Article | 2 min read

Choose wisely: What to ask a potential vendor

By Brianne Kimmel

Last updated November 21, 2017

Even when you’re anxious to leave a software or service behind, making the change to a new customer service solution can be hard. First, you’ve got to find the right replacement and then oversee the actual switch and migration of data—all without letting your customers feel the pain.

Add to that, committing to a new vendor is daunting, even as you know that the relationship doesn’t have to The One. (Though wouldn’t it be nice if it was?) Inherent in the process is also a commitment to your support team: that you’ll make their lives easier and that this change will stick, at least for awhile, as well as to your leadership team. They’ll want to know: Will the new software be a costly mistake, or will it save the business time and money? What’s the impact on customer happiness?

Here at Zendesk, we acknowledge that the Request For Proposal (RFP) and vendor evaluation process can be painful. Evaluating a vendor can take a few weeks to three months, depending on your company size and the number of stakeholders involved in the decision process. And while the move to the cloud can enable more change, faster, this can be also be a double-edged sword when you haven’t put in adequate time to evaluate a vendor. Just a few weeks ago, CIO magazine reported that technology budgets have been growing over the past five years, but “only one in 10 IT leaders feel ‘highly satisfied’ with the performance of their most strategic vendors.” So companies are out there spending, but that doesn’t guarantee a long-term commitment to a vendor.

Ease the RFP process

We recently came up with a comprehensive list of questions to help you select the right customer service vendor for your business needs. As biased as we are about our solution, a bad vendor and product fit doesn’t serve anyone. We also realized that as immersed as we are in customer service and the customer experience, our insights may shed some light on things you might not think or even know to ask.

Then we tried to make the vendor selection process even easier—and more fun. So we’ve taken our list and turned it into a short, interactive experience (just 3 clicks) to help prioritize which of the 50-plus questions are most important to ask based on your criteria and goals.

It may be that you already know what you want from your next support solution, but maybe you’re not sure. Either way, take the quiz to help clarify what matters most to you—and what to ask so that you can ensure the best outcome.

Take the quiz to make sure you’re armed with knowledge before you make the leap—err, switch.