The 4 Most Costly Misconceptions About Managed IT Services and Computer Maintenance and Repair
Misconception #1: My computer network doesn’t need regular monitoring and maintenance.
This is probably one of the biggest and most costly misconception that business owners have. Usually this is because they‘ve been fortunate enough to never have encountered a major disaster; but that‘s similar to someone thinking they don‘t need to wear a seat belt when driving a car because they‘ve never had an accident.
Computer networks are complex and dynamic systems that need regular updates and maintenance to stay up, running fast and problem free. In fact, it‘s surprising how fast a brand-new PC will slow down after a few weeks of use without proper updates and maintenance.
Here are just a FEW of the critical updates that need to be done on a weekly – if not daily – basis:
- Security patches applied – with NEW viruses and hacker attacks cropping up DAILY, this is a CRITICAL part of maintaining your network.
- Antivirus updates and monitoring
- Firewall updates and monitoring
- Backup monitoring and test restores
- Spam filter installation and updates
- Spyware detection and removal
- Monitoring disk space on workstations and servers
- Monitoring hardware for signs of failure
- Optimizing systems for maximum speed
Just like a car, if you don‘t change the oil, replace the filter, rotate the tires, flush the transmission, and perform other regular maintenance on your car, it will eventually break down and cost you FAR MORE to repair than the cost of the basic maintenance – and cars are far simpler than a computer network!
If your computer support tech does not insist on some type of regular, automated monitoring or maintenance of your network, then DO NOT HIRE THEM. Lack of system maintenance is the NUMBER ONE reason most people end up losing valuable files and incurring heavy computer repair bills. If your technician isn‘t offering you these services, you need to find someone else to support your computer or network for two reasons:
- Either they don‘t know enough to make this recommendation, which is a sure sign they are horribly inexperienced, OR
- They recognize that they are profiting from your computer problems and don‘t want to recommend steps towards preventing you from needing their help on an ongoing basis. After all, they‘ll get paid MORE to remove a virus than to make sure your system is patched, updated and secured (which can be done quickly and inexpensively with good monitoring). Either reason is a good one to get as far away from that person as possible!
Misconception #2: My nephew/neighbor’s kid/brother-in-law/office manager knows this computer stuff and can take care of our computers.
Most people look for a part time ―guru‖ for one reason: to save a few bucks; but this often comes back to haunt them. We frequently get calls from business owners who desperately need our help to get them back up and running or to clean up a mess that was caused by an inexperienced neighbor, friend, or relative who was just trying to help. If the person you have working on your machine does not do computer repair and support for a living, there is a good chance they won‘t have the knowledge or experience to truly help you – they are a hobbyist at best. And do you really want a part-time, inexperienced person responsible for handling something as important as your data and computer network? As with everything in life, you get what you pay for. That‘s not to say you need to go broke to find a great technician, but you shouldn‘t be choosing someone on price alone.
Misconception #3: All computer technicians are created equal. Your best option will be the one who offers the lowest price.
As I always state to all my prospect customers, you get what you pay for. A cheap price usually means a cheap job. Really good technicians do NOT work cheap because they are in high demand just like every other professional service category. The only technicians that will work cheap are those that are just starting and they are grossly inexperienced. And some shops will hire college kids or newbie technicians because they will work for next to nothing to gain experience, OR they allow interns to support your network because they don‘t have to pay them at all – but what you don‘t realize is than an inexperienced technician like this can end up costing more because:
- They improperly diagnose problems, which mean you‘re paying them to fix the WRONG thing and STILL won‘t resolve your problem.
- They could take 3 to 5 times as long to do the same repair an experienced technician could fix quickly. Again, you‘re paying for those extra hours.
- They could do MORE damage, costing you more money and downtime. With your client data, accounting records, e-mail and other critical data at stake, do you REALLY want the lowest-priced shop working on your machine? We take the view that most people want value for money and simply want the job done right. You will find that we are not the cheapest, but we don‘t apologize for that. As the owner, I decided a long time ago that I would rather explain our higher rates ONE TIME than to make excuses for POOR SERVICE forever. That said, weren‘t not the most expensive either. We simply feel that we should offer a good service at a fair price.
Misconception #4: An honest computer support company should be able to give you a quote over the phone.
I wish this were true, but it isn‘t. Just like a good doctor, an honest and professional technician will need to diagnose your network before they can quote any price over the phone; consider the example above where all was needed was a simple cable being plugged in. If someone brought that to us, we would just plug it back in and not charge them; but without SEEING the machine, we could have never diagnosed that over the phone. Also, some consultants will quote you a cheap rate over the phone to get in the door, but then jack up the prices once they get in your office by taking 3 times as long, selling you add-ons and up-sells, etc. And finally, reputable firms don‘t charge by the hour anyway — they give you a fixed fix, flat rate. Here‘s why… One of the easiest ways to take advantage of a customer is to get them to agree to a time and materials repair. Unless you know what‘s wrong and how long it should take, they can soak you on the fees. And what are you going to do when they get 5-6 hours into a repair or project and then spring on you the news that it will take even longer than they anticipated to fix, costing you MORE money?
Frequently Asked Questions
How is your company different from all the other tech consultants?
Our concern lies with you. Experience has repeatedly proven that our business’ success is a direct by-product of treating you with respect, focusing like crazy on improving your profitability and productivity, taking care of your business so well that you can’t help but tell your colleagues and friends about what we do, and doing the things we teach and recommend to our clients.
I’m planning on doing some strategic planning for my Business. Would you be willing to sit down and talk with me about that? How does your process work?
Absolutely, in fact, we encourage it. Technology is an important part of almost every organization’s long-term strategic planning and it’s what we’ve done for years. In addition, we specialize in helping businesses improve their efficiency and marketing with measurable results. As for the process, I use some standard and not-so-standard approaches, including SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and additional interactive processes to draw out what SWOT might not tell us.
My budget is only __________. What we can do to make a difference in my business?
Many of the obstacles we see in a business tend to be resolved by simple procedure changes. Larger “step changes” often occur when I include technology into a solution, but there are many inexpensive steps a company can implement that will make a substantial difference in the bottom line. The best part of these changes is that they often provide you with the extra time and/or cash flow to make more substantial changes, and the whole thing feeds just keeps feeding upon its own success.
Do you answer phones live or do you always have to leave a voice mail and wait for someone to call us back?
We answer our phones live from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Arizona Time and give all clients an emergency after hours number they may call if a problem arises, including weekends. Why? Because many of the CEOs and executives we support work outside normal hours and find it to be the most productive time they have. If they cannot access their computer network AND can‘t get hold of anyone to help them, it‘s incredibly frustrating.
Do you take the time to explain what you are doing and answer our questions in terms that we can understand (not geek-speak), or do they come across arrogant and make you feel stupid for asking simple questions?
Our technicians are trained to have the heart of a teacher‘ and will take time to answer your questions and explain everything in simple terms.
Do you consistently (and proactively) offer new ways to improve our network’s performance, or do you wait until you have a problem to make recommendations?
We conduct quarterly review meetings with our clients to look for new ways to help improve their operations, lower costs, increase efficiencies and resolve any problems that may be arising. Our goal is help our clients be more profitable, efficient and competitive with these meetings.
Do you insist on remotely monitoring our network 24-7-356 to keep critical security settings, virus definitions and security patches up-to-date and PREVENT problems from turning into downtime, viruses, lost data and other issues?
Yes; our remote network monitoring system watches over your network to constantly look for developing problems, security issues and other problems so we can address them BEFORE they turn into bigger problems.
Do you INSIST on monitoring an offsite as well as an onsite backup, or are you letting us rely on tape backups?
We do not allow our clients to use tape backups because they are incredibly unreliable. We make sure all of our clients have our Recover-IT light or Recover-IT Enterprise solution with instant bare metal restore, business continuity protection, and offsite data capability. Our motto is: There is No Time For Downtime.
Are you familiar with (and can they support) our unique line of business applications?
We own the problems with all line of business applications for our clients. That doesn‘t mean we can fix faulty software – but we WILL be the liaison between you and your vendor to resolve problems you are having and make sure these applications work smoothly for you.
When something goes wrong with our Internet service, printers or other IT services, do you own the problem or do you just say “that’s not our problem to fix?”
We feel WE should own the problem for our clients so they don‘t have to try and resolve any of these issues on their own – that‘s just plain old good service and something many computer guys won‘t do.