We don’t need to remind you that these are difficult times. Keeping your best customers is the key to stabilizing your business, growing revenue, and maintaining cash flow. And keeping these customers is critical during any economic climate, but as purse strings get tighter, supplier scrutiny becomes more severe.
An Uncomfortable Truth
At this moment, your best customers are very likely looking to reduce costs and increase the value they are receiving from all of their suppliers, your company included. Virtually every large customer is both reviewing and evaluating each of their key suppliers — or they will do so very soon. How will your company fare in this supplier review?
Is your company conforming to your customers’ requirements in the areas of product quality, innovation, and value? Is your account force responsive to your customers? Do your account people really understand the need behind the customer’s need? In other words, do your account teams really know how they can help your customers serve their customers? Do you help your customer compete and win in their marketplace?
How the Strong Survive – and Thrive
If your most important customers are reviewing your performance, why not be part of the conversation? Now is the time to proactively ask your customers about your performance. Taking a structured and open approach to gathering face-to-face feedback from key decision makers at your customer organizations can help turn adversaries into allies.
Take your customers’ input, however harsh it might be. Listen without being defensive. Let them know what issues you will address immediately and which problems will take longer to fix. Taking action and communicating will build your customers’ trust, and trust is essential to your competitive position, in good times and in bad.
We’re helping some of the most customer-centric companies on the planet cope with the current economic crisis. If it’s time for you to take action, contact us today.
Gary Gerds, Managing Partner