Quality of Service: Evaluating Your Best Choice for a Vendor

Your company is trying to make a decision. Should you stick with the current vendor you have or should you think about hiring a new vendor? Perhaps you've had a lot of complaints about your current vendor and that dissatisfaction is prompting you to re-evaluate whether you want to keep them on board or not.


In order to ensure the success of a program or service, it's crucial to begin your evaluation by considering the specific outcomes you want to achieve. You’ll want to establish metrics for success that align with your predetermined outcomes. When you think about a vendor’s quality of service, there are many benchmarks that potentially come to mind.
It's important for you to develop your own customized set of metrics to determine the top factors you feel are vital to your program's success. Often, companies are dissatisfied with a particular vendor, but they didn't set up the proper expectations with the vendor at the onset of the project. You might consider asking questions such as:


  • How well did the current vendor implement the program or service?
  • How effective were they with project management?
  • How successful were they in developing engaging programming or training for your staff?
  • How well did they follow through with program delivery?
  • How timely were they with the delivery of their services?
  • How accurate were they in processing your requests and the requests made by your employees?
  • How nimble were they in responding to your feedback and revamping the program to meet your new needs?


Realistic expectations can easily be established by focusing on the answers to these specific questions early in the process. Surprisingly, conversations regarding key performance indicators are often missed or are not considered as thoroughly as they should be.


However, if all these metrics are discussed and committed to by both parties before a contract begins, the chances for achieving a successful, well-run program are significantly enhanced.


Comparing Your Current Vendor to New Potential Vendors


After you've had time to review the track records of potential vendors, invite them in for a conversation. Instead of approaching the meeting from the viewpoint of hiring a vendor, think of this vendor as a long-term working partner.


Talk with them about what's feasible, practical, and realistic for your organization. Discuss your metrics for success and the overall impact you're hoping to receive from this partnership.


By looking at your potential vendor in this way you can ensure that your final choice will be giving you the best value at the lowest price technically acceptable (LPTA).


Cost is always a factor you will need to consider. But, you will need to evaluate and balance that cost against the long-term benefits this investment in your organization will yield. If you want an innovative and phenomenal program that will make a significant impact there's a cost attached to that value.


Once you've established your metrics and you've on-boarded your new vendor, it's a wise practice to check-in monthly to see if the goals for the program are being met. If they are not, this monthly check-in allows the vendor to respond to any needed changes and revise the program as needed. There should be no surprises for you or your vendor. Everyone should know where he or she stands.


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