Why accounting business owners switch their partner IT

Why accounting business owners switch their partner IT

You probably won’t be surprised to learn
that we heard from a lot of businesses last
year who were unhappy with their current IT
support provider. And that’s putting it politely!

Some of these businesses were seething. They’d put a huge amount of trust in their IT support service. They were made promises of better devices, more suitable software, a smoother working network. And it simply wasn’t delivered. Then, just when these businesses needed IT support the most, when the country was locked down in March last year… there was radio silence.

Their support vanished. Either because the IT support company wasn’t large enough to transition all of their clients to home working. Or because they weren’t prepared enough to do it at the speed that was required. These IT support providers worked reactively, extinguishing fires as and when they started. So this meant they didn’t have anything in place for the strategy of “anyone can work anywhere, on any device”. Businesses were left on their own. But it’s not only the pandemic that’s caused businesses to become frustrated with their IT support provider. No, we have been taking calls from people wanting to switch IT support since we started our business. As with many other things, the pandemic simply made this need to switch more urgent. 14 So what are the top 10 reasons that people want to make the switch to a new and improved IT support partner?

REASON TO SWITCH 1) YOU’RE NOT SEEING BUSINESS RESULTS

Return on investment is everything. Especially right now. You need to be able to see at a glance exactly how hard your IT partner is working for you. And what benefit that work is bringing to your business. An IT support partner should not only provide a detailed IT strategy for the long and short term. They should also give you a set of metrics which you can measure results by. And these metrics should be relevant and important to your business. Not a standard set issued by the IT support partner. Not convoluted with jargon. I’ve heard too many stories of IT companies providing very vague metrics that are impossible to decipher. Avoid!

REASON TO SWITCH 2) POOR COMMUNICATION

This can cover a whole range of issues… from it taking far too long for them to acknowledge problems… to them not letting you know when updates are taking place… or not getting back to you when they say they will… If we were talking about any other kind of supplier, these gripes might seem a little petty. But as we know, without working technology, business can’t run as it’s supposed to. And these little gripes become huge issues. Again, this is another way for you to distinguish an IT support provider from an IT support partner.

You need a responsive IT support partner who:

  • Acknowledges issues in good time
  • Keeps you in the loop of everything that you need to know, and
  • Does what they say they’ll do, when they say they’ll do it Just as your success is their success, your failure is their failure. So the faster an issue can be resolved, the better it is for both parties.

REASON TO SWITCH 3) THEY DON’T TAKE DATA SECURITY SERIOUSLY

Yes, you read that correctly. There are some IT support providers – whose job it is to keep your data safe and secure – that don’t do the same thing within their own business. They don’t make it a priority to keep themselves educated on the latest scams and threats. So they can’t keep you up to speed. And they won’t go out of their way to ensure every last part of your data is as safe as it can be. Or that your software 100% up-to-date all the time. I know… this scares me too… Is this really a company you’d want to be responsible for keeping your business safe from the growing number of data breaches?

REASON TO SWITCH 4) THEY WON’T GO OUTSIDE OF THEIR CONTRACT

“Sorry, we don’t cover that.” Ever heard that from your IT support provider? Lots of businesses have. But so long as the request relates to your technology, it should be a red flag. “We don’t cover that” suggests a real lack of concern for your business. And that’s not what a partner is about. 16 A partner actively spends time looking at new ways to improve your network; your data security; and your infrastructure. They won’t be working rigidly to a one-size fits all contract. And that’s just the point. One size doesn’t fit all, because each and every business is unique. Even two businesses in the same street, selling the same product or service will have a different way of working. They’ll use different software and devices, have different people working with them, and importantly, have different goals. You need an IT support partner that will take your goals as their own and do as much as they can to help you reach them.

REASON TO SWITCH 5) THINGS TAKE TOO LONG TO FIX

Understandably, many problems can’t always be fixed immediately. Some issues take a while to get to the bottom of. Other problems are rare and may take a little more diagnostic work. But in these situations, good communication is key. It might take you a while to see a resolution, but if your IT support partner is keeping you updated at each step, you’re confident it’s in hand. Whereas if your support request is still awaiting a response three days later… you’ve got a problem. And would you believe that some issues never get fixed at all? Or that one thing gets fixed only to break something else? This is technology we’re talking about. It goes wrong. It doesn’t always work the way we want it to. But you absolutely should not be facing issue after issue, and waiting days to have problems resolved. You should not face silence when you need help. All that waiting means downtime for your business. Where’s the value for money in that?17

REASON TO SWITCH 6) THEY NEVER ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY

When you take on an IT support partner, it’s vital that both businesses take responsibility for their side of the agreement. Failing to do so causes a huge lack of trust. And means that the relationship is going nowhere. I’ve heard from business owners who have reported an issue to their IT support provider, only to be told that it’s their fault that the issue arose! (despite them following advice and instruction from that same IT support provider) I’ve also heard from business owners who have reported issues to their IT support provider; only to be told that they need to contact someone else (such as a software supplier) about the problem. The idea of an IT support partner is that you trust them to deal with their area of expertise, while you get on with yours. If they’re passing the buck when you face a problem, you’re not getting the benefit of a support partner at all.

REASON TO SWITCH 7) THEY CONFUSE YOU WITH TECH TALK

If technology wasn’t complicated, everyone would be able to take care of their own business infrastructure without a problem. However, the truth is quite the opposite. It’s full of strange words and concepts, and everything changes every 7 minutes! (it seems that way anyway). It’s a minefield if you don’t know what you’re doing. The hallmark of a good IT support partner is that they take this complication and make it look easy. Better still, they make it sound easy. They explain things to you without sounding like they’re speaking a foreign language. 18 Again, it all comes down your connection as partners. If you can’t communicate properly with each other, how fruitful is this relationship really going to be? The likelihood is that it’ll leave both sides frustrated, and your business won’t be able to make the most of the technology it has. REASON TO SWITCH 8) YOU’RE NOT LEARNING Ok, so we’re not expecting your IT support partner to teach you their job. You don’t need to be an expert in IT - that’s what you’re paying someone to do for you. However, there should be a certain element of learning when you partner with an IT company. For example, you need to learn about cyber-security; how to avoid scams; and how to protect your data. If you’re told “Let us worry about that,” it should ring alarm bells. You can’t expect to keep your organisation safe from a data breach or data theft if you don’t know what you’re trying to protect yourself from. It’s also important that your IT support partner explains what they’re doing. You really do want to have a basic understanding of how your infrastructure works or is set up for you. This will help you to help yourself when a minor issue occurs.

REASON TO SWITCH 9) THEY’RE ALWAYS PUSHING NEW HARDWARE

Many of our clients complain that their previous IT support providers spent more time pushing new equipment than they did on the fundamentals. It’s nice to have the very latest technology in your business, but it’s certainly not vital. There are lots of other things to consider before upgrading equipment and devices. Especially today when value for money and return on investment are critical.

Of course, your business will need a certain level of equipment for you to operate the way you need to, but you probably already have most of the things you need. I find that for most businesses, it’s far more important to get the infrastructure right before we even consider your hardware. Additional devices, for example, are sometimes nice to have rather than crucial. A good IT support partner will help you to create an IT roadmap, which should detail at which points in the years ahead you need to budget for upgrades or additional devices.

REASON TO SWITCH 10) YOU’VE OUTGROWN THEM

Now, this last one isn’t necessarily a bad reason to switch IT support partners. Sometimes, your business simply grows too big for a smaller IT company to deal with. That’s actually great news for you. The difficult part can be knowing when to make the switch.

Especially when you’re working with a company that you like. It’s worth keeping in mind that if: 

  • Your support requests aren’t being responded to as quickly as you need them to be
  • Or the recommendations on how best to use technology to grow your business have stopped
  • Or you need a higher level of support … it’s in your best interest to find a new IT support partner.
If you’ve noticed you need more support, your IT support partner has probably noticed too. In fact, if they’re good partners, they may even discuss this with you first. Trust me when I say there will be no hard feelings. No company wants to be out of its depth with clients.

If you’ve ever felt any of these gripes, perhaps now is the right time for you to make the switch too? When you place your technology at the heart of your business growth strategy, you see why it’s important to have a partner you can trust. No business is perfect. Inevitably we get some things wrong for our clients some of the time, because we’re human too. But because we have partnerships with our clients, we’re able to have adult conversations and change course quickly. We don’t have to spend unnecessary time repairing relationships; rather we can set the correct expectations and resolve issues quickly.