So, how do you ‘fix’ a broken relationship? I have found that it is not easy and certainly it does not happen in a vacuum.
As a client, you need to be forthcoming with your vendor and outline your expectations. They have to be responsive and a willing partner. Unfortunately, vendors aren’t nearly as motivated on the service side as they are on the sales side. They know that a conversion is a huge barrier to overcome and it always remains in favor of retaining the incumbent.
It’s a buyers’ market. Sometimes, that seems to be lost on the account management side for major vendors. While the sales side of these organizations is open to just about anything to gain the business, the account management team seems at times unwilling to do what it takes to retain clients.
When you speak to the competition all sorts of promises will be made. Regardless of who is making the promises, everything should be put in writing in the contract.
On several occasions I’ve requested a written service plan from the incumbent vendor designed to ‘fix’ the relationship. Each service plan is crafted specifically to address the issues at hand. In many cases, the vendor also needs to include an operational review to insure the installed products and services are performing optimally. And similarly, I have defined the servicing concepts available from the competition. All of this was done with the understanding that it would become a contractual commitment. Make sure you indicate upfront that all commitments will be in writing and part of the agreement. Words are cheap, until they appear in a contract.