One of the most difficult factors in any technology purchase decision is selecting the right provider. Often, the choice is not clear-cut – particularly when different vendors offer products with similar features and within similar price ranges. In all cases, it’s critical to choose a people counting system provider that will do more than simply sell you a product and provide scheduled maintenance. Seek out vendors with the size, infrastructure, and personnel capable of meeting your people counting needs not just today, but throughout the technology’s lifecycle.
Here are six tips for selecting a people counting system provider that will best fit your company’s current and ongoing needs:
1. Communicate a Clear Idea of What You Need: Spell out exactly what you’re looking for in a people counting system, ideally separated into “must-have” and “nice-to-have” categories. But be open to vendors’ suggestions about new or under-used technologies that may solve your business challenges or provide a competitive edge.
2. Ensure the Provider Has the Resources to Support Their Products: Is your potential people counting system provider a large enough company to offer a full range of people counting products, along with maintenance, installation, and technical support that will be there when you need it? Is the company financially stable? While length of operation is not always a guarantee of a good provider, if a company has stayed in business for a number of years it’s generally indicative of an ability to provide good service and adapt to changing conditions. In addition, a large, well-staffed company is more likely to be able to scale up as your needs change and expand.
3. Make Sure the Provider has Experience within Your Industry: Today’s people counting system technologies are rarely a one-size-fits-all. You’ll save a lot of time if you don’t have to educate a vendor on the basics of your industry – time that can be spent crafting a solution that will precisely fit your company’s requirements.
4. Find Out What Other Customers’ Experience Has Been Like: Ask for references within your industry, and ask these customers specific questions: How long have they been a client? How has the provider addressed their specific needs? Is the customer service team knowledgeable and responsive? Don’t limit your research to provided references: use the Web to seek out user reviews and third-party ratings, both positive and negative.
5. Make Sure the People Counting System Integrates Easily with your Current Systems: The time to research potential integration headaches is before you sign a contract, not afterwards. Ask the vendor’s representatives specific questions about how they will solve installation and integration issues. As you narrow down the contenders, make contact not just with the provider’s sales reps but also with the technical and customer service personnel who will actually be addressing these issues. If it’s practical, bring them on-site, so they can see your operation first-hand, and you can gauge their industry knowledge and expertise in person.
6. Review the Vendor’s Training Program: IT professionals know that installing technology can be less of a challenge than bringing internal users up to speed on it. Even if training isn’t included in your purchase, review the materials the vendor provides and take a segment of a training course (in-person or online) to get a taste of how your deployment and implementation will actually work.
Choosing the people counting system vendor that’s right for your company means doing your homework – knowing precisely what you need (and want), and asking the tough questions. It’s also important to select a provider that you and your people will feel comfortable working with, because if you choose well, it will be a long-term relationship.