What’s most important to you, when choosing a vendor for a product or a service?

What’s most important to you, when choosing a vendor for a product or a service?

Several PRO Members shared their thoughts about this:

Greg Parson, Lex Resources (Collection Service)


“How long have they been in business?  What knowledge and expertise do they demonstrate?  If licensing is required, do they have it?  Do they have references?  What kind of reputation do they have?” 

John Hatch, Hatch Homes  (Residential Real Estate)

References & Reputation

“I look for on-line references on sites like Yelp and see if there’s anything on BBB (Better Business Bureau,) if it is appropriate.  A bigger value is personal recommendations from friends or associates.”

Tom Dechenne, KJK Properties (Commercial Real Estate)


“When I’m talking to a prospective vendor, most important is a TIMELY, HONEST response.  I don’t really like to be ‘sold to’ before I can explain exactly what I have inquired about.  Next is the price…. services and value are really important, but have to be within the range of realistic pricing. This type of communication does take some time, usually.”

Adebola Adewumi, GYMGUYZ (Personal Training and Fitness) and Rush Bowls in Hillsboro (Restaurant)

Customer service

“I think it is basically catering to the customer…if something goes wrong (or not well), figuring out how to make it better.  Good communication, responding promptly, etc.

I have a recent example of NOT good customer service.  At my restaurant (Rush Bowls) something was wrong with the juice machine.  The vendor that I contacted gave a price estimate which included an hourly service charge (very high, but I ok’d it).  They said they would be there a certain day …..and they were not. (And they didn’t tell me, I had to ask our staff if anyone showed up). 

When I contacted the vendor they said they would look into it.  I didn’t hear back from them.  I found out they went to the restaurant later, because they called me the next day.  They didn’t fix the issue!  And now they want to charge me another service charge to go back out and try something different.  I consider this poor customer service and would definitely not recommend this company.”

It’s interesting to note that each PRO Member mentioned very basic things.  Boiling them down, I suggest that most of us share these same commitments when choosing vendors:

  • Do they know what they’re doing?
  •  Will they get the job done?  Can I count on them?
  • Do they have a track record of happy customers?
  • Are they trustworthy?
  • Do they communicate well with me?
  •  Do they do what they say they’re going to do?  (And when they said they would?)

All of us can share stories of bad service from vendors.  Most of us can share a nightmare or two.

Stories like these show great opportunities for local, privately held businesses.  You’re able to be nimble, able to correct and innovate more quickly than big companies.

Customers are STARVING for vendors who care, who get the job done well, the first time, on time.

Think about it:  when a vendor performs as agreed, isn’t it wonderful?  (Personally, I’m inclined to hug people that care about what they’re doing and do their jobs well!)

(Because too often, it seems, what happens is non-performance, late performance, excuses and reasons INSTEAD of performance.  Or maybe long minutes of sitting on hold with bad music, followed by interaction with someone who follows a script that doesn’t apply to your situation and is untrained to serve your needs.)

As a business professional, it’s useful to consider:What IS “getting the job done,” for our customers?

Ensuring that this is happening each and every time, reliably, methodically, consistently, by EACH and EVERY person in the company…this is worth investing in.


Caryn Condon,  Catalyst Consulting Group, Inc.

Business Consultant

PRO Portland Member 


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