Unstable IT Support Keeps Businesses Switching

Vanson Bourne, a research firm contracted by Open Cloud provider Rackspace, sought out to understand the reasoning behind a throng of businesses(with 250 or more employees) switching IT suppliers.

In the last 12 months, 69% of the 250 companies reviewed have switched their IT supplier; an arduous task that guarantees downtime, setbacks and restructuring– something a lot of businesses do not have time for. Most would assume that a considerable amount of technical failings would have to occur in order to force a company’s hand in making such a drastic decision, as occasional downtime and technical issues come with the territory. Findings indicate that approximately 60% of businesses that made the switch did so in light of either the supplier’s response time to faults or the quality of their communication. Vanson Bourne cites less than a fifth of those blamed issues on a lack of technical expertise on their supplier’s end.

Let’s step away from the review and critically observe a few things, starting with the perception of an IT professional. Most employees’ encounters with internal IT departments involves shooting off an Email with your issue, receiving a reply similar to “have you rebooted the system yet?” and eventually having someone like this come to your rescue:

The IT Crowd - Property of Channel 4 UK

Usual first impressions are as follows: The IT guy looks flustered and rather irritated at the notion that you can’t get your E-mail attachments to open. He hurriedly gets you off your workstation and bangs some keys around, breathing deeply and maybe even rolling his eyes. One could almost say that your continued issues with your system aren’t exactly putting the IT guy in a zen place. Additionally, he never divulges exactly why you experienced the problem you’ve had, and may not even instruct you on best practices to avoid the problem in the future. Then off he goes, ready to stare-down the next computer newbie before the day’s end.

A huge disconnect exists between corporations and their IT suppliers, whether internally or externally, where neither side takes the other into careful consideration. First and foremost, customer service is absolutely paramount in understanding the needs of clients and responding in the best manner available. For an IT supplier, this means to take each case independently of one another, remembering not to outwardly display your frustration at any issues being handled. Active listening must be practiced in order to give the proper attention to the issue and respond accordingly. Most IT professionals know best– best practices for Information Technology, that is! However, the art is in communicating the need for specific procedures and breaking down  both the reasoning and steps to prevent the problem from repeating itself. Most employees are immersed in another world pertaining to their specific business, without the proper time to truly become experts with their systems. Employees, this does not mean you’re off the hook! If you repeatedly encounter the same issues after being instructed about best practices to avoid it,  you are causing your own downtime and lack of productivity.

IT deparments and suppliers don’t have the luxury of downtime– they must always be on, often 24 hours a day. Their can be hundreds of work tickets in queue which must be prioritized and divvied out accordingly to maximize effectiveness. Some IT suppliers will do the prioritizing without explaining properly the thought process behind it, perhaps in an attempt to keep their cards close to their chest, so to speak. Keeping clients in the dark does not encourage open, honest communication. Better to briefly explain the reasoning behind decisions than to ignore it completely– while no IT company will completely divulge solutions or reasons for making decisions, it isn’t because they are trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Rather, it’s one of the only ways to discourage a DIY approach to IT.

Countless hours are spent adding IP addresses to domains and workgroups, or customizing permissions for each and every employee. Without understand what is called the ‘back end’ to IT work, some people take matters into their own hands; they’ve seen an IT guy do it, so it can’t be that hard, right? Wrong. Once a professional has resolved their issue, they must make note of every incremental change they have performed on the system, and confirm that the work will not interfere with the infrastructure setup they are trying to maintain. Even something as simple as a installation of software can wreak havoc on a business network due to things like shared drivers or databases located on a server. Again, this doesn’t serve as an excuse for the lack of customer service exhibited in the field. These are the types of things that IT suppliers should be touching upon in their communications to keep everyone on the same page.


image from UHI Student’s Association – http://www.uhisa.org.uk/content/799513/sos/

This all comes back to the total package you receive as a business from IT solutions. Besides price range, you have to think critically about the kind of professionals you are dealing with. While being easy on the pocket, some providers sacrifice the quality of their work, because they are offering that same great price to everyone.  IT professionals should seem engaged with your concerns and exhibit a desire to not only provide proper services but to suggest ways to help your business flourish through effective IT solutions. Allow me to clarify, however — this doesn’t mean having the newest technology as it comes out! Bugs, glitches and server crashes await companies & IT providers alike who jump to new technologies before allowing enough time for fixes and evaluation.

The price of the IT contracts being cancelled throughout the year range from $391k to $3.6 million – a direct reflection of the tolerance threshold for great customer service. As a managed IT supplier, Secure The World openly preaches the concept of external Social IT — a system that, until our inception, was shared between IT professionals internally. Due to issues similar to Vanson Bourne’s review, we are providing content that will empower employees, businesses and residential users with better tools to understand the processes that underline the most effective IT solutions. Combined with our personalized IT solutions, you will receive the highest level of customer service appropriate for your specific needs, without the smoke and mirrors that have increasingly become synonymous with IT Departments.


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