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  • Mary Anne Harris

Are you checking on your third-party providers?

Using vendors in your title agency? Time for an annual checkup!

The title insurance industry has a lot of moving parts and it is not unusual for title agents to use multiple third-party providers for a whole host of services.

Hopefully, in hiring your vendors, you conducted an assessment and met with your contacts at the company to establish the rules of engagement.

But time passes, and lots of changes may have happened on both ends. Conducting a vendor checkup once a year can ensure you are communicating effectively and getting the most out of your provider.

At Positively Balanced, we are dedicated to assisting our clients with their unique business needs by partnering with them as they reevaluate their goals each year. Here are some elements of that process we have identified as critical to the annual checkup process.

Looking back

Hopefully, you were keeping track of the work your vendor performed for you over the past year. To perform a really effective evaluation, having a paper trail to review makes the process of compiling a scorecard easy. Some of the most basic aspects to consider are the quality of the work, timely delivery, and general customer service skills of the provider.

You may also want to look at the complaint history on both sides. Are you getting negative feedback from your employees about the vendor and likewise, is the vendor providing you with feedback about delays they are experiencing in getting the information they need from your employees to effectively meet deadlines?

Looking ahead

When you first began outsourcing, you hopefully established clear benchmarks for what you wanted to accomplish in establishing this relationship. This could include saving money, adding skillsets you don’t currently have on your staff, or freeing up time for business-building ventures.

As part of your annual evaluation of your vendor relationship, you should first review those goals to make sure they are being met. Secondly, evaluate the relationship in terms of your new goals and aspirations for the coming year.

Communicating the evaluation

Once you have completed your scorecard internally and established your new benchmarks for the coming year, it’s time to communicate with the vendor.

If you really want your vendor to hear what you have to say, begin with what went right. Your contacts at the company are going to be more receptive if you reassure them about what is going well and advise them about what aspect of their service has been most effective.

Next, let your contacts know what could be improved. It is helpful to the vendor if you can be specific in citing examples, rather than just saying services were late or staff was unresponsive.

And finally, sharing your specific goals and benchmarks for the coming year – even if they are similar to the past year – will help the vendor more effectively design how they are going to deliver services to you in the coming year in a way that will best meet your expectations.

Let’s talk

The most important aspect of evaluating your vendor relationship is sometimes forgotten as you focus on the scorecard: Talking to them about any new services, innovations or technology they may offer.

Your third-party provider – like you – is always working on the business. They may have added new services or technology or employed new professionals with unique specialties that could enhance your business offerings. When you initially set up the relationship, you may have elected not to take advantage of one aspect of their service that – with changing circumstances – now makes sense for you.

Sitting with your provider and exploring all of the options available may spark new ideas for greater efficiency for your company in the coming year.

At Positively Balanced, we are always eager to sit down with our customers to see how we can improve communications, streamline our shared processes, and add value to your company. Contact us today to learn how we can enhance your business plans for the coming year.



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