What to ask when interviewing an IT support company

how to select the right London IT support provider checklist

Interviewing potential suppliers is a critical part of selecting the right IT support provider for your business. By meeting with various providers, your team can get a better sense of how they are organised, what services stand out, and if they fit with your needs.

Top 10 questions to ask to find the right IT support provider

So, there are a few key questions you should ask during initial meetings. Pedro Martins, Technical Director at totality services has recommended that the following 10 questions be asked:

1. Can you provide references?

This is by far the most important question you should be asking potential IT partners. When you eventually choose an IT support provider, you’re essentially handing them the keys to all your systems and data. Therefore, it would be an understatement to say that you need to be able to trust them. To ensure legitimacy and reliability, it’s fair to request around 5 references.

At totality services, we always ensure to provide references. This is simply because we believe our prospective clients should know the value of our service. However, openly sharing client testimonials can also help them understand how we work and clarify them about our process. Reading reviews online is another useful way to measure customer service when deciding who to go with. Check reliable review platforms such as Google, Trustpilot, or Feefo for more information.

2. How big is your company?

Generally, smaller IT support providers can offer a more personalised service for businesses. By getting to understand the workings of your company’s IT system, they can closely tailor services to you. They are also more likely to prioritise your business as you are more valuable to them.

On the other hand, a large IT support company might offer a wider variety of expertise, which a smaller provider lacks. Consider your requirements when weighing the pros and cons to help select the right IT provider for you.

You’ll also want to avoid one-man bands. Regardless of the size of your business, imagine the worst-case scenario where you’re experiencing severe downtime. If your IT man is on holiday or sick, there’s no one else available to pick up the pieces.

totality services is on the smaller end of the scale, as we have 9 permanent members of staff who help just over 50 London businesses. These clients range between 2 – 80 staff members.

3. Are you London based?

Although many IT services can be delivered remotely, it is important that setup, maintenance, and other on-site solutions are responded to in a timely manner. You wouldn’t want to wait days for a quick IT fix.

So, if your business is based in London, ensure you choose the right IT provider that’s based in London! It’s common sense, but you’d be surprised how many of our clients have used providers outside the M25 in the past.

For example, our office is Vauxhall based, but we cover the entire London area.

4. Do you offer proactive maintenance services?

Many IT support companies simply react to issues and solve them as they occur. Otherwise known as ‘break/fix’, these IT providers work fee-based, on a reactive basis. While this is ok for some, the reactive approach can be limiting when seeking comprehensive IT support coverage. They don’t proactively patch and upgrade key hardware items, such as routers and servers – which can be done remotely.

The proactive approach makes a huge difference, as your infrastructure and data are constantly monitored for threats. So, instead of waiting for an issue to occur, the right IT provider will ensure your systems are always secure. As a result, you’ll also experience much less downtime, which will contribute to increased productivity in your company.

With totality services IT support, proactive maintenance is included as a standard on all contracts. Every month we patch our clients’ hardware, and we inform them of what work was executed.

5. Do you have average response times for issues?

You should expect your support company to offer an average response time for any IT issue. This may vary depending on what level of support you’re willing to pay for. But overall, their average response time will tell you all you need to know about customer service.

Be wary of companies guaranteeing to resolve problems within a certain timeframe. This can be an unreliable source of intel as sometimes it takes much longer than expected to get to the root of problems.

6. Will we get a dedicated account manager?

It’s good to build a long-term relationship with your support company – you should view them as a department within your business. They will get to know in inner workings of your business as this allows them to see if your IT accommodates your goals.

An IT account manager will help establish and grow the strong relations between your business and their technical team. Therefore, it is reasonable for you to expect one or two permanent contacts that you can deal with.

7. How can we log IT issues with you?

The only thing worse than an IT problem is when you can’t get hold of your IT company to fix it. Make sure your support company has a dedicated customer support line with someone always available to answer. Other appropriate facilities include an online support request system or an email address that goes straight to the support team.

At totality services, our helpdesk team ensures there are always ways to immediately get in touch. Simply call, email, or raise issues online via our helpdesk software.

8. Do you supply hardware as well as support?

Even if you purchase all your own equipment, it’s still good to know that your support company can replace any faulty parts themselves, and quickly.

When it is time to replace your hardware, you may also feel better knowing your IT provider has recommended, supplied, and installed it. Therefore, you’re guaranteed a clear source of expertise in case something goes wrong.

At totality services, we provide hardware for the majority of our clients.

9. What does your IT support contract cover?

A support company that replies with “we cover it all” is not one we would recommend trusting. Typically, most support companies will cover the usual Microsoft Office suite of applications, server software, mailboxes, routers, etc. However, support for custom software that was built by another company is unlikely to be included.

You can find a list of all the key services included in our standard IT support contract here.

10. Do you work with specific hardware and software companies?

Variety can be good, but so can working with specific manufacturers. The right IT support provider will have relationships with the people who make the hardware and software that your business uses. This should help build confidence in your decision about selecting an IT support company you and other businesses can trust.

totality services is a Microsoft Certified Partner. This means our company works closely with Microsoft products throughout our support services. For example, our engineers are trained in setting up and migrating your systems to Microsoft 365.

Next steps

These questions are by no means exhaustive, but they will provide you with a good foundation when you interview potential IT providers. Remember that these are the people who may end up being trusted with your IT.

If you’d like to consider totality services as your potential IT support provider in London, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for any questions.