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7 Ways ‘Cheaper-Priced’ IT Firms Hide the True Cost of IT Services

Education and the exchange of ideas are vital in IT. That’s why I frequently attend everything from group discussions to seminars with my peers. Through helping and learning from many other IT business owners, I’ve seen a wide range of support plan offerings, with the most concerning being those that prioritize costs over everything else. In this article, I will spotlight seven ways cost-focused IT firms hide the true costs of IT in their offerings, aiming to save you from an expensive relationship and unpleasant surprises.

Exclusion of key service
You are not the expert, so assuming that basics such as backups are included—or not even thinking to ask about them—is understandable. As experts, we are supposed to include such essentials in our plans by default. Discovering your plan didn’t include it during a crisis is never pleasant and can severely harm your business.

No oversight
We all know labor is expensive. To save money, some IT firms simply don’t monitor anything or take action until a client reports an issue. With technology, things can randomly break for no apparent reason, and you may not notice for quite some time. Realizing your incredible anti-virus has simply been off or has not received updates for days could easily defeat its purpose and leave you very vulnerable. When was the last time you automatically lost weight simply by purchasing exercise equipment? Instead of the services themselves, the true value should reside in the management and oversight of their effectiveness.

Cheap products
When it comes to selecting software, like anti-virus or email security, integrated into support plans, the options are vast. Monthly licensing costs for these products can range from a few cents per user to over $100. However, simply opting for the cheapest or most expensive choice does not necessarily yield the best results. Your business operations are directly impacted by these products. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider not only the cost but also the effectiveness of these services, their user-friendliness for clients, and the capabilities they provide for monitoring and management. These factors should all be part of the evaluation process for IT firms when assessing such services.

Lack of experience
A lower hourly rate does not necessarily equate to savings if it takes twice as long to complete tasks. Even when support is included in the plan, a lack of experience often results in a consistently poor user experience. I have encountered numerous instances where new clients shared accounts of their team members resorting to Google for assistance to avoid the inconvenience of dealing with an inexperienced support team from their past. An experienced team will have a tremendous impact on your team’s overall experience.

Underpaid & underequipped support team
One common approach to offering cheap prices is hiring underqualified technicians from overseas. This rotating selection of low-budget support agents often struggles to become familiar with your team’s workflow or comprehend your challenges, let alone communicate effectively. Their lack of access to tools, disconnection from the company culture, inadequate training, and the language barrier collectively contribute to a subpar experience.

Ambiguous ‘Fair Usage’ Policies
The ‘all-you-can-eat’ approach is not a sustainable business model in any industry. Budget IT firms often use fair usage policies to hide various overages and add-ons that aren’t easily noticeable on paper. Others make commitments they cannot fulfill, resulting in a daily struggle for both parties. Without comprehensive planning and clear definitions by the IT company, there will always be compromises somewhere along the line.

No consistency
While it’s expected by inexperienced IT firms it is also a commonly observed pattern with many large IT support firms. Ensuring the right people are hired, adequately trained, regularly monitored, and consistently aligned with the mission statement and company culture becomes a formidable challenge. As IT firms expand, internal disconnects tend to emerge, resulting in a blend of both positive and negative experiences. Additionally, larger IT support firms tend to heavily prioritize sales and profits to sustain growth. Unfortunately, this can lead to financially driven decisions that impact the overall consistency of the client experience.

Naturally, the quest for cost-effective IT solutions is a common inclination, particularly in the absence of alternative value propositions or points of reference. Businesses often hesitate to switch IT providers, largely due to the lack of preparedness exhibited by many IT firms, leading to painful transitions. Unfortunately, many business owners resign themselves to dissatisfying relationships, choosing to deal with the familiar albeit unsavory option. Yet, fostering a genuine partnership with your IT provider can wield significant influence over your business’s trajectory. While cost is undeniably a factor in selecting the right IT partner, it should not be the sole or primary determinant. Invest time to look beyond the sales pitch, delving into the very fabric of the IT firm’s culture. Pose inquiries about where their partnership could contribute value to your business. Surround yourself with individuals you can confide in, and ultimately, allow your instincts to guide your decision-making.

– Burak Sarac, Team Lead

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