Ideally, a vendor partnership continues for a long time because it provides significant value to both partners. However, many companies can find a sense of inertia set in when it comes to their vendors, even their time clock partner. The logistics of the partnership are settled; everyone is comfortable. Surely, everything is fine.
But are things fine, really? And even if they are, is "fine" what you expect to get out of a substantial time clock partner?
Here are three signs it’s time to reevaluate your time clock partner.
1. Customer service is starting to lag
At the start of the relationship, sales and tech support are quick to respond to every contact. As time goes by, is your team finding it harder to receive a resolution from a vendor? Poor or slow service (is there a difference?) can even start to impact whether someone will reach out to vendor support or try to muddle through on his or her own.
According to the B2B Elements of Value Pyramid created by Bain & Company, “responsiveness” and “expertise” rank at the top of strategic relationship priorities as pertains to a company mastering the “ease of doing business value.”
Your time clock partner should be as responsive and as able to resolve issues as quickly today as they were when your partnership began. Most importantly, your customers should have the same high-quality customer experience when they contact the time clock vendor as you do.
2. No growth in options, functions, and flexibility
Constant innovation is now table stakes. Your time clock partner’s inventory range and functionality should be moving forward with evolving industry expectations. Sticking with a time clock manufacturer that’s behind the curve bars you from offering your customers a solution that exceeds their expectations
A superior time clock partner is continually updating and expanding its offerings in ways that provide quantifiable business value. These enhancements can be new functionality, such as allowing customers to require workers to enter their tips earned at the end of each shift. They should also include rolling out entirely new time clocks or platforms that empower its partners to find the fastest, most cost-effective path to go to market with new offerings of its own.
For example, Accu-time’s Android platform enables time and attendance software companies that currently operate solely on virtual time clocks, to quickly integrate their system with ATS terminals. This opens up a whole new market of prospects with non-office workers.
3. Lack of value-added services
If the only thing your time clock partner provides you is time clocks, you and your customers are missing out.
You need to distinguish between time clock “manufacturers” and time clock “partners”. A time clock manufacturer will deliver an operational time clock to you. A time clock partner will deliver terminals, fully configured with your customer’s business specifications, directly to your customer. That's a fairly significant difference in services and value.
On Bain’s B2B Elements of Value Pyramid, values including “time savings” and “reduced effort” also rank at the top of the “ease of doing business value.” A high-value partner is defined by its ability to create low-friction revenue opportunities for its partners. You can read about the variety of value-add services you should expect from a time clock partner here.
Your time clock partner is also your customer’s partner
Many B2B supply partnerships exist behind the scenes to the end-user. Such is not the case for software systems that need data collected from workers when they clock in and out. In these cases, the goods are literally in your end-users’ faces. In some cases, you may be able to brand the time clocks as your own, as ATS does for its partners who request it.
Regardless of whose brand name your end-user sees on the time clock, the durability, functionality, and user experience they furnish all directly reflect on the quality of the system your company provides. Reevaluating your current time clock partner is the first step to ensuring that you and your customers are getting all you deserve from your time clocks.
"While ATS is passionate about time and attendance and excited to support organizations navigate workforce dynamics around timekeeping, we recommend you reach out to your country, regional and/or local HR chapter for more information on common workplace advice and procedures."