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Vendor Response Time

RAJITA NAIR, 25 August 2020

One of the main hurdles in any assessment cycle is receiving the responses from vendors. ComplyScore team has completed several thousand assessments. During this time, we have identified reasons for delays, experimented a little with various processes and  identified areas where small adjustment in processes can lead to significant reduction  in completion times thus making the overall process smooth.

While there is no magic formula (that we know of) we can use to speed up the process, some practices like sending a questionnaire that is relevant to the services provided by the vendor are always recommended. In this blog, I will share these and similar methods.

For reference, in this blog, we want to show you the general trend we have seen when it comes to the response time. We have picked two types of assessments to show this. Company A questionnaire is a detailed one; Company B is relatively less in-depth. This is to show the trend we have seen based on 1200 assessments for companies across different sectors and geographical locations.

1) Questionnaire size

There is a strong correlation between the number of questions asked and the completion time. While that is obvious, the correlation is not linear.  Also, you can check for the same number of controls without adding more questions.

An innovative solution to this problem is to consolidate the questions under control groups. This reduces the total number of questions without reducing the controls assessed. A bulleted list is an excellent way to get the required answers.

For Example, instead of asking the following “Asset Management” related questions:

     A) Do you have Control 1?

     B) Do you have Control 2?

     C) Do you have Control 3?


Que: Check all the controls implemented for Asset Management.

  • Control 1
  • Control 2
  • Control 3

We have successfully used up to 8-10 controls under 1 question, and we have seen a better response time. This showed us that there is a strong correlation between the questionnaire size and the vendor response time.

This chart shows the time required to close out reports from initiation to the final report. The X-axis represents the number of days in which the assessments were completed. Each unit is 5 days. Y-axis represents the number of vendors completing the assessment.

As you can see, only 11 vendors completed the long assessment in 10 days, while 23 vendors completed the short assessment in 10 days.

2)  Automated email reminders vs. Personalized email.

We found that an automated reminder, though necessary, did not motivate the vendors to respond on time. We have seen that an initial kickoff call following an introductory email from a named individual translated into a faster response. Almost 1.5 times faster.

We also found that a constant check showing how many answers are completed helped. Interestingly, we see the vendors slowed down their answering after completing around 80% of the assessment. But once we started following up with a reminder showing that “You are almost 80% done with your assessment. Please remember to finish the remaining 20%” helped. It might be because visualizing the finish line helps.


3) Email is sent by the Business Sponsor vs. IT Security or a 3rd party

When the Business Sponsor sends an email as against IT Security or a 3rd party, the delayed responses are completed within a couple of days instead of waiting for multiple weeks. Leveraging the Business Sponsor, early in the assessment life cycle, has resulted in faster response time from the vendors. We have encouraged our Business Sponsors to give a gentle nudge during their regularly scheduled calls with their suppliers. It has never hurt and has always helped us.

I hope you find these nuggets of information and simple pointers helpful. We are always happy to help you with your TPRA requirements at ComplyScore.