to ask an IT support company about their ability to support you in the future.
9. Ask who you’ll be dealing with
When IT problems strike, you need to know how they’ll be resolved. Be sure to ask the following questions:
– Will we have a dedicated account manager or engineer to report issues to?
– Who will we be dealing with most regularly?
– How often can we expect communication and updates in regard to maintenance and monitoring of IT systems?
10. Look for experience
There are lots of companies offering IT support in London, but if you want reliability, you need a company with experience. Always ask an IT support company how long they’ve been operating for, and be sure to request testimonials from past or previous clients.
You should also ask about the nature of the businesses they’ve worked with. If they’re familiar with your industry, they’ll be able to recommend IT services which best suit your organisation.