Here are 3 key initiatives you need to establish with your vendor to get the outstanding service you’re really looking for…
- Give your vendor a baseline client satisfaction score. Evaluating your vendors performance with a number (1-10) can be a powerful way to communicate where things are and how much improvement needs to be made. Share with them their score on overall service, responsiveness, communication, etc., to establish a baseline number of client satisfaction. This exercise forces you to put a number to your impression of the service and allows for real conversations around improvements and expectations to ensue.
- Regular Reports – Look ahead not behind. Project report-outs typically utilize, and stick to, a “rear view mirror” approach: “This is what happened. Here’s what went well. Looking back should be the shortest part of the report. The real value is in harnessing past outcomes to trouble-shoot and fix minor problems before they become bigger issues in the future. A predictive view that avoids a costly fix is a much stronger benchmark of excellence than a service provider giving a standard overview of the past 3 months. Introduce this concept as an expectation before your vendor begins the assignment.
- Incentivize for Productivity and Process Improvement. Most job scopes merely lay out the basics of a vendor’s contract based on the parameters of the RFP and traditional project workflow. What if your service provider were actually able to improve upon the overall approach to servicing your account in ways that increased productivity, client service and your ROI? Setting up a metric that improves process and productivity is worth noting and even incentivizing if you can. One reward for innovation is an incremental extension of the contract.
In all cases, setting specific goals for your vendors will always result in better communication with and a stronger performance from your service providers.