HIRING AN HONEST, COMPETENT,RESPONSIVE AND
FAIRLY PRICED CONSULTANT
21 questions you should ask any computer consultant before giving them access to your company’s network
ABOUT THIS GUIDE
Here’s an embarrassing (and little known) fact about our industry: it is not regulated like many other professional service industries, which means ANYONE can claim they
are a “computer repair expert.” Automotive repair shops, electricians, plumbers, lawyers, realtors, dentists, doctors, accountants, etc., are heavily regulated to protect the consumer from receiving substandard work or getting ripped off. This is why it’s so important for you to arm yourself with the information contained in this guide.
Anyone who can hang out a shingle can promote themselves as a computer expert. Even if they are honestly trying to do a good job for you, their inexperience can cost you dearly in your network’s speed and performance or in lost or corrupt data files.
That is why we decided to offer this report. The information in this guide is provided to help raise standards within the computer repair and support industry, and to give YOU useful information to help you guard against the lack of ethics or incompetence of some companies and technicians.
1. Do they answer their phones live or do you always have to leave a voice mail and wait for someone to call you back?
We answer our phones live from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and can be reached for emergencies after-hours, including on weekends. Why? Because many of the CEOs and executives we support work outside normal hours and find that it is 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.
2. Do they have a written, guaranteed response time to your calls?
We guarantee to have a technician working on a problem within 2 hours or less of your call. This is written into every service agreement we give to our clients because it’s standard procedure.
3. Do they take the time to explain what they are doing and answer your questions in terms that you can understand (not geek-speak), or do they come across as arrogant and make you feel stupid for asking simple questions?
Our Answer: 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.
4. Do they consistently (and proactively) offer new ways to improve your network’s performance, or do they wait until you have a problem to make recommendations?
Our Answer: 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 with these meetings is to help our clients bemore profitable, efficient and competitive.
5. Do they provide detailed invoices that clearly explain what you are paying for?
Our Answer: We provide detailed invoices that show what work was done, why and when, so you never have to guess what you are paying for. We also double-check our invoices for accuracy before they are sent to you.
6. Do they have adequate errors and omissions insurance as well as workers’ compensation insurance to protect YOU?
Our Answer: Here’s something to consider: if THEY cause a problem with your network that causes you to be down for hours or days or to lose data, who’s responsible? Here’s another question to consider: if one of their technicians gets hurt at your office, who’s paying? In this litigious society we live in, you better make darn sure whomever you hire is adequately insured with both errors and omissions insurance AND workers’ compensation – and don’t be shy about asking to see their latest insurance policies!
7. Do they provide detailed information about hardware specifications and labor prices before starting a project?
Our Answer: Yes, when we spec out a proposed project solution we give a spec sheet that details the specifics of hardware, software, and licensing before a project starts. We also give an estimate on the time it will take to finish a project, as well as our labor rate.
MAINTENANCE OF YOUR NETWORK
8. Do they insist on remotely monitoring your network 24/7/365 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?
Our Answer: 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.
9. Do they provide you with a monthly report that shows all the updates, security patches and the status of every machine on your network so yu know for SURE your systems have been secured and updated?
Our Answer: Every month, our clients get a detailed report that shows an overall health score of their network and the updates to their antivirus, security settings, patches and other important network checks (like hard-drive space, backups, speed and performance, etc.).
10. Is it standard procedure for them to provide you with written network documentation detailing what software licenses you own, critical passwords, user information, hardware inventory, etc., or are they the only person with the “keys to the kingdom”?
Our Answer: All clients receive this information, upon request, at no additional cost. We can make sure that your key people in your organization have this information and know how to use it, giving you complete control over your network.
11. Do they have other technicians on staff who are familiar with your network in case your regular technician goes on vacation or gets sick?
Our Answer: Yes, we have multiple technicians who work with multiple clients. If any of our technicians are not available for some reason, we always have another technician who can pick up where they left off.
12. When they offer an “all-inclusive” support plan, is it TRULY all-inclusive, or are their “gotchas” hidden in the fine print?
Our Answer: Our support plans are customized to meet the needs of the client. HOWEVER, make sure you REALLY understand what is and isn’t included. Some things to consider are:
BACKUP AND DISASTER RECOVERY
13. Do they INSIST on monitoring an off-site as well as on-site backup, or are they letting you rely on outdated tape backups?
Our Answer: We make sure all of our clients have a hybrid local and cloud backup solution in order to ensure speedy recovery from any type of disaster or data loss.
14. Do they INSIST on doing periodic test restores of your backups to make sure the data is not corrupt and could be restored in the event of a disaster?
Our Answer: We perform a test restore from backup for our clients to make sure their data CAN be recovered in the event of an emergency. After all, the WORST time to “test” a backup is when you desperately need it.
15. Do they insist on backing up your network BEFORE performing any type of project or upgrade?
Our Answer: We do; and that’s simply as a precaution in case a hardware failure or software glitch causes a major problem.
16. If you were to experience a major disaster, do they have a written plan for how your data could be restored FAST and/or one that enables you to work from a remote location?
Our Answer: Upon request, our clients can receive a simple disaster recovery plan for their data and network. At a minimum, their network will be covered should something happen.
17. Is their help desk local or outsourced to an overseas company or third party?
Our Answer: We provide our own in-house help desk and make sure the folks helping you are friendly and helpful. We consider this one of the most important aspects of customer service, plus we feel it’s important for keeping your data secure.
18. Do their technicians maintain current vendor certifications and participate in ongoing training – or are they learning on your dime?
Our Answer: Our technicians are all up-to-date on their certifications in all the software we support.
19. Do their technicians arrive on time and dress professionally?
Our Answer: Our technicians are true professionals that you would be proud to have in your office. They dress professionally, show up on time, and if they cannot (for some odd, unforeseen reason), we always notify the client immediately. We believe these are minimum requirements for delivering a professional service.
20. Are they familiar with (and can they support) your unique line-of-business applications?
Our Answer: 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.
21. When something goes wrong with your internet service, phone systems, printers or other IT services, do they own the problem or do they say, “that’s not our problem to fix”?
Our Answer: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.
A FINAL WORD
I hope you have found this guide to be helpful in shedding some light on what to look for when outsourcing the support of your company’s network. As we stated in the opening of this report, our purpose in providing this information was to help you make an informed decision and avoid getting burned by the many firms struggling to offer these services.
If you have any additional comments or questions, we welcome them! Have an idea to make this guide even more helpful? Let us know! And, of course, if you are looking for someone you can trust to take over the care and maintenance of “all things digital” in your office, we’d love the opportunity to EARN your business.
This is why we would like to offer you a FREE Network Health Check. This is, of course, provided for free, with no obligations and no expectations on our part. I want to be clear that this is NOT a bait-and-switch offer or a trick to get you to buy something. Our reputation for running an honest and trustworthy businessis something we hold very dear. We would never jeopardize that in any way. So why are we offering something like this for free?
1. We are simply offering this service as a risk-free “get to know us” offer to people we haven’t had the pleasure of doing business with. Again, our goal is to allow you to make an informed and confident decision – and offering this is one way we can help you better evaluate us.
2. This will allow us to determine if we even CAN help you. Obviously we can’t help everyone, and our services might not be a good fit for you. Conducting this Health Check enables us to do a small project for you to help you evaluate whether or not we’re the right company for you without risking your money.
To get started, you can schedule your FREE Network Health Check by filling out the form below.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Accent Consulting Services