Checking references; look for the older clients

One of the cardinal rules when buying a new association management system is to be sure to check references. Presumably the references the vendor provides you are clients of theirs that are happy with the product and services. Of course, it's important to check with references, but one element of reference checking that is often overlooked is longevity of clientele.

What I mean by this is not just checking how many customers a vendor has, but how long they've had their customers. In other words, do they still have customers who have been with them since the company was founded? Or are most of their customers new? Try to find out who their oldest customers are and talk with them. Find out why they've stayed with the company for so long. You'll learn a lot about how the company treats its long-term clients, and you might also learn some "tricks" for dealing with your new vendor.

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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