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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.