If Your Brand Matters (Hint: It does), Your Vendors Matter Too

A lot of lenders and leasors turn to third-party specialists for certain services. In today’s tough labor market, capable vendor partners can generate a substantial return on the investment in their services. But when those services touch the borrower or leasee directly, they become more than a vendor. To your customers, the vendor you choose to deal with them on your behalf isn’t a third party. It’s you. The way the customer sees it, their relationship is with you and they’ve placed their trust in you. 

So when it’s necessary for you to choose a third-party partner who may come into contact with your customers, you want to feel sure that vendor is trustworthy – fully capable of delivering the quality of experience your customers have come to expect in their dealings with you. 

Finding a vendor or partner who shares a commitment to your brand, reputation and relationships can be tricky, but it can be done. Here’s a quick list of credentials to look for so you can feel confident your vendor is as committed to your clients as you are. Any one of these is good. Two or more is very good. All three is great. 

  • SOC2 Compliance – If your vendor will have access to any personal customer information, it goes without saying that the security of that information is of paramount importance. SOC2 accreditation is one of the surest ways to determine the strength and reliability of the vendor partner’s security systems and protocols. If you’re wondering whether this really matters, just ask your colleagues in Legal and Compliance. 
  • Skill and Tenure – In a lot of specialties, nothing can replace the skill and finesse that come with professional experience. In collections and asset recovery, for example, success requires the kind of emotional intelligence that can only come with time. A customer whose account is in collection or facing a repossession doesn’t need – and is less likely to respond to – techniques that only aggravate their feelings of shame, fear or anger. Senior talent has past experience to draw from in even the most challenging of circumstances. 
  • Vendor-to-Vendor Reputation – When you engage with a vendor, especially one who will be dealing directly with your customers, you expect them to be honest, fair, and transparent. You expect good value, no matter how much you pay, and you need to feel confident they will always do the right thing. That’s why your most important vendor/partner relationships should include rigorous due diligence, including site visits and reference checks. Really good partners are really good in all their relationships. Make the effort to find out and you’ll have a partnership you can trust.  

In today’s “customer-comes-first” environment, it’s critically important to see customers’ experiences through their eyes. When circumstances dictate choosing a vendor or partner to augment your team or add special competencies, a company with a track record of exemplary customer care is your surest path to optimal outcomes and minimal risk.