I remember joining a new company as a new CIO early in my career. It was a small company and my first CIO position. I discovered quickly I had a lot to learn.
One day soon after my start we experienced a problem with one of our key business applications and needed vendor support to resolve the problem. When we began looking for “who to call” and a phone number, none of the staff seemed to be able to find the information.
The application was a mission critical application meaning much of our company employees depended upon it to do their jobs and to support our business. It had client service ramifications as well as cash flow implications.
Well, you can guess that we started feeling the pressure pretty quickly because the system was down and we needed to escalate vendor support, yet we didn’t seem to know who to call or have their phone number.
The good news is that we finally discovered what we needed by reviewing a contract to get a phone number. Once the vendor got involved we were able to resolve the problem fairly quickly.
From that moment, I decided to never let something like this happen to me again. Nothing bothers me more than to be in a situation where we need help and don’t know who to call. When you have a problem is not the time you want to go scurrying around to find your vendor’s contact information.
When you join a new company or assume additional responsibilities, make it a priority to quantify your mission critical systems (hardware and software) and list the vendor information you might need to escalate support.
Use a simple Vendor Support Contact List to identify your key vendors and the contact information you will most likely need at some point. Download the sample version I use and modify it for your specific needs.
Give this list to other managers and to your Help Desk.
Something else you should do, , , take your mission critical vendors to lunch or have them take you to lunch. You need to get to know them and you want them to know you. If you do need to escalate a support call to them, it helps when they know who you are, and I believe they will tend to respond better for you.
Download my vendor contact list template for free here!
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