New research has revealed small businesses are less than satisfied with their IT service providers, however nearly 40% of those surveyed still plan to increase spending over the next months.
The new study from B2B research firm Clutch found the average net promoter score (MPS) for SMBs’ IT service providers was 13, compared to B2B professional services firms’ benchmark scores of 30+.
Clutch says one of the challenges facing IT service providers is the fact the IT is often not well understood, which can cause a company’s frustration with their service providers.
“Clients often think IT is as simple as flipping a switch,” explains Adam Barney, COO of Framework Communications, a managed IT services firm.
“It’s very hard to judge performance and assess if you're getting good value when you don't understand some of the issues they ran into, why they had the impact they did, or why it took a certain amount of time.”
Other challenges that impact how favourable or not a SMB client views their IT service provider include the size and bandwidth of the IT service provider’s business.
Smaller specialised firms, for example, are often limited in their ability to provide high-level, strategic IT recommendations that their clients need. Similarly, due to the complexity of IT and numerous solutions available to clients, IT services firms sometimes outsource certain client needs to other vendors.
This can make it difficult to control the quality of customer service and communication.
The survey suggests, however, that service providers that can address and manage these challenges will be poised to take advantage of the rising demand for IT services in 2016.
Clutch says by all indications, IT will continue to be a necessary investment for SMBs, and many will turn to IT service providers to meet that need.
“A client wants two things - their problems solved, and to feel like they matter to the consultant,” says Ed Kapelinski, president of Tympani, an IT consulting and engineering firm. “Stress to your team the importance of the client’s satisfaction, instil in them a customer service mindset, and be sure to regularly survey the client experience after each engagement.”