The customer / vendor relationship is an important one. Customers rely on vendors for different aspects of their business that affect their bottom line, in one way of another. Vendors rely on customers for income — and a bad experience can lead to a drop off in current and future business.
In this article, I will recommend 10 things that a customer must do to preserve the value of a relationship with the Vendor. And since relationships go both ways, another article will document ’10 Things Vendors Must Do!’
Let’s say these are in random order to prevent comments about importance. Feel free to add your own in the comments:
1. Provide updated email address and phone numbers
2. Forward “expired” emails to new people
3. Pay bills in a timely manner or communicate otherwise
4. Provide multiple people for contact — including product maintenance and billing
5. Reply to email newsletters with a simple “thanks” or questions goes a long way
6. If you receive a voicemail, it’s OK to reply in email to say you received it and everything is OK with the account
7. Allow time for new staff to get training on systems
8. Follow the Vendors support protocols
9. Communicate any features that are lacking and the priority it is to your business
10. Be as courteous to the vendor’s timeline as you would expect them to be to you
Overall the most important point in any relationship is communication. If both the Customer and Vendor have an understanding of each others needs, then they can forge ahead in a long-term and profitable business relationship.