6 steps to engage and manage a vendor who isn’t meeting your standards


During the sales process, every vendor sounds great. They have case studies, they have great-looking material, they talk like experts and everything is good. But nothing is as simple as it looks in the beginning.

There are always additional challenges. The true test of a service provider, or any vendor, is how they respond to those changes and challenges. Do they put you, the customer, first or do they get slow and unresponsive? If you have a vendor who isn’t meeting your needs, but you’re locked into a contract that makes it cost-prohibitive to leave, these steps will help you reduce some of the friction in the relationship, while providing a better outcome for your company.

Make sure the current vendor feels your pain

You might be tempted to dismiss a recommendation that a vendor “feel your pain” as psychobabble. Yet it is critically important. Like a medical doctor with poor bedside manner, a vendor can be distant and too clinically objective. But your IT challenges are unique and could be life-or-death business matters. A bad vendor can also be guilty of malpractice, failing to recognize symptoms and take appropriate actions.

Signs that your relationship with a vendor or service provider is not going well are usually evident. Your remote hands requests have been repeatedly botched; the data center has had multiple outages within a short period of time; network connectivity is unreliable and falling short of expectations. If you see these or other telltale signs and/or have the gut feeling that your vendor’s team lacks appropriate empathy, try reeling them back with six specific demands.

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