Are Your Vendor Relationships Actually Helping Your Business?
We’re not overestimating the importance of vendors by stating that they are literally what make your business work. The company that provides your Internet service, or the software you use to track your employees’ workflow, enables you to get work done. Operations would be impeded without the solutions these vendors offer. Of course, not all vendors provide adequate services. We’ll help you weed out the good from the bad.
What is a Vendor?
A vendor is any organization or individual that your business pays for services rendered. This can be any business that provides some sort of resource, whether it’s your organization’s phone system or it’s toilet paper.
Communication is Key
When determining what is a good or bad vendor, be sure to think of yourself as the consumer. If you were a customer, would you like it if your outreach for service or maintenance received a delayed--or worse, a rude--response? We don’t think so. Therefore, the ideal vendor will be sure to respond to your organization in a timely and friendly manner.
That being said, it’s also critical to think about the methods of outreach. If you can’t find the phone number, email address, or service portal on the vendor’s website, then perhaps you are better off looking in another location for the services you need.
Consider the Service Level Agreement
You also must consider the extent of the service rendered by your vendor. For example, a vendor might provide only a certain amount of help with something, so you should know the limits of what your contract is with them. It’s like expecting your security provider to immediately jump on a data breach incident, but your contract gives them a window of one-to-three business days to handle it. Obviously, no security provider worth their salt will accept a practice like this, but hopefully you get the point.
In general, the service level agreement for any services your business procures from a vendor should be clear right from the first discussion, before you sign any contracts or make any deals. You should never accept terms that aren’t beneficial to your business. Be sure to look for emergency situations and how vendors will respond to them.
Transparency is Important, Too
You want to make sure that you know what you’re paying the vendor for. That being said, there should be a certain level of transparency involved with your vendors. Think about it this way; if you go to a restaurant, and they charge you for what you thought was a free loaf of bread, you’ll naturally be a little irritated. Therefore, you should always strive toward transparency with your vendors. Ask lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to dig into the details, as it could come back to bite you at a later date if you don’t do so now.
First Column IT can help you manage your vendors in a way that requires little-to-no actual involvement with them yourselves. We have a network of quality vendors that we would love to connect you with. To learn more, reach out to us at 703-880-6683.