3 Glaring Signs Your IT Provider Is A Deadbeat (And How To Break Up With Them)
The honeymoon stage is always right after signing the managed services agreement. Your tech questions get answered quickly and you’re happy with your IT provider’s service. Then, an occasional call or email goes unanswered. And then one day, you realize your calls and emails aren’t ever returned, leaving you wondering, “What do we do now?”
Surprisingly, this happens more often than you would expect. If you’ve ever been ghosted by your technology provider, you know how much it can cramp your style. Here are a few signs you’re dealing with a deadbeat technology provider, and how you can cut the cord before things get worse.
1. You Never Get A Response From Your Technology Provider
This one gets under our skin.
We scoop up a lot of clients who’ve been scorned by other IT providers. Sure, if you have a complicated IT project in the works, response time can get longer. However, common break/fix requests, cyber security breaches, and disaster recovery situations need immediate attention.
You should never feel left in the dust by your IT provider. If you don’t trust that your provider is going to help you solve an issue, it could be time to break up.
2. You’re On A Fixed-Fee IT Plan, Yet Your Rates Are Constantly Increasing
It’s called “fixed-fee” for a reason. Your managed services agreement shouldn’t come with cost increases every month or so.
Unfortunately, some IT companies raise their rates without good reason. One of the benefits of hiring a managed services provider is to have your needs handled by an expert for a predictable monthly cost. If your rates are constantly going up, then it’s not predictable, and it’s not a fixed-fee relationship.
If you’re experiencing constant fee changes, it could be time to break up with your IT provider.
3. You’re On A Fixed-Fee IT Plan, And You Frequently Experience Downtime
This is unacceptable.
Your managed services provider is supposed to be on top of your organization’s preventative technology maintenance. If something is going wrong on your network, they should immediately identify the threat and take steps to safeguard your systems.
This isn’t to say that you couldn’t ever experience downtime. Believe it or not, the #1 threat to your network is you and your staff. If your staff unknowingly clicks on a phishing email, subsequently opening your network to a hacker, your IT team should quickly come to the rescue to squash the threat. The affected workstation could still have downtime while they work out the issue.
However, if you’re constantly experiencing downtime, it could mean that your managed services provider isn’t qualified, or isn’t doing their job. Both seem to be a separation-worthy offense.
How Do I Break Up With My IT Provider?
We don’t enjoy telling you to fire your IT provider, so we’ll always recommend trying to work it out first. Try communicating your concerns with your IT group. Document the items you’ve been disappointed with, and how you think they can be resolved.
Let’s say you’re unsatisfied with how often your organization experiences downtime as a result of a problematic server. Here’s a quick, effective way to approach them:
We need to talk.
We’ve worked together for a long time, so I’d like to have a candid conversation with you regarding your team’s performance.
My company had downtime for four hours last Wednesday, and for two hours on three days last month. This downtime affected my staff’s performance for month-end procedures, sales reporting, and more. I thought we wouldn’t have this since we have a managed services agreement, so we need to discuss how to limit downtime in the future.
I have a few ideas. Let’s start with getting an itemized list of the processes being completed monthly by your staff. Then, let’s see where these threats are coming from to determine next steps.
I look forward to hearing from you to assess how your team is able to decrease the amount of downtime we’ve experienced.
ABC Company, Inc.
If your IT provider doesn’t respond to a message like this, it’s time to jump ship. Research potential new IT providers before cutting the cord. When you’re settled on a new IT group, terminate your relationship with the deadbeat IT group.
Here are a few simple ways you can evaluate your prospective IT provider so you don’t end up in the same situation:
- Do your research. Do some online sleuthing to narrow down your options and schedule a time to meet with a few reputable IT providers. Call their references to ensure their existing clients are happy.
- Ask about their response time. Talking about response time should be front and center as you meet with potential providers. Ask each if they have a guaranteed response time, and what you can expect for issues outside of business hours.
- Make sure their services align to your business. Managed service agreements aren’t cut and dry. They should be tailored to your specific business needs.
- Thoroughly review the contract before signing. Discover what makes a good contract in this guide.
Your technology provider should give you peace of mind. If you’re not getting that in your current relationship, then it could be time to look elsewhere.
Sometimes, you don’t need a new provider. You just need some advice. Contact our team for answers here or call us at 410.685.5512.
About Bill Walter
Bill, our lead networking guru, loves showing clients how technology can be worked into their existing processes to improve efficiency and security. His expertise includes cyber security, high level planning for internal and external networks, , and hands-on installation and configuration of networks. He helps organizations of all types and sizes implement cyber security best practices to protect sensitive data. Normally a pretty easygoing guy, Bill thinks there should be a law against wearing a Bluetooth headset when it’s not in use.