Richard Murray Blog:
‘Knowledge is power’ as they say and this is why estate agents fear changing their IT support provider irrespective of poor service, increased pricing or lack of progression.
The incumbent IT support provider is king in this sector but that shouldn’t necessarily be the case; it should be the best provider based on the needs of the company who should have your business. Often IT support companies hide behind technical jargon and baffle estate agents with words and acronyms which mean nothing to them ensuring the support provider retains the upper hand. It is not difficult to maintain a layman conversation with an estate agent who is probably also frustrated at the interruption to their day. Timely resolution is key to maintaining and retaining business and much of what goes wrong can be resolved remotely from the support providers office. When this isn’t the case a swift onsite visit to fix a problem will not only get the estate agent up and running again but maintain a presence and ensure the service does not became faceless.
A failing or lesser service will often be the result of complacency on the part of the provider. This ‘better the devil you know’ approach will generally guarantee an adequate (at best) service. Don’t be afraid to conduct a review of your IT support provider and their service and get some reputable alternative provider in to do a site survey on your technical infrastructure. This way the alternative provider will be in a position to give you a quote and some advice on how they could improve your infrastructure (locally or in The Cloud), your networks, connectivity, back up and disaster recovery. Ask for some reference sites and compare their service level agreement’s with the feedback. You may find that you are getting a good service with comparable price so the very least you will achieve is to make sure your current provider stays on their toes!
For most estate agents data is one of your most valuable assets so make sure that your IT support provider has given you good advice on back-up services and disaster recovery. Backing up your data should be a high priority and knowing the turnaround time to get your data restored will give you peace of mind and allow you to reassure your clients should you need to. Generally speaking IT support providers to SME’s will outsource this to third parties which is fine because specialist data centres provide the infrastructure and environment to ensure optimum service levels can be achieved and delivered. At Eurolink we use such third parties to deliver services such as backing up data but only after thoroughly testing their service before recommending to our clients.