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Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before making that determination.

If you’re like me, you never seem to understand why friends stay in bad relationships. It becomes evident to everyone on the outside that it’s run its course, but the couple just can’t seem to part ways.  We tell ourselves we would never do the same, right?  Or would we?

For years I struggled with my cable provider.  I suffered from numerous outages, bill discrepancies, and wasted countless hours on hold with outsourced customer service representatives that never resolved my issues.  A few days after a two-day outage, a competitor called me about a new client special where I would save 20% over what I was currently spending.  As excited as I was about the prospect of switching AND saving money, the thought of sitting on hold with my current provider for 30+ minutes just to cancel gave me nightmares.  I began rattling off a hefty list of concerns to the sales representative.  He addressed everything and ensured me that they would even take care of the cancellation and equipment return with my current provider.  All I needed to do was return a contract and commit to an hour time slot at my choosing for a technician.  Still skeptical, the 2 -day outage was fresh in my mind and I found myself pulling the trigger.

Two days later the new technician was in my living room lugging away my old clunky cable box and installing the new, sleeker system.  After a 5-minute demo, I had mastered the remote and was surfing the channels.  Just like that, the bad relationship with my cable was over.  One year later, I’ve never had an issue with my new cable and I have extra money in my pocket.

While my cable nightmares only contributed to my wallet and personal frustration, putting up with poor service providers for business can have more serious ramifications and hinder long-term success.  If my bad cable relationship has taught me anything, it’s to consistently evaluate my vendors to see if they are meeting my expectations.  If not, it’s time to do some shopping.

When it comes to virtual data rooms, it’s a buyer’s market and the competition is fierce.  With so many providers, there is no reason you should be spending exorbitant amounts of money on a product that does not meet your demands.  Are you satisfied with your VDR provider?

Here are 5 questions you should ask yourself to help you make that determination:
1.  Do I experience product malfunctions more often than I like?

When product malfunctions happen more often than not, or the product flat out does not work, it should raise a red flag.  Often times in an attempt to stay ahead of the competition, VDRs are too quick to go-to-market without conducting thorough testing and QA.  Faulty features and plugins can have serious consequences and put data at risk.  If critical tools like bulk upload, document permissioning, and alerts are not intuitive or fully automated, administrators can waste countless hours on file management which only increases the chance of human error.

2.  Am I happy with my Customer Service?

In previous blogs, we’ve discussed why inexpensive file sharing platforms like Box or Dropbox aren’t used for M&A due diligence.  The main reason – security.  The other reason – customer service.  Customer service is where a large portion of your VDR bill should be going to.  Training, implementation, and 24/7/365 support should be included with every project.  A good VDR will assign you a dedicated in-house project manager that will assist you throughout your project.  Is your vendor’s customer support outsourced?  What is the average response time?  Do you speak to someone different every time you call? These are all questions you should be asking.  An in-house support team will have the proper training and internal communication channels in place to get your questions answered immediately.

3.  Are internal company changes affecting my service?

It’s important to follow your VDR provider in the news and read their corporate updates.  Many VDR companies have been bought and sold multiple times, even within the same year, leaving them in a constant state of change and instability.  A revolving door of management, product, and strategy changes can affect your service and have an impact on your data room security in ways that you may not even be aware of.

4.  Are my free meals and drinks worth the aggravation?

As we’ve discussed previously, the integrity and security of M&A due diligence within virtual data rooms has decayed as a result of traditional virtual data room providers emphasizing investment in “wine and dine” sales over data security and product enhancements.  While your sales rep might be a great guy or gal and you enjoy those free drinks, it’s important to consider what’s at stake.  If you find yourself wasting hours trying to upload data or on hold with a customer service rep on the other side of the world, it might be time to consider Going Dutch on happy hour bills with your rep.

 5.  Am I overpaying?

In a competitive market there is no reason you should be overpaying for a virtual data room.  Don’t get stuck with hefty pricing models just because your data room provider has to justify the cost of their recent acquisition. Do your research and get pricing from other providers.  Seek recommendations from friends or colleagues.  Compare features and services.  Determine which VDR will deliver you the most value for your needs.

Are you in a bad relationship with your VDR? Do YOUR due diligence and find out if it’s time to part ways.

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