Choosing the right facilities management software and vendor is really just the beginning. Every day thereafter, you have an opportunity to build on that relationship and make it stronger, which ultimately benefits the vendor, you, and everyone in your company.
Great FMs know the responsibility and influence that's in their hands. So if you find yourself with a vendor problem, here are a few steps that you can take to ensure you're doing everything right on your side of the bargain.
Perhaps the best way to help your vendor help you is by providing a clear outline of your goals. Inc. magazine explains that when a vendor understands what's most important to you, he can focus the right amount of attention there. You might invite him to attend meetings so he can really get a feel for your business and its culture.
You chose your FM software because it suited your needs. But you should also remember that there are limitations to everything. If you expect certain functions and features from software that isn't capable, everyone will be disappointed. Discuss software performance with your vendor, and he can probably offer solutions. It might be as simple as customizing a few features.
Nothing creates frustration quite like miscommunication, so everything should be conveyed in writing. When discussing your business in person or on the telephone, take careful notes and clarify everything with your vendor later. He might have misunderstood a pivotal point, or you might have inadvertently omitted a crucial element that a hard copy would clear up in moments.
From a vendor's perspective, one primary point of contact makes life a lot easier. When he speaks with someone different each time he calls, the message might not stay as focused as it would when working with one manager. You can avoid missed messages, as well as muddled ones, by having one designee.
Communication is important for any relationship. Schedule regular meetings and systems checkups, and provide progress reports to your vendor so that a small issue doesn't have the chance to grow into a big problem before it's handled. When you keep him in the loop, your vendor might also spot patterns and the potential for problems that you wouldn't recognize.
You expect your vendor to fulfill all of his promises, so always be mindful of your side of the bargain. Intuit suggests that if your vendor's needs aren't clear, you should ask. And it goes without saying that part of the bargain includes paying him on time.
FM software is only as good as the hardware that's running it. Keep your systems up to date, and replace outdated hardware in a timely manner. That's one of the best ways to get top performance and keep everything running smoothly.
All vendor relationships are bound to hit a bump in the road at some point or another. But pointing fingers and issuing blame doesn't help anyone, and it could harm your business. Even if the vendor made a mistake, professional courtesy goes a long, very long way. It can help you resolve issues, instead of voiding the relationship altogether.
Intuit says referrals are a surefire way to any vendor's heart. If you're happy with the FM software and satisfied with your vendor, tell others and help send him more business. You might be frustrated one day and feel no inspiration to refer. But when your vendor comes through and resolves your issues, that's a perfect reason to return the favor.
Any relationship can get rocky. And when your facility management relies on software that's not fitting the bill, it's only natural to glare at the vendor. Instead of walking away or worse, pointing fingers, take a moment and think about what you can do to help. He wants to keep your business. If you let him, everyone will be much happier.
George joined iOffice in February of 2006 as a Regional Account Manager, then served as the Director of Customer Support, and now is our Channel Account Executive in Business Development. George serves our current and future channel partner customers, seeking solutions that best fit their workspace needs.