12 RFP answers you need before signing your SaaS CCM contract
You’re overhauling CCM, investing in customer communications solutions to transform customer experience and gain a competitive edge. You’ve spent the last three quarters researching, line-iteming – and securing - the budget and creating the metrics. You’ve narrowed down the search down to three CCM vendors; you’ve even watched the solution demos.
But there are a few crucial things that you won’t learn from demos. You certainly won’t learn that your detailed budget might be held hostage to obscure terms and conditions that maybe show up after you eliminated a vendor or two. You also won’t learn that you might have little control to prevent or plan for overages as you empower your users with the UX controls you need to enhance CX without going over budget. You probably won’t get insight into customer enablement and success measures (or lack thereof) that the vendor leverages for your project’s success.
People are starting to return to the office. Instead of switching off the camera and silently screaming, you just might need to deliver poor metrics and budget overages face-to-face. We put together a questionary to help you avoid uncomfortable updates. Ask these 12 questions - which any CCM vendor should be able to easily answer - early in your evaluation process. (And, even if you have an existing vendor, you should ask these questions before your next renewal.)
12 RFP questions you need to ask your potential SaaS CCM vendor
Billing & Upcharges
What are your units of billing? Is your solution price based on the communication, the page, or some quantity of data as a metric?
Why does this matter? If output billing is based on kilobytes of file size, this price will fluctuate unpredictably across communication types and could exhaust your budget quickly.
What is the file size allotted for a “normal” communication?
Why does this matter? If you aren’t fully informed of the billing policies, you could drain your budget in just months and accrue unpredicted upcharges for the remainder of your contract.
What is the maximum size of a communication before triggering overage fees? Follow up: Please explain file upcharge scenarios?
What multipliers affect billing? Follow up: Exactly how do you charge for:
Designing interactive content?
Opening interactive communication?
Delivering to multiple channels?
Delivering via email with an attachment?
Why does this matter? Some vendors charge multipliers that charge you for the same communication multiple times if their engine is incapable of generating multiple outputs efficiently. For example, a call rep calls to quote a mortgage but the call does not result in additional communication because the caller hangs up – you could be charged or not depending on your vendors pricing structure. Another example, previewing a transaction, correcting a mistake, re-previewing the communication and then sending to the customer can result in duplicative multiplier charges on top of the base communication charged when you send an interactively generated contract for approval, a manager suggests a change, sends it back, and it is updated, preview and successfully approved? To properly plan a budget, you need to be informed of exactly what multipliers exist and how they can add up during expected business use.
Are new features chargeable? If so, please explain.
Are entitlements governed by output channels?
We have a diverse set of employees and customers, in what languages is your interface configurable in? Follow up: how many languages are included in my allotment?
Reporting & Budget Projections
What percentage of your customers exceed their budget for on their SMS, PDF, email, and print output projects in a year?
Why does this matter? History tends to repeat itself. If existing customers typically exceed their budgets with a certain vendor annually, you can expect to as well.
In the event of overages, I would like adequate notice to align my budget - how does your organisation inform customers if and when they exceed budgets and with what lead time?
What real-time status and monthly billing reports of budget does your organisation provide? Follow up: What dashboards or reports are available to clearly track my remaining entitlements, users, etc.?
Why does this matter? Budgets are hard-won; they are painstaking and precise and have to be justified and metric-ed at every line. Getting blindsided by an upcharge bill is uncomfortable to justify. Consistent reporting on allotment usage enables you to adjust processes and implement trainings to prevent the need to secure supplementary budget. Vendors have different reporting structures, find one that best allows you to control your investment.
I want to back up my designs locally, or elsewhere, how do I do this with your organisations’ technology? Follow up: where does your design IP live?
What are your organisations’ all-time numbers for customer propensity to recommend? Follow up: what included support services do you offer to customers?
Why does this matter? This question will answer whether the vendor is invested in your success. The depth of support services offered often determines successful project outcomes while customer propensity to recommend stats give insight into how much ROI a customer feels they got from the vendor, as well as how synergistically and painlessly the implementation went.