Updated: Nov 23
There are a lot of characteristics to consider when choosing a provider, and everyone has different needs and preferences. Identifying what is most important to you as the end user is crucial so you can strategically search for, find, and use your best provider.
The first thing many customers think about when considering their personal needs or preferences is the cost of the product or service. Most people live within a budget and cannot exceed a defined spending amount on specific categories.
While living within a reasonable budget is wise (and recommended), this mindset sometimes makes us think, "what is the least I can pay for this product or service?" But I believe buying from the cheapest provider often results in frustration, lack of confidence, dissatisfaction with the product or service, and ultimately dissatisfaction with your project. How can we break this "buy from the cheapest provider" mindset and get what we wanted all along?
First, identify what is most important to you outside your spending on a product. There are several factors to consider.
Customer Service and Responsiveness
Do you want a provider available when you need them, answers the phone when you call, responds to emails or texts quickly, and provides comprehensive and accurate information? When purchasing a product or service that is not typical, like a new roof, it's helpful and sometimes essential to rely on a provider that can explain the process, answer questions about the product or service, and is available for follow-up questions after the product is received.
This level of service takes time, resources, and often service and technical training. These additional resources have a value and cost associated with them. Are you willing to pay a little more for excellent service and support?
Quick Turnaround Time
We are all used to paying more for expedited services, so if the lead is your most urgent need, consider a supplier who can deliver products or services the fastest. Working directly with a manufacturer is a great way to cut out processing and communication steps that may extend the lead time of a project. Also, partnering with a provider that will allow you to come to their facility and pick up the purchased goods will often reduce the time between ordering and receiving the materials.
In a world where price often gets the most attention, we sometimes forget about the quality of the service or product we purchase. How well will a defective product serve your needs? How much time will you spend working around poor quality or dealing with the return and replacement of a poorly constructed product? There is a cost associated with every minute you are not using the product or service as you intended. There is a cost for every mile you need to drive to resolve quality issues with the product.
Once you have identified your greatest need in a provider, your next step is to find one. Because we live in the information age, tracking down a group of providers offering the service your product you need is easy. Take some time to inspect various providers' websites, Google reviews, and the overall quality of their online presence. Often, if a provider has invested time and resources to build a great impression of themselves online, they have also invested in their facility, staff, and customer service experience and are worth investigating further.
After narrowing your online search to a few providers, meet them in person. Find out if they truly provide the experience of service, lead time, or quality you desire. If they are a great fit, it won't take long for them to earn your confidence and for you to determine if they can meet your needs.
Finally, execute. You have determined what is most important to you. Hopefully, you have found a great provider that goes above and beyond your expectations delivering on service, lead time, and quality. Now it's time to satisfy what you set out to accomplish in the first place. Purchase your goods or service and put your project in motion. Expect excellent communication throughout the process and a superior product delivered or available quicker than any competitor.
The reality is that you'll often save time and money when you choose the right provider, and you will experience greater satisfaction than you might have imagined. If the provider has done an exceptional job, spread the word. Let others know about your experience through a Google review. We want to encourage companies to be the best. We want the best companies to have enough business to stay in business, so the next time we need them, they'll be right there offering the best solution to your individual needs.