On this page, you’ll find out how to spot good IT support when you see it. We’ll explain what you can expect to get from an IT support service, and how to spot the differences between the various IT support companies in the marketplace. Furthermore, we’ll tell you a little about our approach at Superfast IT, so you’ll have something against which to compare.
What Does IT Support Include?
There are dozens of IT support companies in Birmingham and the West Midlands, and that means there are a wide variety of IT support packages on offer. Here are are some of the most important components to look out for:
Reactive IT support
Fast remote assistance for users is perhaps the most important part of an IT support offering. When your users run into problems that hold them back, it’s the remote helpdesk support that will quickly get them working again. For some issues, it’s not possible to sort them out remotely, which means you’ll inevitably need some level of on-site cover too.
At Superfast, our IT support packages include unlimited telephone, remote and on-site support. Some providers offer packages that don’t include the on-site component, but while these might seem cheaper, you can find yourself on the receiving end of an unexpected and costly invoice.
The better IT support companies utilise advanced monitoring tools to keep an eye on all aspects of your IT systems. These monitoring tools alert support staff in the event of pending/current issues, allowing them to take corrective action before users become aware of problems.
While many providers market their remote monitoring services as “24/7 monitoring”, they don’t have anyone working 24/7, so the alerts just queue up until the start of the next working day. At Superfast IT we have engineers actively responding to events around the clock, 365 days a year. Whatever time an issue occurs, an engineer will look into it. Therefore, problems can be resolved out of hours before you turn up for work.
There seems to be an ever-increasing array of cyber security threats, and your IT support company will play a pivotal role in keeping you safe from the bad guys. You’ll need multiple layers of cyber defences and your IT provider will need to have skills in this area. Otherwise, you’ll have exposure to unnecessary risk.
Included in our support offering is a carefully selected suite of products to provide comprehensive cyber protection for your users. Together with our other cyber security services, our clients have the assurance of excellent all-around cyber defences and a reduced risk profile.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
In the event of hardware failure, cyber attack, or some other kind of disaster, a thoroughly tested backup and disaster recovery plan will get you out of trouble. When this happens, you’ll understandably want to get back up and running quickly. Your IT support company will, therefore, need to be fully up to speed with how to put your plan into effect. If you don’t have a plan, or your IT company hasn’t properly tested it, then you’re at risk of extended downtime and data loss.
StorageCraft provides industry leading backup and disaster recovery software. Superfast IT has chosen StorageCraft to be the basis of the backup and disaster recovery services. Our team are all trained and accredited StorageCraft Certified Engineers, which means they can provide the expert assistance needed in times of crisis. Using our service, our clients benefit from hourly backups, automatic offsite data replication, and rapid system recovery.
Strategic Advice and Planning
To get the most business benefit and value from your investment in technology, you’ll need sound advice and an effective plan. Effective planning involves looking at the current and future needs of the business, reviewing the current situation, identifying areas for improvement, establishing priorities, determining budgets, and making an action plan. Some IT support companies will have one or more individuals dedicated to this role.
Clients of Superfast IT benefit from a dedicated IT Manager who’s job it is to coordinate the above activities. Your IT Manager has access to other experts within the Superfast team to help with any scenario.
Differences Between IT Support Companies
With so many IT support companies in Birmingham to choose from, you’ll want to have a good understanding of the differences between them. In this section, we’ll outline some of the fundamental differences and what they could mean to you:
The biggest complaint we hear about other IT support companies is that they take too long to respond. We know that speed-of-response is usually the overriding factor that businesses use when choosing providers. That’s why we called our company Superfast IT; why speed is core to what we do. We continually measure the speed and efficiency of how we resolve our customers’ issues to improve our service. It’s who we are; it’s what we do.
Any business needs to keep their customers happy, and Superfast IT is no different. We measure client satisfaction after every job, with users choosing from one of three options:
The responses we get to this short survey give us a customer satisfaction score which, combined with the optional comments, lets us measure customer satisfaction in our quest for continuous improvement. You can see our most recent customer satisfaction scores below; they’re in the footer on every page of our website.
Hours of Cover
Different IT support companies offer different hours of operation. Standard hours of operation for Superfast IT are 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. For businesses that work extensively outside these hours, there’s a 24/7 option available.
Many IT support companies require clients to sign up for 12-month or even 36-month contracts. We’ve come across many businesses on the receiving end of terrible support and stuck in a long contract. You’ll no doubt want to avoid this at all costs.
Superfast has standard monthly-rolling agreements in place. With shorter contracts, we have to meet our clients’ expectations consistently, or they’re free to leave us. For customers who prefer a longer-term arrangement, we can accommodate this too.
Expertise and Experience
It can be difficult for organisations to assess the level of skills and experience of IT support companies. Many of their websites display many logos of vendors such as Microsoft and Apple. Unfortunately, these logos are often meaningless or misused. Be particularly alert to any company that claims to have a large number of accreditations from multiple vendors that operate in the same space. It’s impossible for businesses to be expert in everything, and you don’t want a jack-of-all-trades type of operations looking after your systems. Before you sign any agreements, you should certainly verify any partner accreditations.
Superfast IT has partnerships with the following carefully chosen vendors: Microsoft, StorageCraft, WatchGuard, Ruckus, The Email Laundry, and Webroot.
If by now you’re wondering what IT support costs, then the short answer is: it depends. Many factors affect the price that providers charge, and we’ve covered these in our article titled “How much does Business IT Support Cost in Birmingham?”
If you’d like an IT support quote specific to your business, get in touch.
You now know what good IT support looks like, and how you differentiate one IT support company from another. You’ve learned that IT support isn’t just about fixing problems, and includes taking a proactive approach to areas of strategy and planning, cyber-security, and disaster recovery. And you’ve learned that providers vary in customer satisfaction, response times, hours of operation, contract length, expertise, and price.
Armed with the above information you’ll be able to find a quality IT support company with who you can establish a successful long-term partnership.