IT vendors are vital to the success of many businesses. They provide a valuable service that empowers businesses to function smoothly and ultimately improve their bottom line.
To get the absolute most out of your vendor, you need to prioritize the relationship between your two businesses. An excellent relationship with your IT vendor can help mitigate roadblocks, contribute to smoother resolutions during crises, and secure an excellent overall experience.
So how can you ensure your relationship with your vendor is a good one?
Make sure you have the right vendor
The very first step to having a good relationship with your IT vendor is choosing the right vendor in the first place. If your vendor simply doesn’t match your needs, it’s nearly impossible for either company to be satisfied.
To ensure you’re picking the perfect company, there are a few steps to follow:
- Know your needs and what you want in a vendor.
- Devise a relationship management strategy.
- Research extensively before you make a choice.
By carefully determining your needs and thoroughly screening vendors, you’re more likely to choose a supplier with whom you can form a positive relationship.
Have a detailed SLA in place
One of the most important factors of a good IT vendor relationship is your service-level agreement (SLA). According to CIO Review, the components of an SLA are “a statement of the parties' intent, an outline of the responsibilities of each party, a statement on the expected duration of the agreement, a description of the applications and services covered by the agreement, procedures for monitoring the service levels, a schedule for remediation of outages and associated penalties, and problem-resolution procedures.”
This agreement, which you should finalize by the end of the negotiation period, should clearly define both the expectations you have for your vendors and any expectations they have for you. For example, they may want to host regular meetings or feedback sessions with you.
It’s important to remember that SLAs are a two-way street; to secure the best service possible, you must ensure you are keeping up your end of the deal.
Determine your main point of contact
Your IT vendor should get to know your entire team, but choose a single person to act as the main point of contact. Having a main point of contact cuts down on confusion about who should respond to each email, who will schedule meetings, and other time-consuming questions.
This person can handle all vendor-related administrative tasks, including:
- Answering vendor questions
- Organizing meetings
- Relaying team queries and complaints
Pay your invoice on time
No one likes a late paycheck. To avoid creating an awkward or even negative situation, pay your invoice on time.
Whether you inform your staff accountant that this is a priority or set up automatic transactions yourself, ensure this is one of the first things you do when you hire a vendor. Paying your bill on time is a crucial piece of maintaining a positive relationship between your two businesses.
From picking a well-matched vendor in the first place to paying your invoice on time, we hope these tips help you form a great relationship with your vendor.
Feel ready to find your IT perfect match? Contact us today.