The importance of knowledgeable front-line technical support when selecting an ISP for your business

When selecting an Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the UK it is important to consider the level and quality of technical support offered by the provider.

A good ISP will offer attentive customer service and knowledgeable technical support. This can be invaluable when technical issues arise, especially if your downtime has an economic impact or interferes with your ability to work and be productive.

Before signing up with a provider, you should check the availability of telephone support. Not all providers offer this as standard. Also check what it costs to call the ISP. Some operate premium rate numbers and its deliberately made very costly to stay on the line.

To test whether your call will be answered promptly, you can try calling the ISP. See how long they take to answer and assess their level of response before deciding if they are the right fit for your business.

The ISP’s size can also be a relevant factor. Bigger firms might claim to have more resources but often layers of system workflows and inefficient processes get in the way of quickly resolving network issues. They will undoubtedly have technical experts buried within the organisation able to diagnose and resolve problems, but getting to speak with a sufficiently qualified technician often requires your case to be escalated. This scenario is never an easy ride!

With smaller providers you are more likely to talk directly to a front line technical support expert much sooner. Very often the person answering the call will have all the experience and know how to resolve your case without being passed from pillar to post.

Smaller ISPs may also provide more personalised service and are usually willing to spend time working closely with you to develop tailor-made solutions. The primary support teams of smaller ISPs are usually UK based with local understanding of UK systems are commercial processes.

It’s always advisable to read independent reviews at ISP review or Think Broadband of the ISPs you are considering. Don’t just look at the good testimonials, but be sure to scrutinise any less favourable reviews and see how their technical support team have dealt with any complaints.

If possible speak to some of the ISP’s customers to see how closely its customer service and support actually compare with its promises. Does the ISP have any professional quality standards or awards which indicate its commitment to positive customer experiences.

Of course there are many other technical considerations to acknowledge when considering a business ISP (e.g. speed, bandwidth, security, network resilience, SLAs, scalability, shared values and of course pricing), but very often it’s the folks you speak to on the front line, the heroes rescuing you from a tight spot, that make all the difference. Their impact should not be underestimated.

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