Poor IT support has a hidden cost whether you’re at work or home, and it’s a lot steeper than you might think.
Whether you’re a business owner who built your company from the ground up, work from home, or simply like playing games, you’ve probably had computer problems. Now, this could be software troubles, hardware failures, network problems, slowness, viruses – the list goes on. When this happens, there are two choices, try to figure out the problem yourself or call someone to help.
This is where things get tricky.
For just about everyone, cost is a consideration. Money matters, and we all want to make sure we get good value. Whether you’re paying for break-fix work by the hour or have a contract with an IT Support company, there is a price tag associated with it. But that’s only part of the cost we’re discussing in this article.
Price is Part of It
When considering IT support, business owners and home users focus on one thing – how much does it cost? The problem with this is that it leads to bad decisions.
When people need computer help, many first call a friend or relative who “knows computers.” This help is most often free but rarely fixes the overall problem and typically makes it worse, especially in small businesses. Sadly, this is the case with almost all inexpensive solutions. Whether it’s a friend or family member that’s a computer guru or the cheapest IT person in town, you’re probably not getting the quality service you think. Addressing issues this way is the equivalent of throwing a bucket of water on a burning building. It’s basically useless.
Getting quality computer support is about more than fixing the one issue. Addressing a single computer problem after it occurs is referred to as reactive support. This is okay for hardware failures, but software problems, network issues, slowness, and viruses very often result from other underlying problems. Having been in the IT field for more than two decades, I can tell you with confidence that when you’re having these types of computer problems, it’s rarely one thing that needs fixing.
And unless the underlying issues get fixed, that problem almost always returns.
To continue with the metaphor – contacting an IT support company, and better yet, contracting with an IT support company, doesn’t mean just bringing a hose to fight that fire. It’s about protecting the structure from ever catching fire in the first place. That’s how we approach IT support here at CLARK.
Put A Bandaid On It
Fixing problems one at a time without looking at the big picture, in the IT field, we call this a patchwork solution. They work great until they don’t, at which point IT costs begin to skyrocket.
This is what happens when you ask friends to help or randomly jump around to different support companies in search of the lowest possible price. One-off service calls will rarely be able to discover the source of the problem. To put it simply, it’s more cost-effective and easier to wipe the data on the computer and start over, suggest buying all-new equipment, or reinstall a program. This is the bandaid. When the problem returns, another quick fix is added that typically includes an inconvenience – such as a slow startup or doing things in a pattern. And then another. Before you know it, you have a Frankenstein-like mess that is full of inconveniences.
This hidden cost is a bottleneck to productivity. It kills motivation and most often leads to high costs for ongoing fixes and replacement. A professional IT support organization like CLARK will never let this happen.
No one likes to deal with grumpy, condescending, or unresponsive techs. Customer service is essential because no one wants to play the blame game – but that’s what you often get from the most inexpensive IT support in town. Too many organizations that offer poor services rely on having incredibly low prices for their business, which usually means getting to you when THEY have time and blaming users for problems.
Not only is this frustrating, but it makes you less likely to call for help. Putting up with problems that affect productivity or can lead to data loss and security breaches because of poor customer service is, unfortunately, a widespread problem in the IT field. And worse, these problems get underreported or ignored and can go on for years. When you or your employees try to resolve issues instead of calling for help, that is time lost.
In the IT industry, anyone can claim they provide support. We’ve all heard the term – you get what you pay for – and because we’re talking about services that most people don’t understand, it’s vital to be wary of the hidden costs of patchwork solutions and grumpy technicians.
But that’s not all.
Most IT support companies provide three types of services – contract, hourly, or by project. What differentiates poor services from quality services is not what they charge but how that time is used and what it includes. A quality IT support company is going to tell you precisely what you get regardless of the type of services, without nickel-and-diming other services on top of these. This is especially true of hourly and project work.
No one wants to pay high fees for any services, but then again no one goes for cheap fast food when they want a nice dinner. That’s why we think it’s important to provide fair prices while having the capability to hire the highest quality technicians.
A Final Word About Contracts
IT support contracts have always been popular with small businesses, but more and more home users are getting in on these. Part of this is due to the recent rise in work from home and more aggressive threats from cybercriminals. In addition, home networks are getting more complex, supporting multiple devices and the growing internet of things. Professional antivirus monitoring, cybersecurity, computer maintenance, and remote management options are services that everyone needs.
That’s how you know what you get for your money.
I’ve always had a love of working with technology, being fortunate enough to have grown up with a grandfather who taught me how to fix things for myself and not be afraid to jump in and get my hands dirty. Over the last three decades, I’ve worked as a technician, trainer, technical writer, and manager in small business, enterprise organizations, and government. In addition, I’m an author, having published multiple works available online and in print. You can find my creative work at https://WritingDistracted.com