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Forewarned is Forearmed: Let the Buyer Beware

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Okay … maybe not an actual crime … but EDI service providers shouldn’t be able to lie to their customers with impunity. For most customers, EDI plays an important role in their business and that ‘bad EDI service’ can negatively impact them in significant ways.

If you’re like us at Integral Group – you strive to offer a good product or service at a fair price. Perhaps because of that, you become sensitized to competitors in your industry who don’t share the same business integrity. That’s how we feel about EDI service providers: We’ve been part of the EDI community since the beginning (over 35 years) and feel a vested interest in what’s going on in our industry. While we’re generally loath to speak against a competitor’s practices, we feel we have to weigh that against customer’s rights to be able to use EDI to help their businesses.

At Integral Group our priority is to do a good job for you – every day. There are other EDI service providers, however, that tell you what you want to hear to get your business – and then promptly default on those promises.

We’ve compiled a list of pain points that our competitors’ customers have shared with us. If you are feeling some of this pain, perhaps you can use this as a checklist to shop for a new supplier.
Financial
Your balance sheet drives your business, so this is a critical factor
Look into:
  • Overall costs
  • Additional charges
  • Costs increasing dramatically at the end of the contract term
  • Lack of transparency
Support and Process
A solution is no help to you if your team can’t use it
Investigate:
Support:
  • How available support is to you – is it easy to get technical assistance
  • Response time – how quickly will a support team member pick up the phone
  • Resolution time – once you’ve reached support, is issue ownership assumed and the problem resolved promptly
Process:
  • Will your team have access to ongoing training as required
  • How convenient and intuitive is the platform or portal – a challenging interface will slow down work
  • Can the process be tweaked for your needs
Commitment to Your Success
Are the best interests of your company being served
Look out for:
  • Bullies – EDI providers that tell you what you must do without advising you of the actual options available
  • Allegiance – EDI providers whose focus is on big retail to the detriment of their smaller supplier customers
  • Deliverables – EDI providers who commit to special projects, accept a partial payment, don’t complete the work yet also do not return the money paid
  • Sales support – does the EDI provider offer a sales resource to participate in EDI related calls with your customers
Comfort and Trust
Do you feel good when dealing with your EDI provider
Consider:
  • Relationships – does your EDI supplier know who you are, or are you just a customer account number
  • Trustworthiness – do your EDI supplier’s actions match what they say
  • Friendliness – are the EDI supplier’s team members you deal with every day pleasant and professional
  • Escalation – if you need to, can you talk to the management team

Let the Buyer Beware

Some EDI service providers quite simply do an inferior job, and those pain points above will hinder your success. The resulting costs of that poor service can run the gamut – from your finances to your team’s effectiveness through to your reputation with trading partners. You end up with an overall lack of confidence in the integrity of the provider that handles your sensitive data.

At Integral Group our …
  • costs are predictable and equitable
  • process is geared towards your needs
  • support team is readily accessible and focused on speedy resolutions
  • commitment is to tell you the truth
  • goal is for long term relationships with our customers – built on mutual respect
If that sounds like what you need from your EDI service provider, Let’s Talk.
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