“To earn the privilege to be our Customer’s Natural Choice of a supplier of Assembly Solutions.”
The words in this vision statement have framed our way of doing business for almost three decades.
To be your customer’s natural choice? A little lofty given the competitive nature of our business today right? Not really. Our vision keeps us focused on the job ahead of us. The real action is in the first phrase “To earn the privilege”. Far too many companies large and small take their customers for granted, feeling a sense of entitlement in some respects. When this happens, the original customer/supplier partnership is affected and opens up the opportunity for new competitors to enter and replace your company as a primary supplier – and trusted partner. As the incumbent supplier this erodes market share.
So how do we start to “earn the privilege”? First remembering that this is an ongoing process with no end date. In the pursuit to earn the privilege, there are several factors we consider:
- Trust is the first step. This is not something you immediately achieve, it takes time. When starting with a new customer, small steps to gain trust are critical. Often it is being relegated to a secondary supplier role. Stating our values, mission and code of ethics in writing provides some accountability to our actions.
- Adding value to the relationship. We are constantly looking for ways to reduce cost, improve efficiency. Anything that directly or indirectly improves the customer’s bottom line.
- Be available. Nothing hurts a business relationship more than taking too long to respond to an inquiry. Someone else will be ready and able to respond quicker if they are given the opportunity.
- Understand our customer’s concerns. Helping to solve even a simple problem with a cost effective solution goes a long way to solidifying a customer relationship.
In part two, I will cover innovation as a key factor in making good business relationships even better. And taking us one more step towards our vision of being your Natural Choice of a supplier of Assembly Solutions.