Third party software is like a box of chocolates. Once you buy them, they quickly get stale and can get quite messy.
OK, so this isn’t always the case. However, often you can have buyer’s remorse when it comes to buying software or a service from a vendor. Of course it’s all roses during the courtship phase; they tell you how much better and cheaper they are then their competitors, how reliable they are, and how we’ll see tremendous growth by using their product. It’s almost like it’s their job to sell us something.
Of course we do our research, including price comparisons, competitor research, and cost/benefit analysis, but in the end you really do have to make a decision without first hand experience. Sometimes these vendors work out great, and we get more than we bargained for and that leads to a great experience for all involved. But sometimes things aren’t all they are cracked up to be, and you could end up with something you can’t fully utilize, something that doesn’t work like it is supposed to, or something that flat out is a waste of money.
So for all vendors and potential vendors out there, here are a few suggestions that the decision makers want out of a partner.
- Get to the point - My time is valuable. Don’t waste my time with glossy presentations that offer little real data I need to make an informed decision. Give me useful facts.
- Don’t belittle your competitors - Rest assured we have or will research them and they are going to say the same things about you. Feel free to point out solid differences that apply to our situation, but don’t get petty.
- Deliver as promised - Often the salesperson’s job is to get the sale and it is someone else’s job to deliver. If you are willing to say it, put it in writing. We have been burned before and don’t care for your “I’m pretty sure we can do that” or “It should be no problem”. I may like you and I may trust you, but forgive me if I don’t take your word for it.
- Keep us informed - Have a scheduled downtime? Tell us in advance. Making a major upgrade? Gee, that would have been nice to know yesterday. You’d be surprised how forgiving we are if we are kept in the loop. A major problem discussed in advance is better than a minor one that surprises us.
- Work with us - Value us as a current customer or risk losing us at the end of our contract. We may not be your biggest client, but we have needs too. Be flexible when you can. A minor sticking point on your end could make a major difference to us.
- Be supportive - Specifically with your technical support. Have a clear, concise way for us to get answers to our questions. Don’t put us in the support ticket loop and wait for us to call three times before you escalate it. We don’t want to waste your time or ours.
Fortunately, we have many outstanding third party partners that we love to tout. Hopefully a peek into the mind on other side of the equation can be of use to those of you who are or hope to be vendors to eCommerce companies.