Ten questions to ask when checking a vendor’s references

Here are ten questions to ask when checking vendor references that might help you get beyond the simple yes or no answers!
Checking a vendor’s references can be a futile exercise providing little insight. Let’s be blunt most vendors have a list of pet references that are their go to standbys. They’ll provide a good reference but little insight unless you can engage them in an open ended conversation. I recognize that you have to ask a few questions that require yes or no answers, but limit them to a few. In order to break out of the staccato of the usual questions, “Are you happy with the system, “Did the vendor meet you expectations” try asking some open ended questions. Here are few suggestions:
1. How would you characterize your relationship with the vendor?
2. What well during the installation?
3. What could have gone better?
4. What features in the system have lead to operational efficiencies?
5. Over all what is the main strength of the system
6. What are the main weaknesses?
7. Is there any question I haven’t asked that I should?
8. Is there any advice you can offer me to help me make my decision?
9. Are there any other companies using this system I should talk to?
10. Any final thoughts?