‘All that glitters is not gold.’ Proverb The attractive external appearance of something is not a reliable indication of its true nature
What we are getting at is the inherent nature of some vendors to over-sell and under-deliver. It hurts us all. We hear it regularly during discussions with client prospects. Some seem a bit leery, often liking what they hear at face value, but still having some lingering trepidation on getting to ‘YES.’ When that happens, our instincts within Informative Research are to delve deeper and learn more. So, here is what we have found:
Service quality ranks as high as product innovation and value-add. Lenders expect their suppliers to be there for them after the sale — reliable products backed by impeccable service
Far too often, we find ourselves ‘paying for the sins’ of those that came before us — suppliers that were long on promises and short on post-sale service
Leaders making sourcing decisions prefer to keep it simple: ‘Do what you promise, be a true partner.’
Something we have also learned internally… During job interviews, the most successful salespeople tend to ask a lot of questions about operational efficiency, service levels and metrics, as well as Net Promoter Scores (e.g., customer satisfaction). Why? These sales professionals clearly understand the imperative of service quality and how it links to their ability to sell products and services, not to mention growing client relationships with cross-sell and new product launches. When clients begin to like and trust you, they will even become promoters, recommending your product and/or service to affiliate companies and industry friends.
Conversely, clients are likely to tell even more people about poor experiences.
Building Products vs. Building a Service Infrastructure
Don’t get me wrong, it takes real talent to design and launch new products continually, and product engineers are often brilliant. Nevertheless, every organization’s larger challenge is to build a service and support infrastructure, not just for a single product, but the entire portfolio of the company’s solutions and services. That is an incredibly difficult task, especially given the myriad of moving targets surrounding:
Legal, regulatory and compliance updates
Recruiting and staffing
Initial and ongoing training
Forecasting inbound client inquiries and service needs
Oh, and there is also the current challenge of suddenly making all of this happen with a newly deployed work from home staffing model. According to Scott Roller, Co-Founder of Vendor Surf, and former Director of Vendor Management at a Top-5 mortgage bank, his vendor due diligence process was heavily focused on the back-end customer support infrastructure. “Being from Missouri, The Show-Me State, I required more than just hearing about product and service greatness — where seeing was believing,” Roller said. “Time spent on reviewing implementations and performance results against lender SLAs was just about equal to that of reviewing products,” he added.
Roller’s perspective rings true at Informative Research, where everything we do has to lead to being Easy To Do Business With, from initial marketing and sales, through implementation and ongoing account management and service. We do NOT want to be your vendor — we aspire every day to be the best PARTNER we can be. Anyone can be a mere vendor.
Our solutions are proven: Customer Acquisition, Origination, Verifications and Portfolio Retention.
Our service is unmatched. We totally get the diversity in size, scope and personality of our clients and their staff, which is why we have a straightforward multi-channel support model, featuring:
Traditional phone and email support
Click 2 Chat — Connect with a real support member within a minute
Action Center — Client portal to a better workflow; Instant action
Info Center — Access to useful information, always at your fingertips
"Lights Out" Integrations— efficiently integrate the software you already use
In closing, ponder this. According to research by B2B International, only 14% of large B2B companies are truly customer-centric, suggesting the customer experience is deeply ingrained in the company culture. Further, just 31% of B2B firms are engaged with customer centricity in that the customer experience is a core component of their organization’s strategy, although not yet ingrained in the company culture.
Translation… Are you kidding me? Sixty-nine percent don’t even have service in their strategy?!?! That is absolutely insane. And so are we — insanely focused on service. It defines Informative Research. Give us a try, let us prove it.