Recently, a customer asked me how they should go about choosing the best platform vendor. West builds and offers unparalleled support for platforms, so, of course, I wanted to say, “That’s easy, go with us.” But I knew I had to explain this in a way that was not only concise, but also unbiased. If my Dad was telling me about a product, he would say, “Well, Consumer Reports says .” Unfortunately, Consumer Reports has not listed the “10 recommended platforms for consumers to consider.” I needed to think outside the box. I decided to talk about the selection process in relation to a recent personal experience.
For five years I had been saying that I was going to rip out my old, antiquated deck in favor of a much larger, improved patio where I could seat more people in anticipation of my future needs. I wanted quality at a lower cost, coupled with a result that could grow with my family (customer base). This year, after about the 157th sliver in my daughter’s foot, I got serious. It was time to find someone whom I could trust, who would deliver quality at a good price, and who would also deliver on my vision with minimal disruption to my life.
I performed my baseline research, set a budget and sought to find a vendor who could deliver on my expectations. I quickly realized that cheaper is not always better. But going with an experienced industry leader can come at a premium price tag. The contractor explained to me that this is what he does for a living, not a fly-by-night operation to be rushed. Perfection takes time, a mantra he proved to me in the multistep process he took.
He spent time interviewing me to determine what my needs, wants and goals for the space were. He took that information and went back to his office to come up with his recommendations. He presented me with a drawing of what the landscaping could look like and he presented it in a way that I could understand. It was a comprehensive plan to which I could add or remove features in order to meet my budget and needs.
He then walked me through the process step-by-step, explaining that the foundation was the most critical element. He further explained that applying the stone was an art form much like the application layer on a platform. The result? Perfection. After seeing every important step, the layers to my patio, I truly know the infrastructure is strong: a formidable patio that will be there to accommodate any activity.
So, how should you go about choosing the right platform vendor for your business needs? These four easy steps will undoubtedly provide a sturdy foundation.
Up-front discovery will ensure that the solution can meet your customer needs, short term and long term. Quality service, knowledge and accountability drive credibility, which in the end builds lasting relationships to stand the test of time.
Show the art of the possible by setting the vision upfront in a way that is flexible for your customers to pick and choose based on specific business goals and objectives.
Ensure that every application built is ironclad and defect-free so that as the customer base grows and matures, you can layer in additional features and functionality with ease.
Build a strong foundation that allows the solution to grow with your customer base for years to come.