We recently wrote a blog explaining that it might be easier to move IT Support Provider than you might initially think. But what if you move provider and the experience isn’t good? Say the service is poor. Or it’s not quite what you expected. What if we don’t get along?
Sometimes in life people just don’t get along. Personality clashes happen. It may be individuals, it may be whole companies and ways of working that don’t gel. With any service you’re not going to 100%, absolutely know it’s right for you until you start to use it.
Whether it’s IT support or anything else there is always a danger that the sales pitch is the best bit! You get a slick presentation and a lot of promises, but the service just doesn’t deliver. But you’ve made the switch, signed a contract and are now concerned you’re going to have to suffer with a service that’s not for you for years to come.
Trying To Avoid A Mistake
There are things you can do to try and avoid the mistake. We’ve produced an entire article on how to Choose The Right IT Support Provider.
Set out some criteria – knowing what you want is always useful!
Do some online research – there are a lot of providers. Don’t pick the first 3 from Google as your shortlist (even though that will usually contain us!). Look at the websites of 10-15 providers – Google has a page 2!
Shortlist and Meet – meet with 3-4 providers.
Meet multiple staff, ideally go them – Don’t just meet with the Sales person, ask to meet engineers, Managers or Directors. Get to know the business. Ideally go to their site.
Take your time – Don’t rush your decision.
Understand your contract – Make sure it’s a length you’re comfortable with and that it has break clauses.
What Happens If We Don’t Get Along?
Your due diligence at the selection stage should mean your change, or first engagement of, IT Support provider is successful. If it’s not:
Communicate – as soon as you’re uncomfortable, or a staff member raises a concern, tell the provider. They’ll do everything they can to rectify it.
Meet – A good provider will ensure your Account Manager sees you at least once post onboarding and again before the initial 3 months is up. Again, voice any concerns. Embrace working in partnership.
Don’t be afraid to tell them it’s not working – be aware of break clauses and dates. Miss a break clause and you could be stuck.
Be brave – 3 months is long enough to know a long term partnership is not going to work. Don’t be afraid to say ‘It’s just not working’ and move to another provider.
A good provider will want to try and put things right but will also accept your decision and not make things difficult. They should provide a professional handover to whoever you want to move to and be contactable throughout the process.
You will probably have had a second choice in your original selection process so you won’t need to start again. But you may prefer to. Once you’ve decided put the two providers in touch and let your new IT team take some of the strain.
Learn from their mistakes (and your own) – The bad experience should be a learning experience. Maybe it is an opportunity to hone your original checklist? Or to re-asses what it is you want from the provider?
Think of the decision as like pulling off a plaster. Done quickly it hurts for a short space of time and then is fine. But done slowly, over a long time period, it’s much more painful for a lot longer!
What Happens When It Goes Wrong
A prospect of ours decided to go with an alternative provider. They preferred their approach during the pitch. We wanted to take over support, work with the company and then propose a new solution. Our rival pitched a new solution with support. Our rival more closely followed the brief. We thought the brief was wrong and proposed something different. It was a risk and we lost!
6 months later the company came back to us and felt they’d made a mistake. They felt our original approach may have been better. The solution our rival had put in was a straightforward replacement for what was already there. This hadn’t moved the business forward. They wanted to move to us. But they were tied into a 12-month contract. They tried to extract themselves, but it was a ‘good’ contract, and they couldn’t get out without financial penalties. As you can imagine the service from the other provider was not exactly top notch for the next few months following those conversations.
Eventually they were able to give notice and this client has now been with us for a year. Things are good and they are happy. They also now have a 3-month rolling contract. This gives them piece of mind, and keeps us on our toes!
It Happens To Us Too!
We’ve had a situation where we took on a client, we made a mistake in our first few weeks with a backup solution. We rectified it; no data was lost but the trust had gone. The client was on a 3-month rolling contract and we spent the last month handing over to another provider. Mistakes happen. We are only human and you know we’d be lying if we said we’d never had a client leave. What we try to do is make that process easy, and try not to burn any bridges. We’re always learning and improving, there may be an opportunity to prove that to this particular client in the future.
In another case we took on a client and almost immediately had a stinging verbal attack on a member of staff from the MD. He’d not been involved in the sales process but had signed off on the deal. Over the next 2-3 weeks more angry outbursts over minor issues made us realise why he’d not been involved earlier! At the end of month 1 we politely served notice (which was met with an extremely sweary response) and handed over to the next victim, sorry I mean Provider!
Switching, then switching again is not ideal
But it is doable. If you do the due diligence you shouldn’t have to, but fear of what happens if we don’t get along should not prevent you making a change if you are unhappy with your existing provider.