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Posted by Marketing | February 14, 2014

Top Mistakes IT Service Providers (Even Us) Make

Like this dog in a line up even IT providers make mistakesThere are a number of mistakes IT service providers make, some of which we ourselves have made.

You may be thinking “why would they point out mistakes they have made in the past?”

We can’t claim to be committed to learning and improvement if we don’t recognize when we make mistakes.

Learning how we can overcome or prevent weaknesses make us a better service provider.

1.    An Off Client to Service Team Ratio

Growing IT service providers commonly find they suddenly don’t have enough service staff to support clients effectively.

Clients become disgruntled with long wait times and delays in ticket resolution. Technicians get burned out from long hours, and because they are tired, they are not working as smart or efficiently.

Due to an influx in new clients, a poor hiring market and loss of a couple service members, we have made this mistake in the past.

How to Prevent Re-occurrence

In order to effectively support our clients having the right number of quality technicians is essential. Our hiring process is rigorous and time consuming, so we must continuously recruit and hire to keep up with our growth.

2.    Being Too Sales Focused

Most IT service providers are sales driven. Which means they may sell you something you don’t need. They may not understand your business and recommend something that will not solve your problem. The solution may make the problem worse.  We also receive many prospect calls from business owners or office managers explaining a provider did not deliver the solution they sold.

We have always believed if we provide excellent service the business will come and less sales driven. However, we have been too eager to deliver new technology resulting in mistakes. We get excited about new technology, especially if it is something we think will help our clients. In the past, we have sold products that didn’t have all the bugs worked out.

How to Prevent Re-occurrence

To ensure we don’t make this mistake, we strive to thoroughly test and use our technology in house before selling it to clients.

3.    Lack of Communication

Managed services is about building long-term relationships between the client and the provider. The most important skill required to create a good relationship is communication.

As you would expect clients, are upset when things go wrong and the provider does not communicate. But providers often don’t communicate when things go well. Watch out for the stealth engineer who sneaks in and solves a lot of problems and sneaks out!

Another common communication error is failing to explain when things fall outside of the scope of agreement. For example, a lot of our agreements include day-to-day work in one monthly fee, but if a client needs a new server, that is a project and needs to be billed outside the agreement.

We have mistakenly performed work that was out of scope and clients were understandably upset when they received an invoice. In response, we absorbed the cost because we believed it wasn’t fair for our clients to pay for something we didn’t communicate well.

How to Prevent Re-occurrence

To prevent this mistake, we require projects be paid for before completion to ensure the additional fee is understood. We also are moving clients to more inclusive service plans, resulting in less out of scope work.

4.    Failure to Identify Communication Preferences

Part of establishing relationships with clients is adapting the communication frequency and style. Some clients prefer zero communication, and others want to know every detail. Where one client is irritated by emails, the other one is asking for more information. Some clients want to cover logistics quickly, and others enjoy taking the time to make a personal connection.

IT providers make the mistake of not correcting a poor match-up between client and account manager.

We have done an excellent job ensuring we hire adaptable technicians, however communication preference is sometimes not as easily identified.

How to Prevent Reoccurrence

To prevent a delay in taking action, a member outside the service team follows up with new clients after 30 days. We also have ongoing business reviews so upper management can better gauge if communication preferences are being practiced.

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Lori-Mankin1 Lori Mankin, Marketing Coordinator

Our goal for this blog is to answer the questions you ask. If you have any questions about IT providers or any other topic please email me at lori@myitpros.com. To learn more about IT subscribe to our blog.

 

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Tags » How to Find an IT Service Provider, IT errors, IT mistakes, IT provider mistakes, Managed IT Services, Tech Tips, Top IT mistakes