Its no wonder why so many of the small- and mid-size businesses (SMBs) in New Jersey and New York that we meet with continue working with an IT consultant that’s giving them sub-par service. According to a survey by research firm Clutch, business-to-business companies average a 20 to 25 net promotor score (NPS) when rated by their SMB customers, with B2B professional services firms often topping out at 30+. IT consultants in Clutch’s study averaged a 13 NPS – not very good.
Many SMBs could check a lot of these boxes when it comes to rating their IT consultants:
Any of these are great reasons to start looking elsewhere – check three or more and it’s time to put some urgency behind that search. And yet, many continue to stick with the same IT consultants for what feels like some good reasons. Here is a list – and why that should not stop you from making a move.
They’re the only ones who know our network. This may be true, and that’s a problem. Your IT consultants should be meticulously documenting your network – and then sharing that documentation with you. You shouldn’t have to ask, but if you’re not getting that documentation, start asking for it now. That should include diagrams, passwords and all of the other assets listed here. You should not let a third party keep you in the dark. If your request for documentation is not fulfilled promptly and completely, that’s a big red flag.
Our business and network are unique. No doubt your business offers a unique value that’s prized by your customers. But we promise you, that special quality does not extend to your network or IT. A network is a series of IT assets strung together in an intelligent way to help them communicate, nothing more. Competent network engineers are ready for whatever you’ve got.
They might sabotage us! If you believe your network is unique and yet you have very little visibility into it, it’s understandable that you are reluctant to upset those that are keeping it going. You’ll address that by getting the documentation – important data that will help your next IT consultant get a good picture of the current state. And if you can’t get it, the next IT services firm can create that too. The time to stop working with an IT company that feels threatening is right now.
The transition will be too tough. Highly competent IT consultants are accustomed to taking over for folks that were not living up to expectations, and have strategies to mitigate risk. That being said, it’s possible there will be a few bumps along the road. But like surgery or a home renovation, a little short-term pain usually pays off handsomely for the long-term gain.
Nothing really terrible has happened. Many SMBs procrastinate replacing a poor IT consulting company for years, until something catastrophic occurs and hurts their business – such as a server failure, which averages 11% for a server that’s four years old. Crisis is the worst state to begin establishing a new IT consulting company relationship. If your gut says move, the time is before a network disaster that costs your reputation, relationships and bottom line.
Sticking with a sub-par IT consulting company doesn’t just mean living with disappointment. It can actually stifle the growth of your business. A great IT services partner doesn’t just proactively maintain your IT environment and provide transparency in their services – they become your virtual CIO, offering you advice that can fuel your strategic growth through the savvy use of technology.
Every day you stay in a bad relationship with a sub-par IT consulting firm, you are missing out on the business-driving benefits of a great IT consulting services provider.