Have you ever sat down to work on an impending project only to attempt to turn on your laptop and it won’t start? Or you get locked out of your system because the password changed, or you are in the middle of important research with a ridiculously slow internet connection? Of course, you have. If you use technology to do your job, it is likely you have faced anyone of these issues. Many small businesses cannot afford an in-house IT professional and so they outsource that responsibility, expecting their IT to work seamlessly. Right?
As an IT professional striving to provide exceptional IT services to the greater Boise community, we talk to businesses that tell us that it takes too long for their current IT provider to complete projects, return calls and/or make proactive suggestions that would have prevented their IT infrastructure from breaking or their network from running slow or going down altogether. In fact, the sad truth is that most business leaders have simply grown to accept what we call, “mediocre IT” as the norm.
What is mediocre IT?
Mediocre IT is the lack of proactive support, thought leadership and valuable IT advice that would enable your team to leverage technology to be productive and analyze data points to improve employee performance and customer satisfaction. MediocreIT is also that nagging thought in the back of your mind that makes you wonder if you are really getting fast enough, thorough enough or proactive (enough) service and IT advice to help you leverage IT to grow. It’s that “thing that makes you go hmmm” and wonder if something better is out there.
We have encountered businesses who put up with mediocre IT for years. Here's how you know you are receiving medicore IT service:
- The only time your IT guy makes a suggestion is when there’s a problem.
- It takes your IT person days to resolve what should be simple or straightforward issues
- Your IT person has put a “set it and forget it” solution in place, and you almost never hear from him/her
- Your IT is reactive to problems not proactive in telling you what they prevented/fixed
- Your IT company fixes problems but stays away from advice on how to save you money and/or time
- You never really know what the IT person does
Ok, you think, that might be true, but it’s better than nothing. Or, it’s better than what I had before.
At MicroTech Systems, we believe IT service is the foundation of ensuring your IT infrastructure and network performs at its best so your team can perform at their best. And, this is why mediocre IT is an obstacle to your ability to grow and compete:
At first glance, a “set it and forget it” relationship with IT may seem like a great thing for SMBs. But when you’re experiencing tech problems, that lack of communication won’t seem like such a positive, and customers will complain when your technology prevents them from receiving a better customer experience.
Many IT professionals will wait until a client calls to address problems. There’s no attempt to be proactivity about IT problems before they occur. When your provider does not have the “eyes and ears” on your network around the clock—it’s likely that they are not monitoring your systems and therefore reacting to your concerns. Security and data theft have caused many SMBs to shut their doors as a result of reactive IT. You simply can’t wait for your system to break or your data to become vulnerable to data theft.
Often this is the result of working with an IT provider that merely does not have the man-power (aka team) and process behind him/her to give the time and attention required for any given problem or request. When your service provider does not have the collective expertise and developed processes in place, problems that should take minutes to resolve suddenly takes days. That extra time can have a significant impact on your business.
The No Mediocre-IT approach to Your Business
We believe in a No Mediocre-IT approach to service and to be able to deliver it, we have to be able to define it. Here is our definition of No MediocreIT.
Nose-to-the-grind network professionals. No frills; just exceptional IT.
Nothing else probably matters more to any leader than when a team member is locked out a file or unable to access voice and email to help clients. The best IT guys are going to be watching your network around the clock, adjusting and making updates so that patches, updates and memory leaks don’t keep your team from doing their jobs. No-mediocre IT teams are attentive to your network and data, detecting and troubleshooting the smallest to the most complicated IT problems to ensure your network, data, and systems are always running at peak performance.
They Are Always Striving to Drive Down The Numbers
Mediocre IT will allow you to wait on the line or sit at your desk with a blank screen for hours, possibly even days. Five-Star IT service seeks to minimize those situations by responding to services tickets in their stated SLA time. They will keep your network server up 99% of the time and will actually monitor your back-up system or “die trying” to ensure your network is fueling employee productivity around the clock.
They are Persistent
When the network runs slow or a hard drive fails in a server, diagnosing these types of can often feel like searching for a needle in a haystack – getting to the root cause of any problem requires persistence. Click to see what "persistence" in IT means.
They Stay Ahead of Trending Issues So That You Don’t Have To
The security of your data has become an increasingly bigger threat to the sustainability of any SMB. And with so many free anti-virus solutions available and mediocre IT providers will push you toward them to cut costs, not to mention compromise your ability to meet security compliance regulations for the clients you serve. Truth is, they’re garbage. Like backup solutions, actively making patch updates and managing your antivirus and firewalls for routine intrusion detection is a part of finding cyber-attacks before they become a problem on your network. Your customers expect you to take every step possible to ensure their data is secure. Don’t trust the security of your business to a sub-par security strategy.
They Communicate Frequently with You
Exceptional IT begins with communication both ways. You should expect your IT partner to provide quarterly updates on the status of project work and any type of IT issue that could potentially impact your business. Yes, you should expect them to communicate with you. If the only time you hear from your IT provider is when you experience pain, you may have a case of mediocre IT.
They Provide You with Business Insights
Technology is an innovative way to be more productive and efficient on a small business budget. Five Star Service Providers should be willing to meet with you at least 3-4 times a year to talk about how your current system supports your business goals and objectives, and what small changes now can make a big impact down the road. Budgeting, technology planning and CIOservices (which small business could never afford) should be a part of this strategic meeting that adds not only IT value but also business acumen to achieving your most important business objectives.
They Deliver 5-Star Service
We have a saying at MicroTech that goes like this, “no one achieves greatness because of what they do; they achieve greatness in the way they do it.”
Mediocre IT organizations are challenged to deliver consistent, high-quality service because it’s not a part of their culture; it’s not a part of a living organism. Here’s the deal, 5-Star service is not an award. It is a declaration that your IT provider will go out of our way to deliver the technology experience promised. The difference between four-star and five-star service is in the mindset; a way of working and most of all, a healthy disdain for anything mediocre.
We recognize that even high-quality products can become commodities and that certifications are near-standard practice. We challenge mediocre IT service by putting into place a 5 Star promise that outlines how we deliver exceptional IT. If you are tired of mediocre IT, then expect better and connect with us.
Hey, got another minute?
5-star IT service is a subject we’re passionate about at MicroTechSystems. We believe there’s a right way to build relationships with clients and deliberately skimping on service just to offer lower pricing isn’t it. If you are tired of mediocre IT, then download this list of questions to ask your IT provider before signing any long-term contracts.
About the Author
Randy Amorebieta is co-owner of MicroTech Systems in Boise, ID. After joining theMicrotech team 20 years ago, Randy and his partner have made the design and implementation of technology solutions to help SMBs grow a top priority. As technology continues to constantly evolve, MicroTech believes their job and mission is still to help small-to-medium sized businesses solve problems and maximize opportunities. As a provider of innovative IT support and computer network consulting, Randy and team help Boise businesses figure out how to leverage technology and innovation to their competitive advantage. To learn more about Randy, visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/randyamorebieta/.