Is it possible that the people/companies you choose to accept services from, as a consumer, are not the ones who are the most professional but just the loudest?
Is it possible in a digital world filled with so much noise, to choose a professional service provider and not just a noisy one?
What are the tools a service consumer needs in order to identify the professionals and get rid of the noise makers?
The digital world
If you’re a business owner in any field, you require various services and you’ve probably asked yourself at least one of these 3 questions above.
Today, with all the digital sources around us to distract us, to compete for our attention, it has become very hard for a person to determine the quality of services provided by a someone they were exposed to on Facebook (just for example).
“In your face” advertising tactics are now the only thing that differs one service provider from another and the stats say they work, so everyone is doing it.
So why not actually consume services from an “in your face” advertising company like that?
Here is where it gets tricky. I have no problem buying services from an “in your face” advertiser. This is not what this post is about. Nothing makes an “in your face” advertiser better or worse than any other service provider out there. The problem lies within the selection and sifting process itself. Your selection process is influenced by the way this advertising method works on us, and you feel compelled to decide at that very moment. That’s where the real problem is: Making a choice without sufficient data.
Research – the real tool
A healthy process for choosing the right service provider usually begins with some research. You need to understand some basic parameters in the service world you’re trying to find a provider in. You should locate some service providers in that area and get them to send you a brief or spec, a quote, and then consider the options to choose the one that is right for you. Sounds pretty much common sense, right?
Let’s run a scenario:
Your company needs a new website. You’ve done your research so you may have heard some keywords like: WordPress, SEO Friendly, CMS, Responsive design, hosting etc. You might have even gotten some offers already. Your company now sends you to an event. A sales representative comes to you. He is from a large website building company and would like to offer his services. Naturally, they sent their hotshot sales representative. He is expected to return with some new customers or at least leads. He knows all the buzzwords used in the field of website building of course. He will tell you whatever you need to hear to close the deal right there. It is your responsibility to take the time and compare and further research his offer against the others and see if he really is such a good fit for your needs. Maybe talk to some existing clients of his. Maybe further compare specs.
The same goes for online advertising. It is nice all the big advertisers now know to serve you with the ads you need at the right moment. Don’t stop your research because you saw an ad on Facebook selling just what you need when you need it. Further research is always necessary to make the right decision for you.
However, many times I see very smart people throw caution and common sense to the wind and fall for the oldest trick in the book: the buzzword flood.
The relative – Nepotism based service provider choice
It has become a global phenomenon to favor family members, friends, relatives and acquaintances over other service providers or product manufacturers. The notion of trying to help a close person is understandable. There is nothing wrong with hiring a close person to do the job as long as you find him or her the most suitable person for the job. Compromising on the level of service\product when trying to help a close person is never going to end well for you.
Here too, I see it happening too many times. Businesses compromise on what is sometimes key to their very existence (their finance management, their actual product or service and more) just because they hired incompetent or unprofessional individuals, who happen to be close to the business management personally. Once again, what should be common sense, simply isn’t there.
But what can you do? How can you, as a founder or CEO or even Marketing manager, be expected to be proficient in so many things and fields, to be able to make the right choice?
The complete list
Let’s make an ordered list of the process in order to sum up this post and give you the real tools for the job:
- Start by learning the lingo. Every time you wish to buy any service or product, learn all the words and phrases in that field so when the professionals talk to you about it, you won’t feel lost or overwhelmed.
- Learn what is important for you. If you went out to buy a family saloon but came back with a Mercedes Benz Coupe, you most likely missed something in the sale process. More is not always better. Giving you everything but not what you really need is actually giving you nothing.
- Search for a short list of service providers or product manufacturers that answer your needs. Make contact, ask for a quote, compare features and SLAs.
- After choosing a winning provider, do another research. Make sure your winning contractor has all the tools you need, talk to their clients, ask around, search the net. The information is out there. You just need to sift through it.
Remember, you can’t do everything alone so you have to rely on external service providers. These services often determine your business success. They can be the make or break for you and the amount of resources spent on finding the best service provider or product manufacturer for the job, correlates directly with the resources you save later for a poorly chosen one.
Bottom line is, noisier isn’t always better. Just because someone says all the current buzzwords doesn’t mean they actually know what it means or how to do it well. Many times the smaller, quieter, less flamboyant individuals or companies are the better choice, because while others make noise, they are busy actually putting in the work and getting better and better at what they do.