Working with Outsourced Vendors: Part 2

In part 1 those strategies work for me 80% of the time. They allow me to get what I need from vendors. This is what I do the other 20% of the time with more difficult vendors.

  1. Call the main number and try to find another way to be helped. I had a situation once where the vendor did not return my call for two days. Since the deadline was the next day I had to get it done even when they weren’t cooperating. I called the main number and explained that the person wasn’t responding to me and they found another person to help me. Perhaps I got that person in trouble, but I would have been in trouble if I didn’t make my deadline.
  2. Offer to sweeten the deal for them. Understandably people often get asked to work long hours or might have low pay at other companies. I am not above bribery. I have told support staff that if they help me before or after hours, I am happy to send them a gift basket or amazon gift card. I understand that some companies prevent their employees from receiving gifts, but many other times those gifts are appreciated by other companies. I always ask their managers if gifts are acceptable first, and when they say yes, then I offer it to the tech person to see if they can squeeze me in their schedule.
  3. Plead for mercy and an exception. Once I was asked to fix the network of the CIO at home, and of course I didn’t have the information I needed to make the upgrade successful. So when the Internet went offline, I called his ISP and they told me that it might take a few days to a week to get someone out. Well I just about cried because I would certainly be fired if that was the case. I explained to the tech person that it was the CIO of the organization I work for, and that I would personally pay double or triple or whatever charge he wanted to charge for same day service. I begged and pleaded and he felt sorry for me, and sent someone right away. I got the CIO internet working and my job was saved. Whoever you were I appreciate your help, and I hope that someone helps you out similarly in the future.
  4. Ask what you can do to make it happen. If these ways don’t work, sometimes you have to straight out ask “What do I need to do to make this happen?” It is easy for you to get ignored when you are a customer. When you ask this, you better be prepared for whatever they might ask of you. They might say “Well I can come at six in the morning, or 10 at night.” This is where I said earlier you have to be flexible. You don’t get everything you want when you ask for it, so you have to think what is the most important.
  5. Tell them that you will give them a rave review if they make this possible. It is amazing that sometimes people are motivated by a raving review. I am not above giving a raving review when someone goes above and beyond their job requirement to make something happen. I don’t ask people to go above and beyond as a matter of course, but sometimes it is required.

Getting things done is a two way street. You help them, and they help you. Be creative and you will find a way to motivate your vendors to do what you need, when you need it.