There are lots of factors that go into interviewing a vendor, vetting a vendor, and then ultimately choosing a vendor. But how many of you have a stack of important questions on flashcards or a check list that you use when comparing competing services? Didn’t think so. Well, we asked 31 business owners and Business Decision Makers to rank their key factors they look for the most when comparing vendors. Here is 4 key factors and the comparison between Loomacres Wildlife Management and the USDA. Better yet Big Business vs Small Business, Private Sector vs Federal Agency, David vs. Goliath.
Quality: When choosing a new vendor, you want to make sure the quality of the product or service will meet your needs. Ask for referrals and talk to other airport managers that have used either vendor to see if they were satisfied with the quality of work. Let us compare.
USDA: There are some extremely talented employees at the USDA and depending on who you ask they can be over the moon satisfied or extremely unhappy. However, when you are as large as the USDA your quality of work is sometimes subpar since they are spread so thin. After some serious internet digging a nameless consulting firm polled USDA clients for customer service and they scored 74% satisfactory rating and the ever so influential Google rating well unfortunately they have zero reviews. One number that stood out which with being a Federal Agency and having a rather low Customer Satisfactory rating they exceed in customer retention with on average 93% of their clients under contract renew their services with the USDA.
Loomacres: Big on surveys and feedback and even has it posted on their website. Being a private sector business Loomacres can build relationships and a foundation for ongoing services provided to their clients. Due to their medium size business as well as family owned their clients are given much more attention and customized service. They are coined with having the most on staff Airport Certified Wildlife Biologist which is a wealth of knowledge. Their Google ranking / review is 5 stars, and their Customer Satisfaction Score is 92% and a 95% customer retention rate.
Winner on Quality – Loomacres Wildlife Management
Price: Ah the elephant in the room. No one wants to admit just how important price is in selecting a vendor but of all people polled put price as either their number 1 or number 2 key factors in the selection process. Taking the lowest bid isn’t the most effective way to choose a vendor. You want to get the maximum value for the price you pay. Other factors to consider are time savings, labor savings, and the peace of mind you gain when working with someone you trust. Be clear about what you need from the vendor and make sure the bid includes every line-item cost. Get more than one bid and ask about additional fees, such as administrative expenses or surcharges. Always read the fine print before you sign a contract.
USDA: So, the USDA tends to be the most expensive service in the industry. Because they are a federal agency, they can pretty much do anything they want and charge whatever they want especially if the Airport is the recipient of a FAA AIP Grant. So who cares what it cost when you’re paying a Government ran Agency with Government Grant Money, which is a whole other blog post for another day but God Bless America right?
Loomacres: On average Loomacres can save new clients 20-30% on their existing contract especially if they are using the USDA. As a private sector business Loomacres is more efficient in servicing their clients and has invested in the latest techniques for Wildlife Management. Loomacres Airport Certified Wildlife Biologist are continuously training on new age techniques and tactics. More efficient means less hours, means cheaper bottom line.
Winner on Price: Loomacres
Customer Service: Every vendor is great when their clients are thrilled with the service provided. What makes a vendor stand out is what do they do when things go wrong.
USDA: If you are ok with call centers, or robot chat bots on their website then have at it. We made some phone calls to the USDA customer service center and the wait time was 4-5 minutes per call and we were transferred to multiple different offices and multiple different regions of the country. One good thing to say about our experience was the pleasant personality and helpful nature each operator we spoke to displayed.
Loomacres: This is where being a smaller family-owned company really is an unfair advantage. Even though they have a 1-800 # listed on their website, the business manger answered on the second ring. The owner of the company Kristin Baciuska was easy to get ahold of and even texted us because she was in a training class and did not want us to think she was ignoring the call.
Winner on Customer Service: Loomacres
Response Time: When we have a need we wanted now! This is tricky one because its mostly situational and depends on the representative reached. However, no matter if you are company in the private sector or a Federal Agency response time should be important and adequate.
USDA: USDA is made up of 29 agencies and offices with nearly 100,000 employees who serve the American people at more than 4,500 locations across the country and abroad. What we found was if you called your Airport Wildlife Biologist their response time was solid. However, if you tried to contact someone through the website or call center hope you packed a lunch and like holding music.
Loomacres: You can tell the employees are well trained and extremely knowledgeable and when they did not the answer, they reached out to other Biologist in the company to pass on the correct response. When submitting a request on their website you will have a phone call or email within 10 minutes or less.
Winner on Response Time: Loomacres
Ok before you start yelling “rigged” or “bias” all phone calls, emails, and questions asked were done by a neutral party and conducted on different departments and different representatives to ensure a strong sample size.
What did we learn from this? I think the one thing that stands out is the larger the company the more layers to it and the harder it is to get that caring and customer satisfaction guaranteed treatment. The USDA is big, and clearly, they are doing something right. Loomacres seems to have its ducks in a row and a gauge on pleasing their clients which is allowing them to grow and be competitive to their main competition.
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