ZDNet Australia has posted a TechRepublic guide for IT professionals seeking better service from their service providers. It blends some common sense relationship management advice with some guidelines on how best to envisage and communicate your need to your service provider.
The clearer you are to the service provider about what you are expecting, the smaller the chance that you'll be unpleasantly surprised. When explaining your expectations, try to be as specific as possible. Frederick Brooks, in his classic The Mythical Man-Month, said that project milestones should be "defined with knife edge sharpness." Think about the Ws: What do you want, when do you want it, where..., etc. Make your expectations quantifiable if you can. That way, there's less question about whether the service provider fulfilled the job.
10 ways to get better customer service [via ZDNet]