It can be difficult to know what criteria you should follow when selecting a new vendor. It’s often overwhelming and confusing. This is an unnecessary hassle that we believe shouldn’t exist, yet it’s something that plagues many companies in their search for a first class, dependable managed services provider.
The main focus of this post is to educate you on how a new vendor should be evaluated and properly assess how they will benefit your business.
#1: Focus on Prevention
Fixing problems before they take you down is essential to a solid operating system.
- Find out what steps the partner takes in order to prevent problems.
- See the methods of prevention in action.
- Look at the statistics that demonstrate prevention.
- Speak with the person or team in charge.
- Ask for previous reports.
You don’t necessarily need to understand the technical details of the reports, but you’ll be able to quickly figure out whether they take the necessary steps for prevention. If they do not have someone in charge who can talk about their processes and show you reports, they do not focus on prevention.
#2: Evaluate A Vendor’s Processes
You don’t have to be technical to see if they follow processes for service delivery.
- Find out what their processes are.
- Ask them to show you their process diagrams.
- See how they train their team on the processes that you’ll have implemented in your business.
- Speak with their team about the processes they follow.
In 30 minutes you will know whether the processes really exist or if they are blowing smoke.
#3: What are Their Best Practices
Their best practices should indicate whether you’re going to have a consistent and reliable experience that caters to your needs, or if you choose a reactionary service, whichever engineer happens to land on your “problem du jour”.
- Ask how many Best Practices they have in place, and then after they answer, ask for the list.
- Look at the repository of Best Practices. It's helpful to have them show you one and walk through how it is utilized in real life situations.
- Talk to an engineer who uses some of these Best Practices to learn about his experience and gauge whether he likes it or not.
- Examine the results of their Best Practices efforts. Doing so will allow you to see whether their services are actually working well or not.
#4: Key Performance Indicators
It's important to see how a new vendor will track the performance of their team and clients against their processes and Best Practices. You should see a report that will show their performance on the specific qualities that make their business work better for them.
If they are not reporting regularly, how can you be sure that the service provided is staying up to date and has all the necessary traits to keep your business running smoothly?
Here are the performance indicators you should look for:
- Same-day close-rate for service tickets.
- Average resolution time.
- Tickets per endpoint supported.
Look for a comprehensive report that shows you data and statistics for ALL areas of the service experience. If they cannot produce a comprehensive report that has months of history, they’re more likely to be limited in tracking the service experience for you.
Just talking about how they “plan” to deliver service will almost always end up benefiting you because it gives a good predictor of how the service will be.
#5: Get References
The last step is to speak with clients who are similar to you in size and productivity. Here are some guidelines to follow in order to get a better idea of the client's experience with the vendor:
- Compare what you heard from the vendor with what the reference tells you.
- Pick your hot button points to review and explore this with the reference. Make sure you review negative comments with the vendor afterwards.
For example, our clients might complain that quotes in non-emergency situations can take a week or two to get back. This is correct. It is an intentional result of our Best Practice for Technology Refreshment and our quoting process.
The Right Vendor Makes A Huge Difference
MotherG validates the request against the client’s technology infrastructure to ensure we quote them the best solution and that we plan the deployment carefully to ensure we do not disrupt their operations, or install them something that won’t work properly.
When we are courting new clients, we carefully evaluate their pain points and business drivers. We expect to be partners for many years. Their current problems will evolve because technology changes very quickly. What’s best today will be antiquated in a couple short years.
The most important thing is finding a partner who has the best internal processes, Best Practices, and best tools accompanied by team members who can execute with a passion for excellent service to the client.