To yell, or not to yell...

get the best out of your it supportThere will be times when your IT support provider doesn't manage to provide the service you expect, so how do you best handle that?

It's really important to note that any IT support or hosting provider is sharing their services between many clients. They have to make money, so they resource to cater for close to the average demand. This means that sometimes their staff will be twiddling their thumbs, and other times they'll be flat out trying to get everything done so they won't be able to complete tasks as fast as they or you would like.

So what to do when they're flat out and your issues are not getting dealt with? Basically you've got two options:

  1. Get firm and make demands
    This is usually a short term win, and I really don't recommend it. Sure you can communicate your urgency a bit better by yelling, and to avoid your aggression the IT support provider may bump you up the queue, but you can guarantee that they will be less inclined to want to deal with you in the future. You will no doubt be doing damage to your business relationship, because no one likes to be yelled at for trying to do their best!

  2. Be understanding and reasonable
    Win-win time! I have a rule that I like to stick to - do the right thing by people, and act appropriately if people aren't doing the right thing by you. That means you should state that you understand they are really busy, clearly communicate your impact and urgency, and be as patient as you can be. If your impact or urgency changes, update them and ask to be kept in the loop with timeframes. This is the long term win. Sure you may not get things done right now, but longer term you will build respect and rapport, and your IT support provider will like to deal with you and do their best tokeep you onside.


Obviously it would be nice to know that they are prioritising their workload effectively (based on things like impact, urgency, and yes sometimes importance, but that's life) so that when you have a crisis you are objectively moved to the top of the queue. But what should happen always is that your IT support provider should be professional, they should keep you updated when timeframes are slipping, and you should escalate issues when urgency or impact increases so that you can be repriotised.

Of course if your IT Support provider is genuinely not kicking the goals then you look towards option 3, which is to find a new one! Just make sure that this is an objective decision and not something you jump into because you have unrealistic expectations of the performance a shared service provider should be providing. You really want to dig into the detail of your SLAs and reports to see how bad the problem is, and discuss how this can be resolved before jumping ship.



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