Warren Buffet famously said that it takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it.  If that’s still true, most businesses don’t hang around long enough to earn a reputation.

It doesn’t take quite 20 years anymore – tools such as online reviews have sped up that timeframe considerably. Unfortunately, they’ve also reduced the confidence you can have in a reputation.  Shady companies buy and sell five-star reviews like the rest of us buy stuff from Amazon.

If you’re hiring someone to take professional headshots, it might not make much sense to invest heavily beforehand in building a relationship of trust – after all, if the photos don’t turn out well, you can always get more taken next week.  But when you’re providing a company with access to your network – and all of the sensitive data on that network – trust is important.  It’s even more important when you’re trusting a company to ensure that same data’s confidentiality and availability.

Any company asking to manage your network should be willing to put in the time to earn your trust.  But there are a few signs that a company probably won’t earn that trust over the coming years.  Here are three of them.

Are They Always Selling?

Your accountant or lawyer probably hasn’t called to let you know they’re running a summer sale.  They also don’t reach out with a brand new solution to a problem you’ve never had.  When you’re dealing with high-level services like these, you expect them to take the time to learn about your business and to only offer services to meet your current and/or anticipated needs.

IT service providers aren’t any different.  If every interaction with a salesperson or account manager is an attempt to sell you their newest support service or piece of hardware, that’s a red flag.  Stable managed IT service providers don’t try to make monthly numbers with one-time sales or bolt-on contracts.  They earn revenue by providing consistent professional advice that reduces your business’s risk and helps it run more efficiently.  That means that most of the conversation shouldn’t be about their “solutions” – it should be about your needs.

Do They Want to Tie You Up?

If you’ve never done business with a company before, and they’re already offering you a discount for signing a multi-year contract, that’s a bad sign.  It means they’re confident that the contract they’re putting in front of you is so lucrative for them that they’ll take the business for as long as they can get it.

The reality is that it can take a few months to determine what the right fit is.  Maybe you don’t need something covered in the contract, or you need extra services.  Sometimes there isn’t a right fit at all – the provider just isn’t a good fit for the way your business operates.  If that turns out to be the case, neither business should want to be handcuffed to the other for years, or even months.  If you can’t build enough trust and confidence in your IT services provider to have a good relationship, they shouldn’t want you on the hook for a bad relationship.

Is the Offering Hollow?

You’ve probably run into the sales strategy where they inundate you with scary statistics and then try to close you before you have time to get your thoughts straight.  Four in ten businesses never open after a disaster!  The average cost of a ransomware attack on a business is $133,000!  The average cost of network downtime is $5,600 per minute!

The reality is that none of these statistics are accurate for the average small and mid-size business.  But once they’ve convinced you that you have a problem, they start pushing solutions.  The problem is that while they tell you they’re going to fix your problem, and talk about their service in generalities, they don’t really tell you what they’re actually going to do for you.  Here are a few examples:

•     A managed IT service provider says they are protecting your network – but are they just pushing patches or are they auditing the security posture periodically?
•     They claim they’re backing up your data daily – but how often are they checking to make sure those automated backups are occurring, and that drive image backups boot correctly?
•     They say they respond to helpdesk requests within hours – but is that response just assigning the problem, or fixing it? How long do simple problems stay open for days, unresolved, because nobody is pushing them on the issue?

For something as important as IT services support, you really want to understand what you’re buying.  And the provider shouldn’t want to obfuscate that or bury it in the fine print. They should want you to know it, and want to make sure that you’re going to be satisfied with the level of service they provide before you sign any contracts.

To learn how WingSwept helps companies get better results from their technology, call us at 919-779-0954 or email us at Team_WingSwept@WingSwept.com.


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