The customer is always right, right? So when we’re the customer, how do we handle the responsibility of being considered “always right?”
Some people/organizations handle it gracefully while others wield it like a sledge hammer crushing all who dare beg to differ. You are paying a vendor for their services and thus there is a reasonable expectation of quality, service and that promises be met. It’s an important dynamic and it is in all of our best interests to manage our vendor relationships with responsibility and professionalism. Here’s why:
- Paths cross and word travels fast: You’re most likely working with a vendor because they service many companies like yours and work within the same space. If you tend to be a tough client to work with, they’re going to remember and when they evoke your name, you don’t want their opinions to be negative towards those with whom could become your client.
- Be careful on your way up: Quite simply put, you never know when your vendor may become your client or when you may need something from them. Once again, there’s a good chance your fields of business are related and whether it’s advice you need, a client referral, a favor or an opportunity to assist them with a project they have, you want to be known as the go-to, easy to work with group.
- Brand advocates: The best kind of marketing is word of mouth and anyone will tell you that “who you know” plays a HUGE factor in getting your foot in the door with a new client. Your vendors can become some of your best brand advocates. They talk to people in your industry and to people who may be seeking your services and if you work with them on a regular basis they’re going to know the kind of work you deliver. Treat them with respect and they’ll be more apt to speak your praises to people with whom they have solid relationships.
I’d recommend viewing vendors like any other business relationship; hold them to their promises, but be professional, and respectful. The relationships we have with vendors can benefit us both if managed properly.