Your business is reliant on your connection to the outside world. If you take orders via email or a website then downtime equals loss of money, that’s obvious. However, there are sometimes key differentiators between providers that businesses overlook – often through lack of understand of the implications.

Here’s a 7 quick tips that will save you time and money.

Technology

Although the terminology often confuses business owners further, going for the faster broadband technologies offer greater reliability and the ability to do more. There’s a great blog here about the differences. If broadband is the right solution for you, then Full Fibre is the best of the broadband range and faster, the better too. Don’t forget, you need to consider upload as well as download speeds so take a second look at what you’re getting.

Speed

We’ve already said that the faster the better, but check how that is measured. Are they giving you theoretical maximums? Peak time averages? or general performance? The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) offers guidance but if you don’t check which one your provider is talking about, you may not be comparing apples with apples.

How the ISP’s network operates

Firstly, if you are not going directly to the ISP (and using a re seller), you are immediately at a disadvantage. When things go wrong, they’re powerless. Apologies…they’ll pick up the phone to the ISP and let them know for you.

If you’re going direct to the ISP then find out for performance statistics like uptime averages, contention, latency and how they prioritise traffic. Can they tell you how much traffic is business, and how much residential users. The more consumer focused, the worse it is for you as a business.

Customer Service

Everyone likes to tell you they offer great customer service, but challenge this before you buy. Simply contact them as though you are already a customer and see what happens. If it takes you 25 minutes to speak to a customer service agent, probably in another country then I wouldn’t call that great customer service. Put simply, they just won’t be able to help you if your query isn’t straight-forward…and why should it be? You run a business and have specific needs so why choose a provider that doesn’t make this a priority in their offering?

Time is money, your money

What happens if things do go wrong? Did they just shrug their shoulders and say ‘it happens’ or was their some form of recognition that they’ve paid for a service that didn’t work. Look for a financially backed Service Level Agreement.

Billing Problems

This can be a small business owner’s biggest headache. Do you have a direct contact for any account issues or queries? If there’s something wrong on the bill then the thought of spending time trying to explain it to someone who probably can only pass it on to another department is the most frustrating thing in the world.

Special Offers to get you to switch

Haven’t you always been told to always read the small print? So it starts at £50 per month (as long as you signed up on a Friday with a blue moon) but then before long the price is £60, then £70. You brave the 25 minute wait only to be told, it was in paragraph 8.7.6.9 in your contract. You signed it, so it’s tough!

Of course, you’ll be looking to switch the second you’re out of contract, won’t you? It’s your number one priority…after keeping your customers happy, keeping your staff happy and everything else a business owner has to do! There’s something to be said about keeping things simple – find out what the total contract will cost, what’s included and what’s not.