Think about your most unforgettable restaurant meal. Was it a perfectly-cooked filet or an indulgent three-layer chocolate lava cake?
Now imagine the food is exactly the same, however after your server brings out your dinner you don’t see him for the next hour. He never stops by to inquire, “how is everything this evening?” (It’s as if the guy who was happy to upsell you on the seafood appetizer and the priciest bottle of wine thinks his work is done once your food hits the table.) Eventually you resort to flagging down a random server to replace the fork you dropped on the floor and to top off your water.
It doesn’t matter that the original server got your order right and the chef prepared your meal perfectly—inattentive service will leave a bad taste in your mouth that not even a great steak can fix.
When it comes to payroll companies there are ones we call “vendors” and others we call “partners.”
Outsourcing to a vendor is who is just looking to close the deal is kind of like having great food with lackluster service. The vendor may deliver the software solution you ordered, but will they stick around to help you implement it or just leave you hanging? Are they there when you call, or do you get a voicemail? Are they genuinely invested in your ongoing success or just checking off the boxes in your contract?
Alternatively, payroll partners are selling a service that happens to use software to tackle your payroll and HCM challenges.
The very definition of partner conveys someone who “shares” or “partakes” in what you’re doing. Partnerships are based on relationships, not one-time transactions.
How to Spot the Difference Between a Payroll Vendor and a Payroll Partner
If you do a search of payroll companies on Google, an initial scan of the results probably won’t be obvious. When you are a client, however, having a vendor vs. a partner will make a world of difference in your day-to-day operations.
The following three tips will help you separate the sales-driven vendors from the service-driven partners.
1. Partners listen and learn.
Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.Theodore Roosevelt
A partner will first seek to understand your organization, especially your payroll and Human Capital Management (HCM) pain points, before sharing how they can solve your challenges. A vendor will first tell you why their solution is the best, possibly without ever asking you questions to get to know your needs.
2. Partners have a name and a face. If your payroll vendor is focused on selling software, you’ll likely have some initial training but then you may get passed off to an 800-number. That same sales rep who was falling over themselves to get your business will leave you waiting in line to talk to a random customer service rep. However, if you choose a payroll company who views themselves as your partner, your relationship with their team is just getting started. They invest in your long-term success and make your job easier.
3. Partners are in for the long haul. Transitioning to new software can ultimately make your job a lot easier, but there’s still an adjustment period. What happens when you need a refresher or have to run an HR report for the first time? A payroll partner will offer ongoing training. At Patrick Payroll, we offer free webinars every Thursday on topics including employee self-service, payroll processing and reporting, and benefits administration.
In Your Corner
Some things you can’t automate—like good service. At Patrick Payroll, we’re all about partnership. We want to help our clients identify their payroll and HCM frustrations and knock them out. To learn more about how we can help you thrive, not just survive, schedule a free consultation here.