All things being equal, would you rather go shopping at the local mom-and-pop hardware/grocery/clothing store, or go to Walmart? Most of us would rather shop locally, right?
Probably so, and for a couple of reasons.
First, we all root for the underdog to succeed against the giant, soul-less corporation. Secondly and just as importantly, the local stores often have a personal touch, take more care, and provide more expert advice than Wally-World. If you ask a technical question at your locally owned hardware store, you are likely to get a detailed, thorough response, not the blank stare you can expect at the box store.
But… does company culture matter when you are buying software?
Yes. Unequivocally, yes.
If you are considering purchasing a donor database, would you rather work with a company that outsourced its customer service to India? Or one that takes pride in hiring the very best representatives it can find, who can communicate the mission of being customer-focused as articulately as possible?
OK, so maybe that was an easy, some might say loaded question.
Still, there is something to be said for choosing the hungry, customer-centric company over the profit-focused, people-ambivalent corporate monstrosity. Functionality is critical, as is price. But in my year now with Bloomerang, I have seen many customers choose us over some more entrenched options because we are flexible, we are hungry and we communicate that desire to help our customers succeed.
Any good manager will tell you that in this sleek, hyper-efficient economy, people – good, hard working effective people – are your greatest asset. As a manager, you want people you can depend on to carry out your vision and goals to get you to the next level.
You want the same from your vendor.
All the extra modules, features and cool toys mean nothing if you don’t use them regularly, or worse, CAN’T use them. If your vendor sees you as nothing more than a price tag, and treats you accordingly, what value do those extras actually bring?
Find the company that values its employees, that volunteers together, that genuinely cares about its customers. Do your homework, check out the various review sites and focus in on customer service while doing so. Find the vendor that hires exceptional people who are focused on helping you, and watch your fundraising soar.