In recent months, I have learned a pretty decent amount about large-scale IT companies, whether it by way of a prospective client looking to transition from one, or a large-scale company scouting us out to perform contracted work on their behalf. In these situations, there are a few things that remain constant, which would absolutely give many businesses every reason to consider a smaller, local IT Support firm.
1. Red Tape, (and lots of it): It seems that there is very little flexibility when you are dealing with larger companies, whose home-base is in another state, or even another country! If you sign a contract, don't expect it to be easy to part ways. If you want part of a whole when it comes to a particular service that they offer, often times you're out of luck. Reason being, is because they have "Corporate" to answer to. When you choose to work with a smaller, local IT company, the owner, who is typically on-site, is the chief decision maker and negotiations are possible. In the corporate world, you're simply an account with a number. To a local company, you're a neighbor and a valued member of the community.
2. Wait Times for Support: As I had mentioned, we have been approached to provide contracted work on behalf of large IT firms. Although we declined, for some reason, we were receiving support requests from them for jobs in the area. The emails would include the date the client had requested support, and to our surprise, some were dated weeks back! How on Earth can a business run, when it requires IT support that is not fulfilled for weeks!? This is unfathomable to me, especially when a call to support clearly means that something, no matter how big or small, is preventing you from being able to do what you need to do.
3. Wait Times for Equipment: When you've committed to an upgrade or an addition of equipment to your infrastructure, you make that decision based on several factors, which typically include something about it enhancing what you're doing or bringing the firm up to date with technology, so the last thing you want to hear is that it's going to take several weeks for an equipment order to come in. I suppose I can understand such a wait time if you're dealing with custom, made-to-order servers, but for standard equipment, such as a firewall or a switch, that kind of wait time seems extreme when typically we're able to get these pieces overnight. It seems the reason that it takes so long with a corporate company relates back to number 1- Red Tape. Orders have to go through several departments before an order can actually be placed. With a smaller/local company, orders can be processed quickly since the order has far fewer hands to go through.
4. Pricing: Smaller local companies tend to have a lower hourly rate and/or can offer reduced rates or bundled pricing. Larger corporate IT companies, on the other hand, have a set pricing and there is very little flexibility. They also have to meet margins on all hardware sales and often times, if they come in too low, Corporate will kick back a quote even after you as the customer have already seen it. This means surprises at the end of the day and no one likes surprises when they mean you have to spend more money than you expected. Smaller companies can be more flexible with margins in order to close a deal and make a client happy.
5. Ease of Access: I know when I have tried to reach large companies with questions or for support, it can be infuriating. Going through endless pre-recorded menus, or worse, dealing with voice recognition systems that pick up the slightest sound in the background and make you start from the beginning. Smaller/local companies place much greater importance on customer service and most, like us, will have the phone answered by a real person who can assist you quickly and effectively. Your time matters and shouldn't be spent on hold.
At Electro-America, we focus on building long-lasting relationships with our clients. A good relationship is dependent on an ability to be reliable, easy to reach, flexible, accommodating, and an ability to get the job done right the first time. That is where our focus is, will continue to be, and has been since 1984.
*Electro-America offers free technology consultations. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!