What is the biggest reason that people leave a current vendor? Is it price? No. Is it functionality? No. According to several recent studies, the biggest reason people stop doing business with a company is due to poor customer service.
I always say if you sell a dollar, it may or may not make it to the bottom line. But if you save a dollar, it makes a direct impact. That is why the vendors that you choose to support your business are essential to your success. Without the right vendors in place, you will be spending your time on troubleshooting, defects and re-work, which just erodes profits. Having the right vendor partners in place should be a key factor in the growth strategy for your agency. Not only will your strategic vendor provide you with the product and service that you need, they become a partner that is invaluable to your business. They become an important source of market information and identify any new promising opportunities for you. If your current vendor isn’t providing you ways to grow your agency and cut both direct and indirect costs, you should consider going back out to market.
If you were thinking to yourself that you cannot afford to go back out into the market, I would say that you could no longer afford not to. Experts say that the cost of poor vendor quality may equal more than 10% of an organization’s revenue. So partnering with the right strategic vendor not only makes good long-term financial sense but also is a smart risk mitigation strategy. Think of the significant costs associated with poor vendor performance:
- Credibility and Reputation
- Lost productivity – employee time diverted to other tasks, overtime
- Not to mention, the expenses associated with the cost of having to switch vendors
The most important criteria when evaluating the EMR market and searching for that strategic partner is customer service and support. If you are purely price, you are not looking at the big strategic picture. Your decision should be setting up your agency for long term growth and success. That’s not to say that you should buy the most expensive product, of course not. You want to evaluate the supply base and achieve fair market pricing. There is more to the cost of doing business than just the invoice pricing.
You want to find a supplier that you can rely on. And I just would like to note that bigger is not always better. I have always found best of breed supplier will focus more attention on their customers and provide better service. It’s the old adage, “Do you want to be a big fish in a smaller pond or a small fish in a larger pond?” So, how do you measure reliability? First of all, you look at how long vendors have been in business. Those that have been in business a longer period of time tend to pose less of a risk. Also, and most important, is the reputation that a vendor has with their customers. This is a great indicator of stability and reliability. To find this information, you can call current customers for their feedback. A great resource is also KLAS Research. It is a compilation of the vendor’s voice of the customer. By interviewing current customers or utilizing KLAS, you get insight into how the vendor will treat you once they have you as a customer. You will know if their guarantees during the evaluation process are real or just empty promises. Identify those vendors that share the core values of your business. This is a good starting place for evaluating if you will headed down the path of a relationship with mutual trust and respect. From customer feedback it will become clear if the vendor is committed to their employees, customers and quality.
This isn’t to say you should forgo feature/function. Make advanced features a priority in your criteria matrix such as interoperability and ICD-10 compliance. Do not get stuck in the “but we do it this way now” vortex. This will only delay your process and you may miss out on the features/function and partner that is best for the strategic growth of your agency. Switching software always comes with a certain amount of change but the right partner will help you manage that change in a way that will have minimal impact on your staff.
Learn more about this and other important topics at the 2015 NAHC Annual Conference and Expo. Stop by Booth#409 and meet the team at Thornberry!