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We all come to proverbial "forks in the road" when it comes to performance, to delivering, to being reliable, to following up and ultimately to understanding what it takes to be better. There are mainly two types of being in business, away from the actual retail transaction if you look at things in very simple terms. Partnership and vendorship. They are both a state of being. Partnership is one thing: a cooperation. Vending is one thing: a delivery mechanism.
Over time all businesses play roles in one or both, likely both. While no person or no entity is perfect, it is in our best interest to actually perform to the best of our ability. It is also in our best interest to acknowledge what is done and undone. In a world where it is standard business to over-promise and under-deliver, when marketing trumps products and services, and reps and salespeople are most concerned with commissions or kickbacks, it is rare for someone to raise their hands and accept responsibility.
Recently I've had to experience both sides of the coin. One as a vendor and one as a partner of the client with another vendor. Watching, as we always do, from the outside, it is interesting to witness companies deal with requests (or demands) for products and/or services. We live it every day. Being first to accept responsibility no matter what. It's a fundamental approach to delivery and client satisfaction. Many argue with that philosophy. In the end, you end up reaping what you sow.
Nobody is wrong in arguing. It is natural to disagree. It is, however, wrong to stay in a position or unbending stance. No matter how comfortable we can become in believing what we vend is completely ideal, there is no such thing. And no company can profess, at least honestly, to no issues of dissatisfaction. This is another thing I've recently had to experience. It is a hopeful thing, just not achievable.
It is in all of our best interest to be teachable, flexible, to listen, ask and confirm as well as validate. In a partnership, these are musts. When these critically important things start to disappear and position is asserted, it is no longer a partnership. Companies need to understand that shouting in order to position or defending their position is detrimental. And not simply because it is being said here, but because most will say and acknowledge the simple fact.
So what do you want to provide? Many businesses seem to want to provide with the opportunity to partner. Some businesses seem to want to partner with the opportunity to provide. No cart or horse here. Not which came first. All of us want to prosper and profit. It is required to continue to provide services. But at what cost? It is true that you can't make everyone happy all of the time. But no business that has more than two customers has never had a squeaky wheel.
Over the next five months, when so much comes down to the pitch, the sell, the flash, the sizzle and the gorilla on the roof, it might just make a few vendors become partners if we all stop and recognize what we're doing this for. Customer service starts with a customer and ends with service. We must be accountable. If your service is operating at 60% efficiency, you might just find that your customer is 40% out the door. If you're paying attention. You can point at anything else that touches what you make, but it's still your responsibility.
Lack of accountability, denial or service, sweeping things under the rug and the like are just a losing game. Oh, it may take time. But it will happen. Businesses today want real. They need honest. They expect more. They deserve what they expect and definitely what they pay for.
Don't you? Act that way.
*No clients were harmed in the making of this post. But many are simply fed up.
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