Complex Long-Term Contracts No Guarantee of Customer Service
Our article last week was about the plethora of call centre companies (many of which are based off shore) wanting to take your money in exchange for looking after your computer – and the dubious worth of these schemes. This was particularly relevant to home users and private PC’s. This week we are going to look into IT service from a business point of view.
Many local and Southern IT companies are offering to support your network with different packages and options, normally signed up over a two year contract. This should be a good idea – your network is getting looked after and with a constant monthly fee, you should also be able to better budget for your IT maintenance. However, in many of the situations that we come across this is not the case. We see instances where the IT contract is more complex than a Commonwealth Royal Commission report and the customer is still getting billed separately for all manner of ‘extras’.
We have also seen local businesses tie themselves to a 2 year IT contract only to have the IT Company mostly sit on their hands until the last few months – whereby they then put in a large effort in the hope of the customer resigning. Does this sound reminiscent of a political party throwing money around just before an election? I believe you should stick with an IT company because they are looking after you every month – not because of a paper contract. We offer simple monthly contracts to local businesses for this very reason.
Some large local firms have gone to a Brisbane IT company for support, so is this any better? In short – I don’t believe so. Shop rent in Brisbane is dearer than here & on average; technician’s wages are greater as well. These expenses still have to be covered which does not really equate into value for you. In fact we have been reversing this trend and now have large Brisbane Accounting and Legal firms amongst the customers that we support from Rockhampton. We are also seeing local companies come back to having local support after dealing with a Brisbane company for a 2 year stint.
Do you need to have a contract at all? This is often called going with ‘break-fix’ whereby you only call someone when you have a problem and then just pay for it to be sorted. The results of polling many local IT companies suggests that if you have an IT problem and you don’t have a contract with them, then you are at the bottom of their priority list and they will get to you ‘when they find time’. This is not a good response and I would suggest that if they are not responding in a timely manner which reflects the severity of the problem then they need more technicians – or you need to go elsewhere.
If your server is down, then you should have someone responding within 30 minutes to your problems, if it is a workstation problem then you should still be getting a same day response – with or without a signed contract.
Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.
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