By James Connors
Director at Quetzel
For the next edition of our Tech editorial series, one of our guest tech experts, James Connors, focusses on how to choose the right technology vendor for your business. As businesses strive to provide exceptional customer experiences and enhance their contact centre operations, the selection of technology vendors becomes a critical decision.
There is information readily available from all areas so one of the struggles I see is, how do you cut through the noise and understand who the best technology platforms are, do they align with what you are looking for and how do you know they’re credible?
Research bodies like Gartner, Forrester and G2 exist and can offer ideas based off their ranking systems which comes from customer feedback via surveys. And as much as word of mouth does come into play, the vendor selection process involves thorough consideration and evaluation of multiple criteria, taking into account the impact on outsourcing engagements and overall performance.
Effective vendor evaluation requires attention to various factors.
Stability via uptime statistics, quality, and reputation play a significant role in determining the right vendor. Organisations should assess the vendor’s track record, customer feedback, and industry reputation to ensure a fruitful relationship – on top of the research routes already mentioned, platforms like Truspilot or Glassdoor can be used as sounding boards due to brutally honest user feedback.
Additionally, organisations should consider the vendor’s reliability, technical competence, financial stability, and feature capabilities. These factors are essential in determining the suitability of technology vendors and their ability to meet your strategic objectives and long-term goals. Furthermore, it is important to evaluate the vendor’s knowledge and experience in the industry.
An in-depth understanding of the contact centre technology space, including trends, challenges, and best practices, is crucial for a vendor to effectively address the unique requirements of a customer experience and contact centre technology. I would say this counts not just for the organisations you engage as they will have pre-built branded content showing you why they’re a great choice but directly the team you speak to in the process, are they industry veterans who know how to take businesses through this change process or are they new to the industry/ not experienced with being part of these strategic projects.
Vendor selection should also include an assessment of the vendor’s willingness to negotiate and work collaboratively with your organisation, this part typically comes once you’re close to picking your favoured solution. I would therefore suggest throwing out a couple of questions relating to the commercials and legals to gauge their reaction. This is important as it ensures that the vendor is flexible and willing to adapt to the specific needs and preferences of your organisation.
Moreover, the ability of a vendor to set up measurement systems is crucial for evaluating performance and ensuring continuous improvement. This discussion should arise in the form of post-sale support – how will they look after your company to ensure long-term success? This can be a dedicated point of contact via account management or customer success and a 24/7 ‘follow the sun’ support model. I would advise it is clarified when evaluating your options if this is part of the agreement or an additional charge, this can be done in a flat fee or as a percentage of your spend. This can be vital as if this isn’t clear and you are unhappy with how the vendor engages with you, this could lead to going back out to market once your contract comes to an end.
The criteria for vendor selection should also encompass reputation, technical capability, cost-effectiveness, and previous successful engagements (customer case studies and referrals). During the vendor evaluation process, organisations should thoroughly research potential vendors and gather information on their reputation within the industry. Additionally, organisations should consider the vendor’s experience and technical expertise in handling similar projects or clients – this can be demonstrated via customer stories i.e., what was their challenges and goals, what did the vendor do to help then and what measurable ROI’s came from the organisation choosing to work with them.
By considering these criteria, organisations can make informed decisions about which vendors are the real deal and which ones aren’t.
The decision to select the right technology partner and solution is critical as it has been found to have a positive impact on performance improvement and can also affect the overall performance of the company as assessed by the market.
Selecting the right vendor for customer experience and contact centre technology is a strategic decision that requires careful consideration of various factors. Criteria such as reliability and technical competence are important when selecting a vendor for customer experience and contact centre technology. Financial stability feature capability and technology roadmap should also be considered, as they reflect the vendor’s ability to sustain their operations and deliver quality products and services.
Ultimately, the selected vendor should align with your needs and complement your company culture. In order to ensure an effective vendor selection process, organisations should establish clear and specific criteria for evaluating potential vendors.
One opposing argument is that reputation alone may not guarantee a successful vendor-client relationship. It is possible for a vendor to have a strong reputation in the industry but not be the right fit for a specific organisation’s needs. Organisations should look beyond reputation and consider factors such as the vendor’s ability to understand and align with their strategic objectives.
This same logic should also be applied to technical competency, feature capability and post-sale support to make sure you aren’t sold on areas that a vendor is strong in but the wider picture across all factors means they aren’t as suited to your business as they want you to believe.
Furthermore, the vendor selection process is complex and involves conflicting multiple criteria, making it necessary for organisations to pay close attention to the evaluation process. According to industry experts, reputation, cost, previous contacts, and technical capability are commonly used criteria for selecting outsourcing contractors.
In conclusion, the selection of a suitable technology platform and vendor is a challenging task, making the right choice requires a comprehensive evaluation process, taking steps to ensure the solution delivers anticipated results and also making sure you’ve chosen a vendor you can build a relationship with.
As a result, decision makers must devote cognitive effort to evaluating the criteria and alternatives in order to make an informed decision, finding a solution and vendor you can trust and grow with over a long period to ensure mutual success.
Director at Quetzel