No matter how new, useful, transformative or special your product, you rely on your vendors to get that product to the market.
The right vendor can be a huge asset to your business. The wrong one, however, can cause significant damage to your business and reputation. Learning how to spot signs of a bad vendor before you get deeply involved is the best way to protect your brand.
Signs a vendor may be risky
While industries vary, the signs that a vendor is struggling are pretty much the same all over:
- You’re not getting new customers. Old customers may hang on even when there are problems out of brand loyalty. New customers will look for a similar product somewhere else when the vendor is problematic.
- There’s no product support. Good vendors will promote your product and provide customer support. If there’s no buzz around your product and customer reviews complain of inadequate support, that’s a big sign of trouble.
- You have no idea who is in charge. Some turnover is to be expected in any company, but a constant change in their workforce points to deep problems within the vendor’s own company environment.
- You’re not getting clear answers. It shouldn’t take your vendor more than a day to give you answers about the way the product is selling or customer feedback. If the account reps are vague and evasive, it’s time to worry.
If you ignore these signals that there’s trouble, you do so at your own peril. Vendors who have problems may be inclined to pass their legal liability your way — or blame you for their own failures.
When you have a problem with a vendor who isn’t meeting expectations and it seems to be heading toward a legal dispute, don’t hesitate to seek out an attorney’s guidance.