I know that I may be the exception with regard to this topic, but since I am in a position to mentor newbies in the litigation support industry, I will share my perspective. 😉
I have heard over and over again from litigation support colleagues that they prefer to “just fix it” when there are mistakes in a vendor deliverable. I am a big picture thinker, so in my mind it is well worth the extra time and effort to provide feedback to the vendor. I know that vendors want to set a precedent for a high standard of deliverable which will improve the odds of repeat business.
The majority of the time I will refuse to fix a vendor deliverable, mostly out of principle. I will only fix it if the errors are most likely the result of a misunderstanding in the instructions. Even then, I will send a follow-up e-mail describing what happened and provide a clarification of the instructions that should be taken into account the next time. Otherwise, if the deliverable has mistakes, I will send an e-mail or get on the phone and explain that the following items need to be corrected and replacement files delivered.
If the critiques are fair and reasonable, and not outlandish, there is usually no problem with these types of requests. The vendor simply makes the corrections and turns it around as quickly as possible. Problem solved.
I have actually had vendors tell me “we really appreciate the feedback; most of our clients don't take the time”. One vendor told me “none of our other clients have expressed concerns”. Really? None? Unfortunately, the vendor is in the position of assuming that they did a good job, but then wondering why they don't get more work from that client.
Reason 1: – I believe that giving feedback to the vendor will hopefully mean that all of the subsequent deliverables will not require any “fixing”, which saves me time in the long run.
Reason 2: – By providing feedback, the vendor can have the opportunity to tweak their internal processes to accommodate clients' preferences. Vendors are always striving to learn the preferences of each client and it can be difficult at times.
Reason 3: – If I take the time to provide the feedback, the deliverables will improve and my overall relationship with the vendor will build in positive ways. I like to find a few good vendors and stick with them.
I will add that I am also a stickler for providing “positive” feedback to my vendors. If they kicked butt or they were very responsive or they had awesome project management, I will send a kudos e-mail to the team or upper management. One vendor told me that they shared my kudos e-mail around the office and that my e-mail was very motivating to the vendor team. A while back, I bought a pizza lunch for a vendor team after they worked really hard to meet a deadline. Last year, I surprised a vendor team with a delivery of popcorn and candy because they did a great job on a 6 month project. That's what it's all about — the litigation support team and the vendor team should make one fantastic team.
The moral of my story is that I have been lucky enough to work with a few vendors that really appreciate the feedback and I believe our relationship benefited from it. I encourage you to provide constructive feedback to your vendors.
If you have any stories of your own to share or if you are a vendor that appreciates the feedback, please add a comment below.