Should you “shop local” when it comes to IT services and support?

londonIT is a crucial part of every successful business. However not every company has an in-house team they can call on, for IT support. If you run a small to medium sized business for example, you may choose to outsource this service. Unfortunately, working with large, national support companies can often be tricky. Many of us have experienced the frustration of trying to explain an issue to someone hundreds of miles away, via a bad phone line. Is this really the best option? Or should you “shop local” for your IT support? Here are 4 advantages of working with a local IT services provide.

1. Flexibility

One benefit of working with a local team is the flexibility. Rather than ‘off the shelf’ solutions, local teams can tailor their service to your needs. When this is done well, your support technicians will feel like part of your in-house team. An IT provider that works solely with local businesses, allows much more flexibility in terms of response times, costs and support packages. It also allows you the freedom to choose the degree of support best for your business. Whether you need a full Outsourced IT Department, or Pay As You Go support, there is a great deal of comfort to be had in any emergency, however big or small, that their personal support is just around the corner. Look out for specialist services, such as Cloud IT and Office Move, based on your needs. Of course, if you are looking for an office move, there are huge benefits to be had from an IT support provider that has local connections and knowledge of the area.

2. Partnership approach

Good IT support is about more than just fixing things. An advantage of using local technicians is that it allows for a partnership approach. Local providers will take the time to build a personal relationship, so you’re more than just a number in a system. Focusing solely on the quickest or easiest solution can often lead to poor decision-making. When that happens to a local business, the news travels fast. In smaller IT businesses, their reputation is imperative, meaning that your success and ‘happiness’ gained from thorough positive and timely support is closely tied to theirs.

Maintaining transparency between IT support providers and clients, and building long term, trusting relationships is at the center of this. Does your current provider offer you an IT Roadmap? This allows you to plan, prioritise and budget an IT strategy for the future, in collaboration with them. As your strategy changes, so will your IT roadmap, so ensure that this is updated regularly, keeping communication open, and your provider aware of any changes to your IT infrastructure and future needs, that will guarantee long-term success

3. Human quality

Most large support companies offer helpdesk services during office hours. However, when you’re facing a Friday night deadline, the last thing you need is to get stuck with a helpdesk answering machine. Technologies such as Skype have made today’s remote services better than ever. However, when it comes to the crunch, they’re still no substitute for face-to-face communication. Local, smaller IT support providers place a far greater value on that personal touch, allowing trust to continually build with you, your dedicated account manager, and your team of technicians.

If you work with a local team they’ll always be close enough to offer around-the-clock, in-person support. When a crisis does occur, you’ll need a technician with not only the technical, but also the interpersonal skills to handle the situation. Before signing a contract with a new provider, take the time to know who it is you will be dealing with. Will you be passed around from one person to another, or will you have your own, dedicated account manager and support team who not only know you, but also your business?

4. Onsite visits

Many providers favour remote assistance, as it saves them the cost of sending out a technician. Whilst this may work for some issues, it’s important to have a support presence in-house whenever possible. Choosing to work with a local company makes it easy for their representatives to make onsite checks. Being nearby means you’ll also escape the ‘half day minimum’ travel fees, imposed by larger companies. If you only need a technician for a couple of hours, that’s all you’ll pay for. Regular visits also allow your IT support provider to keep up to date with your infrastructure and any changes to user accounts. As a result, you can take measures to prevent problems before they occur. If you’re considering working with a local IT support service, why not ask if they have other clients in your area? This will give you the opportunity to get a first-hand opinion of their service, before making a decision
There are a great many benefits to opting for local IT support. If you are choosing an IT support provider to work with, are they able to offer you the flexible choices, personal service and regular on-site support that your business needs to grow and adapt? Take our questionnaire to find out:

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