Is Your Vendor Working for You? When It’s Time to Change

Image via Flickr by raymond_whittaker

Businesses build a number of vendor relationships over time, and it’s easy to stick with the same one for year after year, even when they’re not meeting your needs. Ask yourself these questions to determine if it might be time for a change.

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Is Your Vendor Becoming Unreliable?

Every business has times when customer service lags due to over-booking or staff shortages. Often, this is an indication of some growing pains within the business, and the problem is a temporary one. If you’ve had an overall positive experience with your vendor, yet they experience a temporary drop in their reliability, it may not be cause to let them go. If, however, the problem continues and it’s affecting your ability to get your job done, it’s probably time to move on.

Is Your Vendor Excessively Increasing Prices?

It’s perfectly normal for vendors to raise their prices from time to time in response to inflation. For example, delivery costs are greater now due to the higher prices for fuel to transport their goods. But if your vendor whacks you with an excessive price hike or you notice a gradual increase in prices over time that seems too high, it’s time to shop around for a more reasonably priced one.

Is Your Vendor Keeping Quality Consistent?

Many businesses fall into the temptation to start lowering their quality, giving them higher profit margins without actually raising prices. If you notice a drop in the quality of the goods or services you’re receiving, this is probably what’s happening. Talk to the vendor and ask why the quality is lower than what you believe you’re paying for. If they don’t intend to improve quality, shop for a vendor who can offer consistent quality at a reasonable price.

Is Your Vendor Offering the Latest Innovations?

Whether your vendor is offering snacks for the break room or widgets for your high-tech machinery, there are always new innovations coming along. Is your vendor keeping up with the times? If you’re still being offered the outdated products or services you received from them five years ago, find out if they plan to offer new innovations. You may need to move on to another vendor to get the latest technologies you seek.

Is Your Vendor Openly Communicating With You?

All of the issues above can be addressed with good communications. Most vendors will notify their customers about changes or difficulties without being asked. Reputable companies will also let you know what you can expect in terms of improvements and when you can expect it to happen. If your vendor isn’t willing to work with you openly to find a solution to your concerns, find one who will.

If there’s any benefit to our struggling economy, it’s that the customer has the upper hand. It’s time-consuming and costly to find new customers, so most vendors are willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy their existing client base. If your current vendor isn’t meeting the needs of your business, there are plenty out there willing to step up and do it right. [/show_to]

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