In today’s world, no matter what industry you find yourself in, there are always going to be external partners that you work with. You know, the folks that help you with all the things that you can’t, and don’t, produce within your own organization – the IT folks, the service providers, the manufacturers, the support staff, the list goes on.
Much of the time, our interactions with these external partners are fairly standard, day-to-day activities – ones that aren’t particularly remarkable nor are usually worth mentioning. But have you ever had an occasion where your partner vendors simply stand out for being utterly awesome?! Occasions where you have to lean on those support teams to help you through a particular issue or question that you might have. One that throws everyone for a loop and can make or break your plan for success.
I experienced this with a new integration I was working with – a combination of services between two partners that I use on a daily basis for many marketing activities, one of which is a monthly webinar event. I was experiencing a strange activity in the system that I couldn’t identify and so I reached out to my account representative, who immediately put me in touch with specific support staff for the technology. This isn’t the first time I have had to reach out to this team, and I am sure it won’t be my last, but this was the most extensive of requests. And from the moment I started working with the support rep, I was amazed by his thoroughness and his attention to detail. He went out of his way to find a solution to my problem.
And funnily enough, on another semi-related (but not quite) occasion, I had to ask our main webinar provider for help – not only to fix a minor glitch but to get a better understanding of how we can use their services to better serve our own customers and attendees. In another example of amazing customer service, my account manager and support team worked to involve everyone on informative sessions, calls, and communications so that we understood full capabilities, and how we could use various options to our advantage. Not only did they give us the solutions we needed, but they rewarded us with some additional bonuses within our account.
My point here is that, even as a B2B company that has a software development team of its own, we rely heavily on external partners to help us be our best day-to-day. Sometimes we forget that, even though we are a business, we also play the role of the client or customer regularly too. And it’s important for us to remember both those sides of our coin when we interact with our vendor partners. We have needs and requests, expectations and responses to the services that we use and pay for, but it’s also up to us to make sure that we maintain that relationship in the most positive, efficient way. These partners can’t provide us with the service they plan to without our help in clearly identifying what we need from them.
It is up to us to be transparent and open to clear communication whenever we start to work with new partners – as a business-to-business company ourselves, we would expect the same from our own clients. After all, it helps us to be better at what we do, and learn where we can make improvements without anything becoming negative. And recognizing those partners that you value is equally important to helping them improve their services, and to letting them know that they’re doing a good job! Everyone likes to hear that their work is appreciated, and that goes for businesses too!
This all goes for your catering and off-premise program too – your vendors help to make your program a success. Whether they provide your delivery vehicles, set up your POS system, provide your uniforms, deliver your food or help you train your teams, the people and businesses you are partner with are just as important to the process as you are. Do you make sure you recognize your valued partners regularly?