Are you expecting enough from your managed service provider?  

Or—like the proverbial frog in the kettle—have you slowly grown accustomed to your business being neglected, disrupted, or even mistreated?   

In my opinion, some companies don’t have the right expectations for their IT vendor. Frankly, the bar is placed too low.  

Maybe you need a reality check about the kind of service you ought to receive from your IT company.  

Here are 5 signs you should expect more… 

1. Your needs are ignored.

Take a moment, and think about what seems important to your managed service provider. 

Do your company’s needs land anywhere on their priority list?  

I encourage you to ask some diagnostic questions:  

  • What happens when your team phones for help? (It’s a bad sign if your employees have memorized your vendor’s voicemail message.)  
  • How long does it take for a technician to respond to an urgent support ticket?  
  • If you communicate that something is important to your business, does your vendor follow up?  
  • Do they ever inquire about your strategic goals?  
  • Do they educate you on what your business needs—before you’re aware that you need it?   

If your tech company can remember to send an invoice, expect them to remember to prioritize your support tickets.

2. Your managed service provider’s communication is unprofessional.

A managed service provider operates in a professional niche. So, you’d think professional communication would be a given.  

But it’s not.  

I know a Charlotte managed service provider that stooped to screaming at one of their clients. The situation was beyond a lack of professionalism; it was inhumane. And the relationship was toxic. Needless to say, my client is no longer with that vendor.  

Communication from your IT company should be… 

  • Timely—no long delays for important matters.   
  • Kind and respectful—no condescension, irritation, and impatience.  
  • Ethical—no manipulation or threats.  

You’re paying people who claim to be professionals, and you have a right to expect professional interactions with their team.  

3. There are ownership issues.

Who owns your data?  

Who owns your computers?  

Who owns your network?  

You do.  

You shouldn’t feel like your IT assets are the property of your managed service provider. You shouldn’t be deliberately kept in the dark about your IT infrastructure. You shouldn’t feel like your IT vendor has a hold over your business.   

Here’s a short list of what’s unacceptable:  

  • Withheld passwords. (Yes, this can happen.)  
  • Withheld documentation. 
  • Withheld company files, backups, or other assets. 

It doesn’t matter if you want to switch to another managed service provider. That shouldn’t affect what details your vendor will or will not share. Expect your IT company to treat anything in your IT universe as yours. 

4. Your managed service provider doesn’t respect your operations.

A good IT company will show operational respect.  

They will recognize that downtime equals lost revenue. They will acknowledge that your customer is king. And they will treat business disruptions like the plague.  

Does your managed service provider support—or undermine—your ability to serve your customers/clients? 

I encourage you to give thought to the following questions:   

  • Do unexpected problems alert you that your vendor is working on your infrastructure? 
  • Do they take measures to avoid disturbing your team?  
  • How frequently do your vendor’s actions create downtime?  

Expect your IT company to respect your operations as they go about their responsibilities.  

5. Trust is damaged.

Trust is an important part of the relationship between a managed service provider and a client.  

So how are your trust levels?  

  • Do you feel like you can rely on your IT company?  
  • When they promise something, is it as good as done?  
  • Do you believe that they have integrity?  

You shouldn’t have to be skeptical about your vendor.  

One last thing… 

Can I add one final thought?  

When you have a managed service provider that earns your trust, demonstrates excellence, and displays kindness, it’s not unreasonable to expect a good relationship—even a friendship—between your company and theirs.   

We live this reality. Our technicians have a great relationship with our clients. And when we send our clients surveys, it’s not uncommon to receive responses like these (names are redacted)… 

  • “[Team member] is very professional and walks you through the problem and solution and makes sure you understand the issue.  He is an awesome IT person.”   
  • “[Team member] is extremely polite and professional. He resolved my problem in a timely manner. He represent [sic] your company in the highest way.”  
  • “[Team member] is definitely an asset to your business!!   He always jumps right in, stays patient (even when i’m NOT) and gets the job done!   Thanks [team member]!!!”   

You see, Proactive IT is more than a vendor to our clients—we’re the trusted people they call when they need help.  

And that’s the way it should be.   

What are your expectations for your managed service provider?  

Do those expectations need to change? If so, let’s talk.  

You can reach out to us at or 704-464-3075 extension 3.      

Dedicated to IT security and productivity,  

– Steve  

Steve Kennen, president of Proactive IT and cybersecurity expert

About Steve Kennen

As an expert in information technology infrastructure management, cybersecurity, and cyber risk management practices for small businesses, Steve spearheads initiatives that keep his clients secure and their business operations running smoothly. His core message is that the details matter.