There are a number of things that can go wrong when you sign up to delegate certain tasks to an external vendor. The quality of work may not be up to the mark, you may not get the service you were promised, and sometimes, you may just be paying more than what you bargained for. Of course, there can be umpteen number of unsavory situations that can result from a contractual agreement with an external partner. However, it is easy to avoid such situations if you prepare well in advance. To make sure that you actually benefit from such an arrangement and not regret later on, you will need to ask a few questions before actually signing the contract. Let us take a look at these questions which you should be asking before agreeing to delegate work to an external agency.
1. Are they who they claim to be?
A number of times, vendors make claims that don’t really tally up when assessed under scrutiny. Make sure that you verify every claim they make, and also ensure that your representatives do the groundwork of assessing their reputation before zeroing down on them.
Trivia: A large number of companies are hesitant about forging new deals with external vendors because they’re not sure if the claims that they make are actually genuine. These vendor assessment tips help you to evaluate your vendor’s claims.
2. Do they have the necessary infrastructure?
Before you sign that contract, you will need to make sure that your partner has the necessary infrastructure to complete your projects in time. This means, they should have adequate power backup, cloud storage facilities, fast internet connections, licensed software and exceptional hardware. They also need to have a good office so that their own employees feel motivated to do their work.
Trivia: Power fluctuations and inadequate backup facilities result in staggering delays and losses worldwide.
3. Do they have the required expertise and manpower?
It’s equally important to have a manpower that is skilled and experienced in the areas where you need assistance. Ask for employee qualifications, how they hire new recruits, and who will handle your projects. Make sure that all your answers regarding expertise are answered.
Trivia: Lack of expertise among vendors is one of the biggest reasons why vendor agreements collapse. Build a custom vendor scorecard to assess expertise.
4. What kind of customer support do they offer?
When you have problems, you should be able to seek help and assistance. This means, you should have a point of contact who will answer every query regarding your project. Make sure that a manager is assigned to handle your account, and that client support is available at all times.
Trivia: Good customer support is a hallmark of dedication to keeping clients and customers happy. Here are 75 customer service facts and statistics.
5. How do they handle and manage projects?
It is always good to connect with a vendor who is into agile methodology. Agile methodology is known to help increase productivity in almost all kinds of projects. Inquire how they manage projects and if they use agile framework to speed things up. If they don’t know about agile framework, they probably aren’t very productive and effective in managing projects.
Trivia: Agile project management skills are a crucial aspect of external vendor partnerships.
6. Do they have a good reputation?
It is not enough to just have great infrastructure and superior manpower. It’s also important to make sure that a vendor has good reputation. This ensures that their previous clients were happy with their work. Look for social reviews, employee feedback, testimonials, etc to assess what kind of reputation the agency has gathered so far.
Trivia: Agencies with a consistent record of bad reviews should raise eyebrows, and this study supports this assumption.
7. Is the contract legally sound?
There is nothing more troubling and disturbing than a contract with legal loopholes. Before you sign any contract, seek the opinion of a lawyer you trust. It is important to ensure that your contract is legally sound and that there are provisions to ensure that you can seek help when it comes to that.
Trivia: Key legal issues are often ignored by both parties but this is something that’s very important.
Don’t sign contracts in a hurry
Certainly, these aren’t the only questions you should be asking before signing a vendor agreement contract. However, these 7 questions are the most basic ones that will help you to avoid most unsavory situations. By making sure that they are who claim to be they are, and by ensuring that they have a good reputation, you will make sure that you are dealing with someone who has a certain reputation capital. It is also important to make sure that they have adequate infrastructure so that work doesn’t get delayed due to power shortages, software issues, hardware breakdown, etc.
In addition, you’ll also need to make sure that your vendor is an expert in the area they offer services in, and that they follow some sort of agile methodology and framework. An agile framework is one of the best project management techniques. Finally, make sure they offer great customer support and that everything is laid down in the contract so that you can seek legal support if such a situation arises.