For both facilities managers and vendors alike, when a professional relationship goes sour it results ibig headaches. Whatever your vendor is supplying, making sure they are a good fit for your facility before you sign on the dotted line will go a long way in ensuring a long and successful arrangement.
Check Point One: Do they know about my facility’s industry?
Whether you’re hiring cleaners, HVAC engineers or plumbers; or buying new computer hardware or kitchen appliances, it’s vital that your prospective vendor or contractor has industry experience. While this might seem a no-brainer in certain scenarios, you’re not going to buy residential appliances for an industrial unit, in some cases, it might not be so cut and dry. Don’t be fooled into thinking, for example, that all cleaners are created equal. The cleaning needs for a building filled with accountants vary greatly to one that’s home to doctors’ offices. Make sure the vendors you hire have the appropriate skills and experience, and if the answer is no, then they probably aren’t a good fit.
Check Point Two: Are they offering unsolicited goods or services?
Don’t get me wrong; cold calling is a part of sales that isn’t going away and just because a vendor gives you an unsolicited call doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a bad fit. However, if they show up unannounced at your building without making an appointment or they are only hawking a one-size-fits all service, it’s probably a good idea to show them the door. Both of these actions signal that they are more interested in making a sale than in meeting YOUR needs and providing a solution that will fit your facility.
Check Point Three: Are the providing flexible options?
Since no two facilities are exactly alike, the services your prospective vendor is offering need to be tailored to your specific facility, industry and building users. Of course, you need to understand that they are operating a business and won’t be able to change their entire product or service just for you! But they should definitely come prepared with a flexible offering that meets all of the “must-haves” on your list. If they can’t or won’t at least try to make things work for you, then there is almost certainly someone else out there who will.
Check Point Four: Do they come with good reviews or references?
We live in a digital age where pretty much every vendor under the sun will have a digital presence. Check online for reviews and recommendations before you buy to see what others have got to say. While it’s normal to have one or two negative reviews, the largest response to the vendor should be positive. Another thing to look out for is how they deal with any negative online comments that are out there. Look for responses that seek to offer prompt follow-up or help to unhappy customers and avoid anyone who posts a snarky or aggressive riposte to bad online reviews - this doesn’t say much about their customer service.
Check Point Five: Will they work well with you?
This last checkpoint is especially important for hiring contractors. They may be the best out there, but if you won’t be able to work with them, it’s going to be a no go. Think about what’s important to you: do you mind if people are a little late so long as they get the job done or does bad timekeeping drive you up the wall? Do you like it if people joke around and have a laugh or can you only work well with those who stay focused on the task at hand? These may sound like small things but having a great rapport and good working relationship with your vendors is vital to ensure they’ll be a good fit for your team and facility in general.