When you have invested a lot of money in IT for the workplace, the next step is identifying the company who is going to provide you with computer and overall IT support. This can be a lot trickier than it seems, since many of us just take it for granted the company we buy our IT equipment from will provide us with end to end support. However, in a lot of cases, they don’t, or quite simply, what they do offer is rubbish and much too pricey.

At the same time, too many companies make their computer support decision too quickly and end up hiring too small a support company to meet their requirements. Or, worst case, end up working with a business that is far too inexperienced and not as knowledgeable as they should be, especially in terms of keeping up with updates in technology.

A lot of businesses even make the mistake of just paying out fees each month without really knowing why or what they are paying for. In this economic climate, you simply can’t afford to waste money on services you’re either not making full use of, or quite simply, you’re being overcharged for.

Making sure you choose a reliable, qualified and experienced computer support company in the very first instance should help prevent you making such silly errors.

1. Checking the quality before signing on the dotted line

There are hundreds, probably thousands, of computer support companies out there to choose from; however, so many of these companies will not be suitable for your business. But, how do you find out who the reputable companies are, the ones who will provide you with nothing but a high quality service and ensure you don’t make the wrong decision?

The very first thing to do is research online. Make a list of all the local computer support companies and what is meant by local is within your county, not a 5 mile radius. Limiting yourself to a small radius is a sure way to guarantee you’ll end up with the wrong kind of computer support company. Next, check out their websites. If they don’t have an up-to-date, smooth running and nice looking website, cross them off your list.

Computer support companies don’t need to have the most impressive websites in the world but they do need to be functional and give you confidence in the company’s IT skills and capabilities. The website needs to give you confidence these people know what they are doing and that they are aware of the latest technological advances, as well as the best protection against the newest viruses.

When you have crossed a few off your list, give the other companies a call and do some more digging into their company online. Check feedback and online reviews to gain insight into how their customers feel about them, this will most definitely help you figure out the quality of the service they give and can provide you with.

2. Make sure you know what else is available

Doing the research in step 1 will give you a good idea about what else is available in your local area, however, you will need to go a little bit further. This means taking the time to fully appreciate what services each of the companies on your shortlist are offering and for what cost.

Make sure you know what the most important computer support services to your company are, for instance:

– Firewall installation

– Network setup and maintenance

– Virus and spyware protection and removal

– Hard drive and data recovery

– Software upgrades

– Website hosting

– Cloud storage

Most reputable computer support companies should be able to offer you most of, if not all, of the above. This is a good list to start out with and will give you something to compare prices against. There will always be some variation in pricing with computer support companies since they will be of different sizes and therefore have differing overhead costs, however, these price fluctuations should not vary too much if you have a set list of requirements.

When you are talking to each of the computer support companies, on your shortlist, about what you require, you need to ensure they disclose all prices and are very clear on what they are going to charge you each month/ overall. You need to get them to guarantee there will be no surprises, hidden charges or added extras.

3. Ensure you’re getting what you really need

It is really important to have a solid idea about what your company requires in terms of computer support. Not only because you need to make sure the support company you choose can actually provide you with the services needed but also so you are not swayed by companies offering you too much.

All companies will try to cross-sell, i.e. sell you over and above what you need. However, this doesn’t mean you should be fooled into buying what they’re selling. Have a firm list of what your company requires and really try not to waver from it. Unless the support company is giving you something for nothing, try to ignore their best salesman speeches.

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James writes for Quintech SAP Swindon. When not writing, he can often be found trying to convince everyone he knows that HE is the best computer support.