Hold Your Vendors To Their Promises

Sometimes you just need to let a business know if their service or product is subpar. You should always let a business know if their product or service is downright rotten. You definitely need to let your vendors and business partners know if they are not meeting your expectations or contracted requirements. This certainly goes for not only our business partners at work, such as our software and hardware vendors, service providers, and outsourced entities, but also in our everyday lives.
Today I was motivated to write a pointed letter to a restaurant that I usually enjoy visiting. Here is what I wrote…

“I have long enjoyed [restaurant’s name] tenderloin sandwiches and I get them when I need a treat for myself. Today is such a day. I just (~3:30pm) purchased a couple of tenderloin sandwiches through the drive-thru at the [address] location. I drove home (~18 miles away) and was looking forward to eating my tenderloin. However, this is by far the *WORST* tenderloin I have ever had! It really surprised me because I have never had a bad tenderloin from [restaurant’s name] before this one. However, this is literally not fit to eat; it is one completely odd-shapen piece of gristle and fat. Horrendous. I could not even cut it with my little plastic knife that was included, let alone take a bite completely through it. I’m not sure if this location got a bad batch of tenderloins, but I know this particular piece of meat should have been tossed! I feel like I wasted my money, and my intended treat has turned a day of misfortunes into just one more disappointment to add to the bunch. I am so unhappy with this sandwich, words cannot describe. Can I chance trying to buy another tenderloin sandwich from [restaurant’s name]?”

I left out the restaurant’s name because I want to give them at least 24 hours to respond. We shall see if they do…
However, I have also had occasion to bring the companies I purchase business services or products from to task for not living up to their promises or service level agreements (SLAs).
Do you hold your business partners accountable to meeting their contracted requirements? Many organizations I know let things slide because they feel they are basically at the mercy of their vendors to do business, and they don’t want to risk rocking the boat and losing services or products altogether.
I can certainly understand that fear; been there, done that!
However, by allowing our business partners to run rough shod over your business agreements, expectations and SLAs, you are establishing a precedent that they may use at some future time to get out of their responsibility for properly safeguarding the systems and information with which you’ve entrusted them. If you don’t say something now, and then something bad happens related to the issues you did not speak up about, they will likely defend themselves to try and offload responsibility by saying something like, “Well, they knew we were doing things this way, but they never told us not to, so we thought it must be okay.”
Speak to your legal counsel and contracting area about how to approach your business partners when they are not living up to your expectations. However, you will probably want to communicate with them in a manner different than how I pointed out the poor quality of my sandwich. 🙂

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