Importance of a positive Customer-Vendor Relationship
Despite their similarities, customers and vendors ultimately have their own best interests in mind. Building good relationships in business is similar to doing so in our personal lives. A one-size-fits-all approach to any type of relationship, just like in our personal lives, rarely works. A vendor relationship is likely to be one of the most important in your business. It’s all too easy to think, “I’m a customer, and they have to do whatever I want.” At the same time, there is a mutual need on the part of the customers to maintain the relationship.
There may be some overlap, but each of them wants to come out on top when it comes to making a deal. Customers want to keep costs low, while the vendor wants to maximize capital. For the most part, a vendor wants to limit development, whereas the customer wants the most bang for their buck. Neither position is correct; both are acceptable in business and are traceable in every transaction. However, problems arise when the line of mutual exclusivity is crossed and one camp encroaches on the other.
A vendor will, by default, seek to maximize its profits. If a sufficient return is not realized, this can result in dissatisfied customers. However, a vendor is chosen rather than bestowed.
And, as customers choose the relationships they form in the business world, they must exercise caution to avoid such frequently-founded feelings of bitterness. There have been instances of wrongdoing, but these are simply costs of doing business in most cases.
If both parties are to benefit from the relationship, it must be stronger. It should be mutual, with both parties striving for excellence in the customer-vendor relationship.
When a customer-vendor relationship is in trouble, there is a good chance that there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed for equilibrium to be restored.
Here are 10 things you can do to keep your vendor relationships as positive as possible.
1. Find out what they want
Throughout the work, make sure you understand exactly what you can do to allow the vendor to do their job and do your best to provide it to them. Don’t be afraid to try.
2. Do not mix business and pleasure
However, keep them as friends and commit to the long-term partnership. It works better that way because you can make demands as a vendor and as a friend on different levels.
3. Make your demands known as soon as possible
Don’t blame the vendor for not delivering on time; instead, make your demand 48 hours ahead of time so that they aren’t disappointed and delayed when it comes time for deliverables.
4. Understand that they have other customers
Customers frequently act as if they own a vendor or are the vendor’s only customer. Sometimes the person you want to work with is assisting another customer, so you must deal with someone else. You can’t expect to send an email with a request and have them start servicing it within minutes of receipt unless you have a contract for long-term, ongoing work, and so on.
5. Distance the people from the business
Many times, a vendor’s employees are bound by processes, and it is easy for customers to become enraged at the person for not doing what they want. When your needs are not being met, ask the person whether it is the process or the person making a decision that is saying “no.”
6. Pay them when you're supposed to
Unpaid bills will make vendors stop supporting you. For whatever reason, some customers believe that failing to pay their bills on time is acceptable. Occasionally, a customer will use nonpayment as a form of protest, such as leaving a bad tip at a restaurant.
Sometimes, the vendor and the customer have different ideas about when a bill should be paid. Sometimes the customer has an accounting policy, such as “Net 60,” and does not inform the vendor about it during contract negotiations. As a result, the vendor is taken aback when it takes several months to receive payment. During your contract negotiations, make certain that their expectations of “on time” payment and yours are in alignment.
7. Never, ever trash talk them
Don’t be nasty to them or speak in an unprofessional manner. Remember that they are also people, especially in public. If you wouldn’t say something to someone in person, don’t say it on the Internet or behind their back. It has the potential to and will come back to haunt you.
8. Try to see things from the vendor's point of view
Many vendors do not understand what the consumer wants, and many consumers act as if they own a vendor or are the vendor’s only customer. Be patient if your desired collaborator is helping another customer and must be contacted by someone else.
9. Maintain honesty, openness, and transparency
They may be making demands based on their own needs, but they may not actually require the item. Instead of selling it to them just to make money, tell them the truth.
10. Communicate with them as often as possible
Make sure you are reachable at all times; if you know you will be unavailable for an extended period of time, please send a memo so that your customer does not perceive you as unprofessional and chooses another vendor. Don’t build a barrier between you and your customer.
If you can effectively and efficiently build on these keys, you will have a great vendor-consumer relationship, and you will have the best transaction.