When working with a managed service provider, you expect the best. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it. You want your technology to work – period. You deserve excellent client service every time you pick up the phone. You expect to work with experts who are at the top of their game, who know what needs to be done and just do it. You want someone to assume responsibility for your company’s IT needs – to monitor it, manage it and proactively fix any potential problems. And you don’t want to have to hassle over costs every time you need IT help.
So what questions should you ask to ensure your company receives these results from a firm that offers managed IT services? Inc. Magazine came up with roughly 14 questions that you can ask a prospective MSP, and below are five of the more compelling items from their list and our responses:
1. Who are five client references that I can speak with? What is your turnover in staff?
There’s no better predictor of what it’s like to work with a managed service provider than happy clients and staff. We definitely suggest you speak directly with our clients, both new and old, as well as within and outside of your industry.
Concept Technology has a 98% client retention rate and we’re fortunate enough to have clients that publicly express their satisfaction. Our customer service ratings have helped us strengthen our position as the most reliable and results-driven IT company in Middle Tennessee.
“Concept Technology has been extremely responsive, and quickly resolves any issues. From a dependability scale, they are a 10.”
–Tom Stewart, Principal at Partners Healthcare Group (Client Since 2013)
Once you connect with clients, you should then focus on employees. Happy staff directly correlates to quality service (check out Glassdoor for employee reviews). As you can see from our Glassdoor page, we’ve achieved a very high level of employee satisfaction (4.8 out of 5 stars). We’re home to the best IT specialists in Nashville because we’ve created the best work environment and have a 10-point hiring process. Moreover, we’ve been recognized nationally by Fortune, Inc., and Entrepreneur, as well as locally by The Tennessean and Nashville Business Journal for our top-notch workplace, fast and organic growth and company leadership.
“The best company I have ever worked for.”
“Everyone at Concept Technology cares.”
– Glassdoor Reviews
2. Are your client references invested in the MSP?
Since 2003, Concept Technology has been independently owned and operated. By design, we have no outside investors. We answer to our clients and not a board of venture capitalists. Therefore we’re able to spend more on our employees and the service they provide. With outside investors we couldn’t do things to attract the best staff such as provide catered team breakfasts or host “Beer Fridays.” So ask a prospective managed service provider about their financial structure. Are they beholden to clients or investors? And ask yourself, do you really want to hire a company whose top decision makers are more focused on their own financial returns than client and employee satisfaction?
3. If things don’t work out well, what is your policy for my getting out of the contract?
On average, managed service providers want you to commit to a minimum of three years. All of our competitors require long-term contracts, and most will say that without a multi-year agreement they’ll be unable to plan ahead or offer great service. We think you’re smart enough to see through that faulty logic.
Concept Technology does not require term contracts because we want to earn your business each and every month. We’re so confident in our ability to delight you (see again: 98% client retention rate!), that there’s simply no need to lock you in. And not having a term agreement certainly doesn’t inhibit our ability to strategically plan for your future or provide exceptional service. In fact, we work harder for you because we refuse to rely on a long-term contract as a crutch.
Next, if you aren’t happy with service after the first month, we won’t hold you or your data hostage. Conversely, competitors offer buyout clauses that require you to: cover the cost, in full, of all supplied hardware, and pay a cancellation penalty and the rest of the service for the year. Hardware alone could be six figures… Yikes! And even if you do pay up, good luck getting your passwords.
4. Can I see your facilities? (In other words, do you have Nashville-based staff and enough available resources for my business?)
We understand you need to be confident that your IT needs will be handled expertly and efficiently every time. To see first-hand how Concept Technology can work for you, we welcome walk-in visits to our office in Germantown. We also encourage you to take our virtual office tour.
With 40+ technical support specialists at Concept Technology, our in-house helpdesk is the largest amongst MSPs in Nashville. We provide unlimited helpdesk and onsite service. You need us – we’re there. Done.
As for workflow, when you call our office during business hours a live person answers the phone (Go ahead, try it! 615.321.6428). About 76% of all tickets get resolved with the person that picks up the phone. Plus, our average service ticket response time is mere minutes. Most competitors take hours to start actively working on your problem. Each of our clients have a multi-person team assigned to them, not just one tech. So we certainly recommend you inquire about what your service team looks like.
You’ll definitely want to avoid companies that outsource their helpdesk or don’t proactively conduct onsite maintenance. There’s only so much service that can be done remotely, and regular office visits mean that your physical environment will be considered for potential IT threats and opportunities. At Concept Technology, we have the resources to be proactive and not reactive. We work to identify and rectify problems before you even know they exist. That eliminates unexpected downtime and any associated costs.
5. What is your financial status and stability?
Because managed service providers are essentially an extension of your business, it’s important to partner with one that is growing. We’ve seen that most MSPs get “comfortable” and simply tread water. A complacent business outlook will affect employee turnover and ultimately the service you receive.
2015 marked Concept Technology’s fifth year in a row as Inc. 5000 members. We also hired 21 new employees and earned 23% more core clients. Concept Technology’s trajectory is nothing short of astronomical, and much of that can be attributed to our perpetual commitment to perfecting our business model. As the demands of our clients and prospective clients shift, we’re not afraid to adjust our model to best fit their needs.
For instance, we’ve implemented fixed-price invoicing that ensures our clients get the service and expertise they’ve come to expect without worrying about the “running meter” of hourly pricing. In fact, clients experience all their current services plus increased access to support and new products at the price they’re used to.
What other questions do you think are important to ask a managed service provider? Let us know by sending a message or filling out the form below.