I Feel Cheated

By Bob Larrivee posted 11-21-2011 14:29


This is a statement I hear over and over gain in that a company made a purchase and then feels like they were dealing with the fictitious 3 Stooges firm of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe. (Those of you old enough will remember this and those of you who don’t, check it out.) Any way, in most cases the complaint is that the supplier did not disclose everything or the project was underestimated or support is not what they expected; regardless of the compliant, these folks were unhappy at the time we spoke which not only reflects poorly on the vendor but I think it is to a degree, also a reflection on the customer as well.

To clarify, when I asked about the process they followed to make a selection, in a majority of the cases the response was that the decision was made based on technology. When asked if references were checked or an RFP soliciting bids was used, the answer was typically no, that someone from the company likely IT of a business manager, was at a conference and met someone who they thought had a solution.  When I asked if the specific requirements were identified and discussed, the typical response is that a discussion took place to inform the supplier of what they perceived was the problem and when pushed, further agreed that no assessment had been conducted to identify the real business requirements from the perceived.

In my view this is a common scenario that can and should be avoided and while I do not hold the consumer fully responsible in this – the suppliers should work with the consumer to take time and fully identify the real business requirement so the proper tools and services can be selected – I do hold them accountable for providing the real requirements and conducting proper due diligence if they expect successful results. Technology alone is not a good reason to make a deal with a supplier, nor is price. You have to look at those areas and also their history.

Take time to contact the supplier’s existing customers and find out what their experience was like. In some cases all you have to do is ask for references and they will be provided. If not, maybe you should reconsider working that supplier. Take time to look at their websites and press releases to see if you can identify clients and then reach out to them. As a supplier, you should work with your clients to identify those areas you know will be a challenge and guide them based on experience. Provide references that are aligned to the consumer’s business so the comparison makes the most sense and is relative. The relationship should be seen as one of partnership not drop and run.


If you are ready to move forward and are finding yourself stuck or unfocused and are not sure where to begin or what to do next, seek professional assistance and/or training to get you started.

What say you? Do you have a story to tell? What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have a topic of interest you would like discussed in this forum? Let me know.


Bob Larrivee, Director and Industry Advisor – AIIM

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I will be speaking at the following events:

  • November 29- December 2, 2011 AIIM ECM Masters in Utrecht, NL
  • December 6-9, 2011 AIIM ECM Masters in Silver Spring, MD

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