Whatever level of IT support you need.

What makes a good IT Support and Services Provider?

What makes a good IT Support and Services Provider?

Understand you – Great service providers do whatever it takes to really understand their clients and what they want and need. This may seem like a no-brainer, but lots of service providers seem more concerned about the project and the process than about the client.

Perhaps it’s because they assume the client only cares about results – or that they need to prove their competency and value.  The thing is, these are outcomes of understanding the client – they only happen after you’ve taken the time to focus on what’s really going on, what the real problem is, what the unstated — and perhaps even unknown – needs and outcomes really are.

Stay true – Great service providers stay true to themselves – they don’t offer up their services (or try to actually provide them) as something other than what they really are. I don’t know if providers who try to take on work outside their core offering do it out of good intentions, or if they just really need the work or the money.  Regardless, they do a disservice to themselves and their clients.

Specialize – the best service providers are specialists, not generalists.   Whether their specialty is an industry or a type of service, specialization enables them to serve as experts in the field.  Their expertise gives them instant credibility and they instill confidence immediately.  Specialists usually identify the issues faster and anticipate problems better, and bring a wealth of knowledge they’ve gleaned from similar clients.

Listen – Great service providers listen first, listen more, and listen well.  They make sure they really hear what clients are saying before responding – and they’re wise enough (and perhaps humble enough too) to let other people including other service providers in the room talk first.  They don’t need to have all the answers, nor do they need to prove they’re smart, so they’re more apt to listen than to talk.  And they “listen between the lines” and usually ask more questions than they answer, also they can understand what someone is really asking or saying.

Flex – Flexibility and adaptability are some of the greatest qualities in a service provider.  This does not mean moving off their core (see #2 above); rather they match the working style and preferences of their clients.

If a client is more relationally-oriented, great service providers will invest more time and energy in developing the relationship.  If a client is more results oriented, they get down to business right away.  They figure out how best to communicate with their clients – not simply making the right choice between email vs. phone, but also between stories vs. facts, bad news first vs. good news first, etc.

Great service providers understand one approach doesn’t fit all.

Make it fun – Great service providers make it fun to work with them.  They recognize that their clients are stressed out enough by everything else they have going on, so they work hard to make interactions with them something their clients look forward to.  Of course, fun means different things to different people so how they inject fun into the work depends on the client.

Deliver — Above all else, great service providers get the work done.  They don’t make excuses or miss deadlines – they just do it.  Because when it comes down to it, you can’t even be a service provider if you don’t provide the service.

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