Going Beyond CPARS: Gaining the True Feedback for Contract Retention - (Archived)

Constructive feedback is always vital when it comes to contractor performance. In today’s resource-stretched times, there is literally no room for guessing when it comes to how a government customer perceives you.

The federal government has systems like the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS), which assesses a contractor’s performance and provides a record, both positive and negative, on a given contract for a specific period of time.

But CPARS does not provide the full picture that contractors need to improve performance and retain key contracts.

[pullquote]“With CPARS, it is often the procurement and contract teams that manage these efforts, which makes the feedback gained very limited – and it is only done on an annual basis,” said Cynthia Poole, Strategic Account Director, Market Connections, Inc. [/pullquote] “With CPARS, it is often the procurement and contract teams that manage these efforts, which makes the feedback gained very limited – and it is only done on an annual basis,” said Cynthia Poole, Strategic Account Director, Market Connections, Inc. “In addition, all of the feedback provided is based on a 5-point rating scale and does not provide the granular detail needed to improve performance.”

Poole recommends that contractors implement the right customer and contract evaluation surveys to augment CPARS with insights that will inform strategic and operational improvements.

“The right research, such as contract satisfaction evaluations or brand image studies, can provide a comprehensive, 360-degree view on the health of a contract or broader market perceptions,” added Poole.  “In addition, research allows you to dive deeper into the various aspects of a contract, as opposed to gaining very generalized information from CPARS, which doesn’t allow for probing into any areas of concern.”

Custom contract evaluation and customer satisfaction research will garner actionable insights on specific contract performance areas. With this information, federal contractors can quickly address any issues head-on with government customers, and course-correct before a contract is in jeopardy or comes up for recompete.

In addition, contractors can implement research on a quarterly or biannual basis, and not have to wait for the CPARS feedback, which only happens annually. L-3 STRATIS does this as part of a larger customer loyalty and quality management program. See the case study.

With continual government customer feedback, which is often very honest and candid coming through an independent third party, contractors can arm themselves with the right knowledge to keep existing contracts and beat out the competition during recompetes.

In addition, in today’s austere budget climate, there is no excuse for losing a contract over performance.  Contractors cannot afford to take any piece of business for granted in this climate, or avoid gathering candid and pointed customer feedback.

Knowledge truly is power and insights directly from government customers can help guide any contractor through these most difficult times.

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