In my previous blog, I talked about why your company needs a managed IT partner, no matter how big or small your organization is. Then I put together a quick-reference guide for knowing what to look for when picking out a managed IT services partner, and what are some of the warning signs that you might be dealing with either a disreputable IT “professional” or an unqualified one. This may seem self-serving, considering that I’m an IT pro myself, offering managed IT services. But I don’t know too much about fixing cars, so I appreciate someone giving me good advice about what to look for in a reputable mechanic, and more importantly what to watch out for. The same principle applies to IT.
In this blog, I want to round that out by going over some ways to get the most out of your IT partner. Again, I'm going with the assumption that you understand the value of partnering with a managed IT service. When you run into an issue, your IT pro is there for you! Here are some practical tips for you that will help you get your issue resolved quickly, and give you a good working relationship with your managed IT services partner.
Try Some Basics – But Keep Notes
Yes, it’s a cliché adage, but there’s a reason IT guys are famous for asking “have you tried turning it off and on again?” Especially in the Windows world, sometimes a simple reboot can cure a multitude of issues. There are lots of reasons why things stop working properly on a PC, but restarting your computer causes all of the applications running in the background to reconfigure themselves back to a default state, often fixing corrupt settings or runaway processes that may be eating up memory and CPU cycles. So before submitting a ticket, it’s worth saving your work and doing a quick reboot. This used to be a giant pain in the rear, but nowadays, with fast SSDs, most computers reboot times are measured in seconds, not minutes. Another related note; keep a brief record of any fixes you try yourself. This will help your IT technician eliminate needless dead ends that you’ve already tried.
This may be the toughest advice, and that’s because often, by the time an end user reaches out to technical support they’re already reaching peak levels of frustration. I get it! You just need to print that document and now the %#*&$@! printer says it’s offline, even though it was working just this morning! All of a sudden a bunch of documents are missing and you don’t have time to deal with this! Out of nowhere, your emails are all bouncing and saying they can’t be delivered! So you pick up the phone, and you’re upset. But remember, your IT pro is your partner
so they’re here to help, not make things worse. They haven’t been beating their head against a wall the way you have for the past 45 minutes. So take a breath, crack a smile, explain the situation, and let your IT tech jump in and help you. They understand your frustration, and they’re eager to help!
Diagnosticians, Not Surgeons
Our slogan at Bit-Wizards is “it’s not magic, just dedicated talent.” It may be tempting to think of an IT pro as someone who can easily swoop in and fix whatever problem you’re dealing with because they have some kind of special knowledge. But the truth of the matter is, IT professionals are more like diagnosticians than surgeons. Their job is to dig down and troubleshoot to identify the cause of the problem. If your hard drive keeps running out of free space, sure they can remote in and delete some old log files or abandoned applications. But the better approach is to let them figure out what
is causing your hard drive to constantly fill up. It may take a little more time up front, but in the long run it will save you time and money when you can eliminate the root cause. A good IT pro is proactive about heading off issues before they affect you, so when they notice things going awry with your network, their job is to diagnose it and initiate the steps to resolve it. So be patient, and let them identify the problem, even if it means they can’t just “magic away” all the tech problems.
There’s No Such Thing as a Dumb Question
On Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Fallon played an exaggerated stereotype of an IT guy. “MOVE!” he yells as he pushes the user away from his or her keyboard, and then proceeds to belittle them for not knowing advanced technical concepts. Thankfully, none of the team here at Bit-Wizards is like that! A good IT partner is also a good teacher, and is able to explain technical concepts in layman’s terms without being condescending. There’s really no such thing as a dumb question, and I love it when I get a chance to show people simple solutions that make their lives easier! Don’t ever feel intimidated or too apprehensive to ask how something works, or how to replicate something an IT pro has done. We’re always happy to explain, since that saves time for everyone!
Nobody’s expecting you to become a full-blown geek, but it will definitely help if you keep yourself in the loop when it comes to tech news. Most popular news sources will cover big events like Apple’s major iPhone announcements, Google’s latest offerings, Microsoft’s new operating systems, etc. Even though many people see technology as a necessary evil, if you keep up to date even at a high level, with the big announcements that directly affect you (smartphones, tablets, Windows updates, etc.) it will save you time and money when it comes time to making IT decisions and purchases.
Bit-Wizards provides several resources to keep you in the loop. My coworkers and I host a weekly podcast called Full Frontal Nerdity, where we break down the week’s tech news, and explain how it applies to you. We stay away from the rumor mill, and keep it light hearted. It’s definitely worth a listen!
For our Managed IT clients, we also put out a monthly newsletter,
with lots of relevant information to help you run your business efficiently and securely. It a great resource we provide as a perk of being in the Bit-Wizards Managed IT family!