Does your IT Support Provider tie you in for a year or more?

IT Support Contracts have been around since IT systems started being created and are fairly universally understood by businesses.   For a fixed monthly fee your local Managed Service Provider (MSP) will deliver an agreed level of support, sometimes with replacement hardware and often with daily management and maintenance tasks taken care of remotely. Most service providers will sign you up for a year, some for 2 (and one I came across last week insisted on 4 year contracts!). In such a competitive industry, why aren’t more companies following Systemagic’s lead and doing away with lengthy contracts altogether?

A bit of history first.  Systemagic started in 1998 when it set out to provide Pay As You Go support to small and medium sized businesses.   In 2004 with the introduction of constant Internet connectivity for most businesses, Systemagic redeveloped its service and started offering Managed Service Contracts – fixed monthly fee arrangements which include daily remote maintenance of systems, round the clock monitoring and alerting, helpdesk support and assistance and, where necessary, regular onsite visits.

Apologies if this is getting a bit sales-y but stick with me for 1 more paragraph while I set the scene…

The difference is that all Systemagic’s contracts are on rolling 30 day notice periods.   Our ethos is that if the service delivery and customer service is of a high enough standard, then we have no need to tie our customers in to lengthy contracts.   We’re so confident in our service that this ethos extends to all our added services – business broadband, email and cloud services, online backup.   This attention to service standard is represented with a whole host of awards and accreditations including a Trading Standards ‘Buy With Confidence’ award held for 5 years and the international quality standard ISO 9001.

Ok sale-y bit over.   Back to my point..

I met an IT Provider at a networking event recently, and we got talking about our shared experiences and challenges in the very saturated IT Support market.   I was genuinely disgusted when he said to me “of course we’re all in the same boat – we know we’re only likely to have a customer for a year before they shop around, so we have to cram in a server and installation, plenty of hardware and a fair amount of onsite time so we make our money’s worth in the year”.   That couldn’t be further away from my mindset, which is to work hard at building a relationship, never overselling and working with the customer to establish their requirements rather than dictating based on our own greed.

So, is your IT Support provider still locking you in to a long contract?  When was the last time they genuinely worked hard at maintaining your relationship rather than simply delivering what is written down in a contract? There are some really great IT support providers out there who are working hard to build and maintain trust, honesty and integrity.   Don’t find yourself stuck with one of the others.

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