Top 5 Reasons To Replace An Elearning Vendor
There was a time when consumers had no choice but to purchase their products or services from the same vendor over and over again. These days are long gone. In today’s world, consumers have access to numerous options. As technologies continue to evolve, it creates a unique environment that constantly fosters growth and innovation. And although the rate of change can be daunting for association leaders, it provides a unique opportunity for regular assessment, change and growth as new technology options become available. These innovations and opportunities are ever present in the world of eLearning where the pace of innovation shows no signs of slowing down. Therefore, as associations evolve along with their members, it is important to ensure that the education opportunities provided are fit for the digital age and meets the ever changing needs of members.
Here are the top five reasons why replacing an eLearning vendor is the right move.
1. Poor Product Quality
There are many factors that influence the outcome of a product or service. If an association and a vendor explicitly agreed to various service levels and technology requirements which are not being met by the vendor, then this is a sure reason to move on.
keep in mind that there is also the possibility that if your association has been working with a vendor for some time, the association’s increasing requirements will outgrow the existing contract and potentially what the vendor can provide. In this case, it is important to take a hard look at the service agreement and evaluate whether or not the present vendor can meet the new requirements. If the existing vendor is unable to meet the new requirements then it may be time to explore other vendor options.
2. Lack of Communication/Poor Working Relationship
When choosing the right vendor, it is important to observe their communication style. Is your point of contact responsive, patient and respectful? Did they take time to adequately answer your questions? Effective communication is key for project implementation and throughout the lifetime of the relationship. Poor communication with the vendor can lead to significant misunderstandings, frustration and can ultimately lead to the failure of a project.
When deciding on the best vendor for your project, it is advisable to build the relationship incrementally. Collaborate with them on smaller tasks to get an idea about their processes, strengths and weaknesses, and how they work and communicate. This provides opportunities to evaluate if you can trust them to manage larger tasks with more responsibilities, and to be honest with you if there are problems that will cause delays. If you recognize significant communications and other challenges during the negotiation stage with a vendor and although they may have the right product you are looking for, it is important to address these issues and to discontinue negotiations if you are not fully confident that issues will be resolved..
In addition, during project implementation, there are numerous unknown obstacles that may arise. Hence, if you do not have a good relationship or effective communication strategies with your vendor, these issues may end up leading to delays and having a negative impact on the project. That is why It is also important to look at the strategies and tools used for communication with your vendor. Is the vendor local or international? There are different strategies that should be applied based on geography. If the vendor is local, then in person meetings, planning and brainstorming sessions can make it easier to resolve conflict. If the vendor is international then resolving conflict can be a bit more difficult but not impossible. Utilizing live web sessions, phone conversations and clear email communication are critical. If your vendor lacks the skills and the tools to effectively communicate and resolve issues, then it is time to move on.
3. Failing to Make Deadlines/Delivery Delays
There are many factors that can cause delays in project deliveries so it is important for you to work with your vendor to set realistic timelines .Setting realistic timelines means that both you and the vendor have clear expectations and buffer time if unexpected issues arise. Be prepared to provide feedback to your vendor during key phases of the project as you want to avoid getting further into the project and not having the time to provide valuable feedback. Effective project planning and time management are key to the successful implementation of a project and to the longer relationship.If your vendor is unable to set realistic timelines, misses key deadlines and does not respond well to feedback, then it is time to reevaluate the agreement.
4. Poor User Experience
Having a product that is easy to navigate is a must. Having the opposite leaves members frustrated and could impact your member engagement outcome. In fact, studies show that nearly 90% of organizations state that they wish to replace vendors because they are unsatisfied with the user experience.
A vendor that focuses on a great user experience means that they are aligned with your association’s expectations. The vendor should have the right resources in place to help your internal team and your members make a smooth transition. This could include instructional tools such as how-to videos, an introductory training session, live demo or even a free trial.If your vendor does not have these resources available then it is time to re-evaluate.
5. Below-Standard Technical Support
When technical issues occur, you would like to know the problems, the solutions, and the length of time for a resolution. This is especially the case when you have a project with a tight deadline or issues that negatively impact members when a system or program is live. If your vendor fails to provide the proper help you need to fix the issue, you can be left in a situation where you feel helpless and question the reliability of the vendor and their products. Further, this can impact the public and members perception of the association. If your association consistently receives poor technical support from the vendor, then it is time to move on.