Signs It’s Time to Switch Vendors
Nearly every business relies on vendor relationships during the course of their day-to-day operations. However, far too many companies are settling for sub-par treatment from their vendors. This is because switching can be an arduous process that costs time, money, and is disruptive to your business. However, there comes a point when the benefits of switching far outweigh the costs. In this article, we’ll take a look at several red flags that indicate it may be time for your company to make a change.
Sign #1: Lack of Communication
Strong communication is essential in any successful partnership. One of the most obvious signs that it may be time to switch vendors is when that communication consistently breaks down. Are your calls and emails being left unreturned? Does getting in contact with your account rep feels as difficult as tracking down a fugitive? Does your account rep seemingly change from month to month? When you finally navigate through the automated maze and reach a live person, are you made to feel as if your inquiry is an interruption to their day? These are all huge red flags that are not only disrespectful, but can have an extremely negative impact on your business.
Sign #2: Broken Promises and Consistent Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. There’s no shame in that. However when those mistakes change from an occasional hiccup to a pattern of ineptitude, there’s a serious problem. Whether it’s late deliveries, problems with an order, or paperwork errors, these mistakes are an interruption to your business. Your vendors should be aiming to make your life easier, not more difficult. A good vendor will listen to your needs and set realistic expectations. If they’re not able to provide a certain service, or meet a certain request, they’ll be upfront about it rather than over-promising and under-delivering. If your vendor is constantly causing headaches, it may be time to consider making a change.
Sign #3: Unexpected Price Increases & Hidden Fees
While choosing a vendor should be about more than dollars and cents, pricing is almost always going to play a significant role. While annual price increases are not out of the ordinary, a true partner should be preparing you for those increases by explaining the exact reasoning behind them, and discussing your options moving forward. There should also be absolutely no confusion about what you’re paying for. If your invoices are as thick as phone books and need a glossary just to understand them, there’s a pretty good chance that you may be unaware of the fees and up-charges that you’re paying. If you’re finding that your vendor can’t easily explain your invoices, then you may want to consider discontinuing your relationship.
Once you’ve decided to make a change, where do you go from there? Be sure to check back next week where we’ll discuss some best practices for making the transition as easy and painless as possible.