The idea of keeping up with the latest technologies can feel overwhelming. With everything else you already have to do in your job, wouldn't it be nice if you could get others to worry about that for you? And wouldn't it be even nicer if those other people were experts in their field that knew the importance of great customer service?
Enter Grade A, a Managed IT services firm located in Ottawa, Canada. Their knowledgeable team has been recognized as one of the top Managed IT providers in all of North America with one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry.
That's not too shabby, and the same goes for this little tidbit: they have a 98% client satisfaction score. This is a team that truly cares about their clients; Not only do they know you by name, but they have a less than 15-second answer time for support.
Grade A places great emphasis on taking care of their clients and their employees. After all, happy employees = better client support = happy customers. I spoke with Kaytie Loucks, Grade A's Marketing Coordinator, to learn more about how they make it work so well.
Tell us the Grade A story.
In 2002, four friends saw the need for true customer service in the Ottawa IT and computer industry, so they took action. Mathew Lafrance, Christian Ste-Marie, Allan Ghosn and Mathieu Bouchard joined forces to bring their idea to life and, in turn, excellent IT services to market. There was no shortage of companies selling hardware and software, but after-sales IT support was (and still often is) lacking. Individuals and companies were left to figure out solutions for themselves. This wasn’t good enough for Grade A’s founders, who created our company as a trusted technology advisor. Since its founding, we've expanded our partnerships, knowledge and team to provide IT planning, IT management and other computer, technology and network services to businesses all across Canada.
You offer free technology reviews for clients. What does a typical review help to uncover?
When we perform technology reviews, we usually uncover a laundry list of issues that our clients didn’t even know they had! Security, hardware, limited support…the list can go on. The goal of the review is to uncover problems within the IT environment, and then propose a solution that will help the client improve their operations, business, and staff’s happiness.
What is the most common issue that clients come to you with?
Password resets. 9 times out of 10, someone has accidentally locked themselves out of their system, and can’t get back in. We’ve all done it (there are a few culprits here too!) - it happens to the best of us. We often help them with creating new users, accessing their line of business applications, and, everyone’s favorite, not being able to print.
How has technology in your industry changed over the past 5 years?
It has changed completely! In the past 5 years, we’ve seen absolutely everything shift – from on-premise to cloud, from static to interactive, and not to mention that there are constant security threats. New support tools are always being launched, which gives us a chance to stay ahead of the demand and be on the forefront of all the changes.
Grade A is involved in the community, recently organizing a gaming marathon to raise funds for local charities. Why is community leadership so important to you?
Because it’s never just about you or your business. We’re an Ottawa-based business, and Ottawa is such a tight-knit community. Without this community we wouldn't be where we are today, so we’ve always felt that it’s important to give back. We encourage staff to run with the idea as well, and through their suggestions have partnered with a few different non-profits.
What’s life like at the Grade A office?
Our team usually describes it in one word – family: Nerf battles, camping trips, and a group environment where you know you’ve got the support of your team and management.
What does 2018 have in store for your team?
Growth and innovation! With all the changing technology, we’re focused on ensuring our clients are able to grow and mature with the industry innovations, while still remaining specific to their business. In order to do that, we’re always looking for awesome talent to join our team, and love people who are as excited to learn about cool new stuff as much as we are.
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