When we experience great customer service and poor customer service, we are reminded of the value of great customer service. Yes, customer service is important. But, what about the other way around? What about vendor service?
Just the other day I was meeting with one of my vendors. Before we got started on why I was there, I asked her what challenges she was facing. The situation she described was something I was able to help her with, so I provided her with tools and information to solve the problem, and I committed to be available for further assistance on the issue.
Think about this, who is going to get better service from her in the future, me or the guy who always complains about things not being good enough?
Please note that I didn’t help her for the purpose of getting something back or to hold it over her head. No, I did it to help her, to make her life better, nothing more. However, when you help someone, the natural consequence is that they tend to want to help you when the opportunity arises.
Let’s step into the vendor’s shoes. Who would you rather do business with?
The customers who had a track record of being willing to positively work things out and who were grateful of the employee’s efforts to fix problems. Would you find yourself more likely to go above and beyond when resolving problems and meeting special requests?
The customers who had a reputation of being difficult to work with and/or the ones who were demanding. Would you want to go above and beyond? Or, would you be more inclined to give them bare minimum effort to just appease the situation.
The difficult and demanding customers become their own worst enemy. By continuously being unpleasant to work with, they alienate the very people who could help them. Some of those difficult and demanding customers even managed to get themselves “fired.” And they wonder why they can never get good service.
A question I ask myself is, “How can I make it better for my vendors to do business with me?”
What kind of customer are you? What kind of customer is your business to its vendors? In what ways can you be a better customer to your vendors? Perhaps, you could pay before the invoice is due. Ask your vendor what drives them nuts…and make a note to never do that! Ask them if there is any problem or challenge they are facing where you might help.
When your vendors feel appreciated by you and when they know you care about them, the relationship grows stronger. The result is that your vendors will do things for you that they might not do for other customers. If you are a better customer to your vendor than your competitor is to their vendor, who going to have the advantage?
Being a great customer is a game changer!