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How to choose a vendor you can trust

Rob Enderle | Aug. 15, 2016
Columnist Rob Enderle has spent decades watching and working with vendors. Here’s a look at how he chooses which vendor to go with and why.

Look for companies that place a high value on customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. Look for companies where keeping you happy is more important than finding creative ways to charge you for things you really didn’t need or to fix problems they themselves have created.  

Keeping promises

The best companies should treat you kind of like family. They get that the cost of getting a customer back is far higher than getting a customer in the first place and that keeping a customer happy is the only sure way to long-term success. This often depends heavily on the sales force as the primary interface and you’re looking for relationships which are long lasting and a sales force that has little churn.

If the firm can’t stabilize those that you depend on they can’t assure that promises made are kept because the people that made them simply won’t be there to carry them out. We are talking about behavior where the firm acts like they believe making stuff work is at least as important as closing the deal rather than disappearing after the sale with the attitude that they did you a favor by selling or giving you the product you are now struggling to implement.

This is particularly noticeable with firms that largely make their money off of advertising and seem to act like they did you a favor by giving you an extremely sweet deal that they may have lost money on.   Yes, you save some cash, but chances are you’ll spend more just maintaining the mess you bought and eventually you’ll be forced to realize that the more expensive product from a firm where your relationship is an asset and not a liability would have been the more prudent choice.

Take care of you people, and they will take care of you

There are firms that rarely do layoffs and firms that do them as a matter of course. Firms that seem to understand that practices like forced ranking destroy a company’s capability to execute and turn employees against each other and firms that treat their employees like replaceable pieces of meat.   At the end of the day it is those employees that you depend on to take care of your needs, but if they are being constantly abused they’ll focus on covering their butts rather than covering yours.

Favor firms that treat their employees like you’d like to be treated. In this scenario, you’ll likely find that you get a better overall experience. Managers and executives that are smart tend to emulate successful firms.

You have choices, choose wisely

We have choices, some of us make those choices largely on price. Unfortunately, you may find that the seemingly cheap offer from a firm that, after the purchase views you as a liability, is actually the most expensive. Before you make that crucial choice look into the hearts of the firms you are choosing between. Is the CEO a hard working executive loved by their employees or fake royalty tolerated by them? Are the executives stable and loyal or in constant churn and undependable? Are the employees taken care of so they’ll take care of you or focused on survival and barely able to take care of themselves?


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