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Smart Shopping: The Ultimate Vendor Evaluation Checklist

The definitive guide to evaluating a solution for reputation management and call branding

Smart Shopping: The Ultimate Vendor Evaluation Checklist
Date
September 13, 2022
Written By
Mary Gonzalez, Brand & Content Manager
Content provided by the Tuesday Talks Podcast

If you’re on the hunt for a solution provider, unsure of where to start, or feel overwhelmed by your options, fear not. We are here to help guide you through the questions you should be asking potential vendors to help narrow your search and select the right solution for you. 

Here are our top recommended best practices to set you on the right path. Once you’re ready to search the marketplace for the right solution, keep this handy RFP-style Vendor Evaluation Checklist to ensure you get all the right questions answered. This template is a guide for anyone evaluating reputation management and a branded calling solution to help navigate conversations across the various suppliers and vendors you may be considering. 

For more information, tune in to the podcast episode!

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Here are the high-level steps we recommend you take:

  1. Level-set your expectations so that you can establish the proper measurements of success depending on the problem you’re experiencing.
  2. Do your industry research or find a vendor that is an expert in their industry so they can help educate why you may be experiencing the problem in the first place.
  3. Set your unique goals and requirements to ensure the solution provider can accurately help solve them.
  4. If you want to do more than monitor call labeling issues, find a solution provider that can remediate labels and provide you with ongoing visibility, control, and support.
  5. Work with a solution provider that acts as an aggregator so you can streamline the solution to your labeling issues.
  6. Go the extra mile with a branded calling solution if it’s right for your business by understanding the reach and capabilities of the solutions on the market.

1 Level Setting Expectations to Establish Success Metrics

It’s vital for enterprises connecting with suppliers to start the conversation by level-setting their goals and expectations instead of getting too caught up in the details. 

What industry knowledge do you have so far that pertains to your particular issue? What questions do you still have?

What issue are you experiencing driving you to seek a solution? What are you trying to solve? Do you have that honed in or figured out to some degree? 

After defining how much you know and having a clear goal you’re trying to accomplish, you can establish how you will measure your success to ensure that the solution providers you're evaluating will meet your particular requests.

2 Do your Industry Research (or Seek out an Expert)

If you’re looking to help clean up your spam labeling issues, improve your number reputation, or increase your contact rates, we like to begin the conversation with industry knowledge that can help educate you on why you’re experiencing the problem. 

How up-to-date are you on the Know Your Customer (KYC) aspects of the TRACED Act and call authentication requirements via STIR/SHAKEN?

Do you know why STIR/SHAKEN won’t solve your spam labeling issues?

Awareness is key to understanding where your contact or calling problems may be coming from, and it’s a critical baseline to figure out before you move forward with a solution or vendor. If you don’t know what industry news may be affecting your business calls, we recommend partnering with a solution provider who knows. A vendor who cares about how legislation affects you should also care about solving a problem in addition to selling you their services. 

3 Your Unique Requirements & Goals

Once you and a potential vendor agree with the level of expectations and awareness around the particular issue, the next step is to ensure you’re on the same page on what you’re looking to achieve and what success looks like for your business. 

Would you like to improve your contact or answer rates to what they were before you began experiencing issues? 

Do you want to increase revenue or have a positive financial impact? 

Do you need to remediate Spam labels to stop missing out on opportunities?

Different businesses may need a similar or the same solution but tailored to suit their needs. Make sure whoever you’re partnering with is adaptable to suit your needs and the scope of the problem. For example, you may seek to increase revenue, improve your brand reputation, or just get your clients to answer the phone. We’ve had many types of businesses looking to achieve different goals, but we can help because we’ve taken the time to understand what you’re looking for in a solution and support what you need through our service.

4 Don’t just Monitor the Problem, Solve it

Most number reputation solutions only let you monitor the labels on your numbers instead of fixing them. If you need or want more than just monitoring, you need a supplier (or an aggregated solution like Numeracle) that offers monitoring and visibility options and includes remediation services.

“By design, the analytics companies used by carriers frequently update the algorithms that score calls with Spam or Scam labels. They're trying to keep fraudsters blocked or shown as ‘Spam Likely’ because those are the calls you want to be blocking. I certainly don't want to answer those calls, so if it says 'Spam Likely,' consumers certainly won’t answer it either.” 
— Alexander Carter, VP of Business Development 

Algorithms aren’t human and can catch good enterprise numbers when they make certain algorithm updates or changes. Suppliers with remediation services are linked with analytics companies and can report on the labeling activity quickly and directly. It’s essential that when looking for a supplier, you ask who they work with or who they're integrated with because that will soon tell you whether or not they have direct relationships and the means to fix your problem.

We strongly encourage remediation solutions, especially if your business finds spam labels problematic and happening frequently. Numeracle has a very speedy and successful remediation process. It only takes about a day and a half, and we hold a 96% success rate in removing any labels. Once we clean up the number, there is less than a 1% chance that a negative label will harm that number again. The benefit is you're constantly dialing using appropriate numbers that are not showing up as Spam or blocked altogether.

5 Flexibility with an Aggregated Solution Provider

While you can work directly with the carriers to solve your labeling and number reputation issues, it can be a lot of individual leg work that needs to be repeated with each one. You would have to manage multiple contracts and integrations and monitor numbers yourself via all the carriers. 

The same hassle applies when you want to use a branded calling solution for your phone numbers. You would have to manage your branded assets across all the different carriers and update them individually if you decide to make changes to them. Any time you want to make an update or change or add numbers, you're going to have to do that four different times. 

The benefit of choosing an aggregated approach like us, or a supplier with agreements with all the major wireless providers, is that you only have to submit a support ticket for a number one time. Aggregators take care of that request across the board and do the heavy lifting for you. When shopping for this kind of solution, ensure the aggregator shows you their software, flexibility, and how easy it is to load information once so that you can remain on cruise control and trust their efforts.

6 Going the Extra Mile: Branded Calling

If you haven’t heard of branded calling, you should know upfront that it is not the same as CNAM technology. If you’d like more information on the difference between these technologies, check out our blog, “What’s in a Name? Is it Caller ID, CNAM, or RCD?

Read more

Branded calling is still a new solution with added investment costs, so evaluating your needs, time, and resources to implement it is essential. Because of this, we recommend partnering with an aggregator that can add branded calling as an add-on feature later. This way, you can tackle your immediate number reputation issues first and then assign which numbers or campaigns you’d like to add on branding and which ones you don’t, letting you conduct your outbound calling without worry or added investment and resources.

“Have an aggregator or supplier take care of all the spam removals, unblock any mislabeled frauds, and then add branding on particular numbers or campaigns. The flexibility of these suppliers' platforms has grown to allow enterprises to get fairly strategic with how they use their branded calling options with minimal setup or time spent in the portal.” 
— Alexander Carter, VP of Business Development.

The tricky thing to navigate here is how new this technology is and what impact the reach has across devices and networks. It’s critical you ask for evidence of the following items:

    There’s a Right Solution for You

    We know it can be difficult and time-consuming to search for the right solution provider to partner with. We’re always happy to help answer any questions and provide as much clarity into this ecosystem as possible so you can feel confident in choosing the right solution. 

    “Our motto at Numeracle is transparency throughout the entire process and ecosystem. We let you know all your options and suggest alternatives if you don't necessarily need branded calling or remediation. The right solution for you is out there, so don't be shy to go shopping for it. You don't need to sit here and suffer under poor contact rates when providers are willing to scrape this off. It's all about trust.”
    — Alexander Carter, VP of Business Development

    For more information about Numeracle’s services and reach, feel free to contact us! We also host a biweekly live podcast series with all the latest must-know industry information to help you stay up-to-date with all the factors and industry news affecting your outbound calling.

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