12 Ways a Vendor Network can Strengthen Vendor Relationships
Lester cites a dozen ways a vendor management network should embrace its vendors, and ultimately provide the kind of positive experiences for vendors and property managers that other platforms miss:
A dozen ways a vendor network can benefit merchants
1. Welcome Call – Once vendors are registered to RealPage’s Vendor Network, they get a welcome phone call from the vendor support team. A second call follows after 30 days to make sure they are finding the system useful and to answer any questions.
2. Dedicated Vendor Account Management Team – A team of experienced professionals is dedicated to working with vendors and helping them be successful. A team representative is available to answer questions or provide one-to-one assistance and ongoing support.
3. Vendor Portal – Vendors access the system through a secure portal. There, they log on and can access everything, including status of their catalog, status of invoices, customers and account requests from new customers.
4. Personal Training & Webcasts – At twice-monthly webcasts, vendors can learn about how to use the vendor network and explore different features, like reports that can uncover new opportunities. Also, vendors can inquire about topics or features that haven’t been covered.
5. Online Training – At any time, vendors can access recorded training on how to use the many features of the network. They can go to an online training tab and download videos that, for example, explain integration with accounting systems.
6. Dedicated Order and Invoice Integration Support – The vendor system has plug-in integration for programs like Quickbooks that provides seamless cross-functionality and the support to go along with it. “If a vendor is having a problem with a plug-in, we get on the phone and walk them through it,” Lester says. “We have a team dedicated to that.”
7. On Demand Sales Reporting – Vendors can access the portal and look up sales with any of their customers at any time, and report year-over-year, quarter-over-quarter or month-over-month.
8. Invoice Life Cycle Visibility – It’s important for vendors to see ordering and invoice progression. Within minutes, the real-time status of an order can be seen from the time of placement to when a check has been cut. “Vendors like to know if the order has been approved, if it’s sitting to be paid, if the check has been cut,” Lester says.
9. Dedicated Catalog Management Support Team – Catalog management is supported by a team of data analysts that helps with formatting and other functions like updating products, adding or deleting products and services and setting or adjusting pricing.
10. Vendor Support Hotline – A dedicated vendor line is available to call and get support. “We monitor all requests that come through,” Lester says. “This helps us come up with ideas for future training, and we want to make sure we address every issue. Vendors can call for anything, whether it’s about billing or technical support.”
11. Annual Vendor Satisfaction Survey – Each year, RealPage sends out a vendor satisfaction survey to get important feedback from vendors. “We want to make sure that vendors know we are in communication, that they’re seeing improvements that benefit their use of the system,” Lester says.
12. Idea Exchange – Simply, RealPage’s strives to make its platform better. “We listen to suggestions and make enhancements to the platform based on vendors’ ideas. We look for inputs from all of them.”
Lester says vendor networks can be a tremendous asset for vendors, contractors, and business providers to reach multifamily properties and develop long-lasting relationships.
“The goal is for everyone to be successful,” she says. “The right vendor network doesn’t allow things to fall through the cracks. The vendor should be as successful on the platform as the property management customer, because it creates a seamless transaction for both sides.”