Use Social Media to Shop Around for Service Providers

By Filipinayzd (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Hiring a third party for services for a small to mid-size business can be tricky and time-consuming. Payroll services are a good example of this. Even with an office manager or human resources point of contact on staff, there are a lot of intricacies surrounding with holdings, filings, and government regulations like the Defense of Marriage Act, Immigration and Health Care Reform that should probably be left to the professionals.
The first step in hiring third party services is knowing what you will remain responsible for in the eyes of the law when you outsource. Next, it is time to shop around. Here are a couple things to consider when shopping around:

What Do the Basic Fees Cover...Exactly?

Many providers offer a "free" trial for a few months. Unfortunately, these often end up costing a lot because of essential services that they only sell. Additionally, the conditions of the "free" service can make it difficult to get out of contracts without paying a hefty cancellation fee if you switch providers.

Social media allows you to see what customers have to say from various industries. On the Facebook Page for SurePayroll, one client writes
"This company rocks!! It makes it so easy to pay my mom's helpers who come almost five days a week, and they're happy to have all their taxes taken care of, couldn't do it without them."

How Easy is it to Speak with a Human Being?

Small businesses often have unique situations that need attending to. Looking at payroll service reviews on social media sites like Yelp, Linked In, and Facebook can give you an understanding of how responsive companies are to clients.

Many companies are using cloud systems and automated call centers. But, when it is comes to customer service for technical and billing issues, it is important to inquire what kind of method is in place for human interaction. Make sure to look for customer service complaints on your providers social media pages -especially LinkedIn and Facebook. To be fair, if the business has been around more than a couple years, there are bound to be some negative comments at some point. However, it is not just the complaint that is valuable in learning about the company; it is equally important to look at the response. How long did it take a company representative to respond to the complaint? What was the response? Was it elevator language or did the representative seem clued into the heart of the customer complaint with an option for remedy such as an alternative number or a personalized email or contact?

There is help - even good help - available. Why not use social media to explore who might be a good fit for your business?