Choosing A New Vendor? Be Sure to Look For This

Posted October 3, 2018

4 min read

Choosing a new partner to work with? Part of that process includes a thorough evaluation of their product or service. Another part of the selection process might include doing research about their reputation and asking peers about their experience with that company.

Those are a few ways to be sure you select the right vendor, but here are 4 other critical factors you’ll want to look for as well:

1. Do they have your best interest in mind?

At the recent INBOUND Conference, Dharmesh Shah, Cofounder and CTO of HubSpot, talked about this very concept: how great companies always put the customer first.

This isn’t just the trendy version of this idea, he explained. “It’s the trendy versus truth problem. It’s trendy to say, ‘We’re customer obsessed.’ Truth is, companies are often self-obsessed,” he said.

When selecting a vendor, look for a company that has strong evidence you are the top priority. They may say they are focused on the customer, but what proof do you have they will put you first?

Dharmesh gave a few examples of what it looks like when a company is focused on the customer:

  • They respect the customer, and do right by the customer.
  • They solve for the customers’ success, not necessarily their own success.
  • They earn the customers’ attention; they don’t steal it.
  • When mistakes are made, they own up to it.

2. How will they help you achieve success?

The way a company treats you after you’ve entered into an agreement with them can be eye-opening. Don’t be afraid to ask your potential vendor what the roadmap to success looks like when you start working with them. That journey also includes what happens after you have been onboarded.

What you’ll want to see: a customer success team (or process) is in place to help you solve problems and help you successfully use their offering. You want that focus on your success to be present from the start, and in the future as your funeral home grows.

Ideally, you’ll want to work with a customer success team that:

  • Strives to get to know you so that can better serve you;
  • Works with you how and when you want;
  • Gives you a clear path to an outcome (or outcomes) you both agree on;
  • Is proactive rather than reactive in working with you;
  • Can be flexible and adaptable to your needs;
  • Can continue to grow and evolve with your business as you grow.

3. Do they block the exit?

It seems counter-intuitive to look into ending a business agreement before entering one, but it’s worth your time to look into what happens if you choose to stop working with a certain vendor.

Ask vendors what is involved if you were to stop doing business with them. Do they keep your data or make it hard for you to access your own data? Do they act in ways that keep you “trapped” and tied to their business?

Or, in contrast to this approach, do they actually make it easy and simple to transfer your account to another provider, if you do want to do so? As Dharmesh said at the INBOUND Conference, you want to avoid working with a company that “blocks the exit.”

4. Are they transparent?

When it comes to sharing information that can benefit you, transparency amplifies trust. It can also be the foundation for a great relationship, so it’s important to select a vendor that is willing to have that kind of openness and transparency with you.

For example: If you were to enter into an agreement with a company, are they clear and honest at what that agreement really includes? Or is the pricing structure confusing and elusive? Again, this is one more signal about whether or not a company really appreciates and values you.

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