Working with outside vendors is common for many businesses. Vendors allow businesses to focus on what they know best and deliver results to their customers. Creating a strong vendor relationship is a critical step in creating a long-term vendor partnership. Sometimes, vendors stop meeting expectations, and businesses continue to utilize their services. This mistake costs businesses more than they realize in stress, time, and finances.
Why switch vendors?
Why do businesses continue a relationship with vendors that don’t deliver? Because it’s easier. Researching and choosing a new vendor is a time-consuming process. Most business executives already have more than what they can handle on their plates. Instead of taking action, they delay the inevitable until daily operations start to take a hit.
Signs it's time to switch vendors
Here are six signs to help you identify when it’s time to switch vendors.
- They stop meeting deadlines. Deadlines are set and agreed on by both you and your vendor at the beginning of your relationship. If they start to send deliverables late on a consistent basis, schedule a meeting to discuss the delay and causes. It is acceptable to give vendors another chance, but only on a probationary status.
- They stop responding. Customer service is a vital part of business relationships. You deserve the same type of service you provide your customers. When your e-mails and phone calls go unreturned, it is a red flag that needs to be addressed immediately.
- They charge more than agreed upon. Smart businesses create and utilize a budget to remain financially on track through the year. If a vendor starts to charge you more than originally agreed upon, it impacts your bottom line. Instead of passing the increase on to your customers, find out why there is an increase. If they don’t offer an explanation or provide advance notice, their business values don’t match yours.
- High employee turnover. When you spend years working with one vendor, you become emotionally tied to them. Take notice if you start to see significant employee turnover on their part. That is a good sign they are struggling internally. Constant turnover means you are no longer working with representatives who know your company.
- Negative representative. Negative account representatives are a big sign it’s time to move on. They tend to avoid your requests for change or try to keep you in a box even though technology is changing. And they definitely don’t have your best interests in mind.
- Lack of quality. Don’t accept less than what your vendor promised. If a vendor’s supplies or services are less than acceptable, make it known that you expect better. If you settle for less, your products/services will be less than acceptable, and your customers will be unhappy.
Switching vendors is not an easy decision to make, but it is necessary if you are experiencing any of the situations discussed above. Continuing to settle negatively impacts your services, customer satisfaction, and your long-term sales. Ensure continued success by making the right vendor choices.