Choosing a new contact center vendor is a significant undertaking. There are complexities involved with integrating technology, orchestrating knowledge transfer and forging a strong partnership with a contractor. Depending on the size of your operation, there may be a sizable investment at stake. Most important, your customer experience depends on you finding a competent vendor and executing a seamless cutover to their services.

These are all reasons for entering into the vendor selection process with a great deal of thought and structure. Following these five tips will help you do just that.

1. Identify what’s important.

Before you even begin the selection process, you should identify what’s important to your organization. For example, do you want a vendor who’s great at selling? Is vendor location important? What about cultural compatibility? Is access to realtime performance data a priority? Having this defined will help you target potential partners as well as develop your vendor scoring criteria. Your priorities should also be communicated to the vendors at the beginning of the process so they can tell you how they meet the criteria. Knowing what you want beforehand will help you make an objective decision.

2. Follow a disciplined methodology.

This isn’t the time to wing it. A structured methodology will help you get to a well-informed decision. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use a complex RFP process. But at the very least, your selection team needs to be producing and using tools such as timelines, detailed operational and technical requirements, and vendor selection criteria. A good methodology will address the who, what, where, when and how of your vendor selection efforts.

3. Assemble the right team and gain commitment.

Your project team should include representatives from every functional group that will be impacted by cutting over to the new vendor. This may include operations, marketing, fulfillment and IT. There should be one point person designated as the project manager. The time commitment required from everyone will depend on the size of the effort and should be estimated at the beginning of the project. It’s critical to get buy in from the team members and their managers to honor those time commitments, otherwise you may find your team members being allocated to other priorities midway through your vendor selection process.

4. Give yourself plenty of time.

If you’re able to, bake in plenty of time for this process. Documenting requirements, back-and-forth communications with vendors, site visits and contract negotiations all eat up time. Also, your timeline needs to take into consideration your budgeting cycle as well as your (and the vendors’) peak seasons. Trying to do vendor selection during the Christmas rush probably won’t produce optimal results.

5; .Visit your top 3 candidates.

Or, at the very least, visit your finalist before you sign the contract. This will provide you with a number of data points. You get a preview of how your new partner will treat you. You get a sense of their culture. You get to assess some of their key leaders. And you get to evaluate the quality of their facilities. Meeting with your new teammates face-to-face will help the relationship start off on the right foot. The investment in those travel expenses is well worth it.

Selecting a new contact vendor doesn’t need to be a daunting undertaking. Following these best practice tips will have you well on your to finding your next partner.

The Results Companies just might be your next trusted partner. Contact us at communications@resultstel.com to find out how we can deliver on your priorities.