With so many options out there to meet the many needs a small business has, many technology solutions providers such as hardware, email, CRM, and others have created programs to incentivize IT support providers to recommend them. These “partner programs” offer significant compensation to IT support companies like BL Technical Services. Considering this, the question has to be asked, “is my IT support provider my partner or are they looking out for someone else’s best interests?” If you’re IT support partner is BL Technical, you can rest assured that we are looking out for your best interests, and we’ll detail that below.
We do take advantage of these partner programs, not doing so would be detrimental to our customers, but we don’t do it the same way that most IT support companies do. Our partners help us serve our customers’ needs. The typical model in these programs is that the IT support company promotes or sells the third-party product and receives compensation or margin for it. We don’t do any of that; the large majority of our income is derived from providing service to our customers, so they are our number one concern.
How We Participate
We have two ways of participating in these programs. Either we take advantage of it for a benefit for our customers, or we include the services in our own offerings. Our hardware partner gives us a substantial discount which we largely pass on to our customers. It is sold negligibly above cost, but that’s to cover fees associated with even doing the transaction, like credit card fees. We regularly refuse to “sell” computers to companies that don’t use us for support because it just isn’t worth the hassle since it really isn’t our business to sell them. We acquire them for our customers.
An example of how we include services in our offerings is our backup partner. As the designation “partner program” would lead you to believe, they are truly our partner in providing data backup services to our customer. We’re not trying to sell their services, we’re not their sales agency, but instead they provide a needed piece of providing comprehensive IT support services to our customer. BL Technical Services is able to provide great IT support for our clients with help from our backup partner.
Neither of these cases present room for a conflict of interest with our customers. We don’t care if they buy good computer hardware elsewhere, as long as it’s actually of good quality. The prices for the computers you find at Walmart are going to be considerably cheaper, but you’ll pay the difference in the lost productivity you’ll go through later on, the having to upgrade to the proper version of Windows, or having to uninstall all of the bundled unwanted software (so-called “crapware”). Our service partners are non-negotiable; they’re part of our offering and apart from extremely rare circumstances, we won’t even begin to discuss not including them.
What Others Do
Just about every other IT service company proudly has the logos of their partner programs emblazoned all over their website. They believe this legitimizes them, but it also should serve as a warning to you that these are the companies that have their loyalty. When you see that they’re an “XYZ Partner” you should ask yourself when they offer you an XYZ service, are they offering you what is best for you, or is it because XYZ is paying them. The argument can be made that it could be both, but for our part, we would rather just avoid being questioned.
The trust our customers put in us to have chosen us to be their IT support partner is worth much more than anything that “XYZ” company could offer us. Our customers know that if we make a recommendation, they can trust it. They don’t have to question our loyalty to some other company when they review it. Can you say this about your IT support partner?