It’s a sinking feeling to realize that you are closely tied to an organization and it feels as though they don’t have your best interests top of mind. Perhaps it’s a billing discrepancy or a repeated instance of not living up to service level agreements — all you know is you’re not getting what your business needs to be successful. Finding the right path forward often starts with a balanced conversation where both teams are able to openly and honestly reveal any frustrations and you can determine whether or not to continue your partnership. If the partnership dissolves, there are any number of painful and time-consuming actions that need to be taken on all sides. Here are some suggestions for maintaining a positive working relationship.
It’s difficult for your IT service provider to address frustrations when they aren’t receiving a full accounting of the issues that occur. Perhaps there’s a single point of contact failure that is causing the bad feelings, or perhaps there’s a broken process that’s not visible to administrators. While it’s rarely fun to keep notes and documentation of problems and the details about when and where they occur, this type of information helps you provide a more rational starting point for a productive conversation.
As love as in business, it takes two sides to make a relationship and either side could be contributing to the problems that you’re seeing. It could be that requests are being addressed quickly upfront by your service provider, but teams on your side aren’t being proactive in their responses . . . until they desperately need a solution. Speak with several team members to determine if you’re seeing the same frustrations from all teams before assuming that the issue must be with the service provider.
Your business technology is the infrastructure of your business. While you want to do everything possible to salvage the relationship, that “everything” doesn’t include giving your service provider carte blanche to ignore service level agreements. If you’ve identified the issues, defined a timeline for resolution and agreed upon any deliverables don’t be afraid or nervous to hold your vendor accountable. Mutual accountability is a hallmark of positive relationships. Few providers want to leave an unhappy customer because of the reputation damage that can occur to their organization and most will take additional steps to help protect the relationship.
After you’ve been through every avenue for conversation and your vendor continues to miss SLAs and deadlines for remediation, it may be time to investigate a new IT services partner. This can be an awkward conversation but an important one, especially as you may have to hot-swap systems when you shift solutions providers. There will almost certainly be costs associated with making a move on both sides, but sometimes the only option is to cut your losses and bail on the relationship. Be sure you have a new partner lined up who will be able to walk you through the various considerations involved in such a major decision.
Disputes with anyone isn’t fun, especially when you consider the tight partnerships that you have with your technology providers. Building a level of trust is an important first step with any partner, and that’s exceptionally true when you consider how tightly entangled you can become with a technology provider. Whether you’re ready for a switch or simply need some advice, contact the professionals at On Time Tech today at 415-294-5250 for a free initial consultation. Our team is proud to provide a range of secure IT solutions from cybersecurity to data backup and recovery for businesses in the San Francisco or Los Angeles area.