Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Customer Relationship Improvement

In order to be successful within their industry, vendor customer relationships are important to improve products/services reliability and innovativeness.

Customer-vendor relationships in modern business are both art and science, complex, also critical. It's important to put together a complete solution that works in the best interest of all related constituencies in the business. 

Strong business relationships can create a value proposition that would move your prospects to become your clients; more importantly, to improve customer retention.

Do not show customers too many "surprises": On-time, on-value, on-cost is crucial to ensure that the products/services delivery is on the right track because one of the customers’ main concerns is the lag between the promise and the delivery. Some of other concerns of customers include such as charging further without notice, increasing pricing without reason, or getting the next software release without improvement. For many software related products/services, there are too many wants that are unfulfilled - either oversold at the point where they bought the software or missing or broken code that should have been there in the first place. Thus, to build a great vendor-customer relationship, vendors need to do the amount of up-front work to get an idea in front of enough customers, stakeholders, and others to know how valuable it takes more work than coding it, shipping it, and testing it. Understand customers' true concerns and do not show customers too many unwanted surprises.

You should be focused on the customer's needs and values. There is a strong customer perception that when an issue comes up, it will be corrected! The real outcome to aim for should be to ship a valuable solution. The only time you should set a goal to be shippable is if value is already inherently in the solution. Business needs keep evolving, and what we need today may no longer be valid a short time later. Valuable increments must be shippable and shippable increments must be valuable. The question is how to decide if it is still valuable? In today's business dynamic, implementing new software requires companies to focus on digging deeper into how optimization and negotiation processes/methodologies can provide flexibility and protections to ensure that the software meets changing business requirements over the life of the investment.

Coach customers well: New customer process changes, technology impacts, economic, and political policy trigger changes in the customers’ environment, thus, changing the need. Solutions continue to evolve but the customer does not get coached in dynamic environments. Good vendors are trustful advisors that coach customers well to improve adoption rate, customer experience, and increase productivity and innovation. The real win-win to this is when you couple the above with the ability to not only understand buyers but also synthesize that with information gathered elsewhere to identify gaps, predict their future need and continue to deliver quality products/services to satisfy them consistently.

The purpose of business is to create customers. Coaching customers well and gaining insight from them is the part of improving customer experience, which is how you feel about the whole process. Customer experience is the sum of all thoughts, experiences, feelings, reactions, attitudes, etc, that customers have or will have in regards to using or potential using of your products or services. With these insights, organizations acquire the ability to reshape products, services, and customer engagement. The management needs to clarify: What are the distribution channels, sales channels? How do we add value for each product/service, and how to deal with a “make or break” situation where we build a vendor-customer, partner-relationship for mutual benefit. At least, this is how people-centricity should be pursued to improve the value delivered to the customer, and customers need to be coached accordingly.

Vendor Relationship Management is a structural management effort: On the vendor side, the customer is the center of their products/services deliveries. On the customer side, sourcing can no longer just consider cost, it's also about evaluating vendor's quality deliveries, innovation capabilities, leverage expertise, add alternative brainpower & talent pool, and build up solid partner relationships for the long term. Balancing cost, quality and location in a 24 x 7 world isn't easy, they need all the sourcing strategies and options they can find and take a structural approach to manage vendor relationships effectively,

The environment has become so competitive, in many cases, the cost-saving potentials are being watered down and questioned. To keep the lights on and build competitive necessities, it makes sense to find a sourcing partner for the necessary activities of a business that are not core to how you go to market and make money, no matter where you choose to have the work done. The next generation of vendor relationship is about how to well manage the mixed bag of diversified vendors, multi-faceted partnerships, co-ownership of ventures and companies, contracting, etc, to deliver innovative solutions and accelerate business speed.

It is without a doubt that many organizations have come to the realization that in order to be successful within their industry, vendor customer relationships are important to improve products/services reliability and innovativeness. A trustful vendor focuses on process optimization, customer-tailored, on value deliveries, Business management has to focus their efforts on developing good vendor relationships and customer experience, to build a people -centric organization.


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