10 Criteria for Choosing a Digital Directory Vendor
Will Your Digital Directory Vendor Be There When You Need Help?
Having been in business for 37 years with thousands of happy customers, we’ve seen a lot of fly-by-night vendors come and go. During the pandemic, we saw some competitors simply close shop with no notice to customers. These poor customer had their screens suddenly go dark. Not a great experience.
We understand that some only look for the lowest cost vendor and want the cheapest product possible. As with other important purchases, you get what you pay for. Here are some of the ways that cheap products and bare bones services lead to unwelcome surprises.
Real customer stories of bad experiences with other vendors
Customers who have tried other vendors and later found their way to us have shared some of the tactics that shady vendors have tried:
- Bait and Switch: One client was promised a “free” year of software licensing and then was told that their bill would be $200/year. However, they received an invoice $498/year for software licensing instead. That’s 2.5x more than they expected and came with an unexpected separate bill of $119/year for news and weather.
► We sell complete Directory Applications. Choose the features you want and select the corresponding package. No surprise bills for the weather service—it’s a core feature included in every package. We list all inclusions in each package on our website at https://touchsource.com/applications.
- High, Surprise Fees: Another shared this hidden charge, $275 fee if bill not paid before or by due date on a $379 bill. That’s 72% the size of the actual subscription fee!!
► We proactively notify you of your annual bill in multiple ways, and work to keep your business. If we don’t hear from you after 2 months, we’ll pop a notice onto your directory. With so much change in building ownership and new employees onboarding, we give you the benefit of the doubt. And we don’t charge massive late fees.
- Fragmented Support: One low-cost vendor only supports phone calls about their “online data entry service”. They state that they don’t take calls about non-functioning equipment (even though they sold both to the client). We’ve heard from many clients across different vendors that they had to pursue the hardware manufacturer with issues relating to the equipment despite purchasing it from a digital directory vendor.e
► By contrast, we support unlimited remote support and take calls about the entire solution that you bought from us. We offer 2-year warranties as a standard and up to 5 years of coverage. And if you have hardware issues that trigger your warranty, you call us—we figure out how to resolve the issue for you and with you. After all, we’ve got the business relationships that give us better leverage when there are issues.
- High Change Fees for Basic Content Updates: Another came to us after trying out a do-it-yourself directory media player service that only helps you with initial design. The client was presented with a “fee of $400 to make an edit”.
► By contrast, we make upkeep of your content as easy as logging in and updating your content. We just held a webinar with over 200 customers to show them how because we understand that content changes constantly.
Litmus test for vendors
Here’s a checklist of things to assess when choosing a vendor. Most of these items are visible with a quick Google search. The rest should be apparent within your first conversation with the company.
1. Primary business is digital signage, and they have a long track record
2. Peers recommend the company to you
3. Easy to use, simple to update digital directory software designed for business users (get a demo to see for yourself)
4. Broad offerings so you can solve for many signage needs from one vendor
5. Offer a comprehensive product warranty covering their software and the hardware you purchased from them with a single call
6. Publishes a support phone number and many ways to reach them on their website
7. Features customer case studies with credible customers (vs. stock photos)
8. Stocks inventory and has a team dedicated to supply chain management
9. Visible relationships with industry-leading technology companies
10. There aren’t surprise costs for customer support that suddenly appear in year two