Partnership - The Often Forgotten Idea In Good Customer Relationships
There is an old saying in business, the customer is always right. Ask anyone in business though and you know the customer in fact is not always right. The customer wants what they want, but that doesn't make them right.
Since that saying doesn't work people have tried to come up with ways of saying the customer isn't always right. A number of years ago I heard someone giving a talk and they said the customer isn't always right, but the customer is always true. What they tell you is the truth, or at least what they want you to believe is the truth. I've been in a number of interactions with customers where they state something wrong. It isn't always a lie, sometimes people forget. It might not be intentional but it isn't the truth so that can't be right either.
At the end of the day the fact remains the customer wants what the customer wants, and if they don't get what they want they can always take their business elsewhere. Does that mean a business should cater to whatever whims their customer has? Absolutely not. It is important for a business to maintain their identity, be true to who they are. Just like every individual should.
Maybe what we need is for more businesses and more customers to look at things like a partnership. Having the respect for the other party and realizing they need each other, and working together to build something better. As many choices we are presented with for any type of good or service you can imagine, everything you can buy can be considered a commodity. Customers and businesses both have choices. You can go after the lowest cost option, the luxury alternative and everything in between. You can be brand loyal or you can select whoever is the top of the line in your current buying cycle. Which type of buyer do you want to attract? Which type of buyer do you want to avoid like the plague?
When we don't look at things like partnerships, specifically long term partnerships, you inevitably find yourself in a race to the bottom. Being the lowest price option on the market. Seeking out the lowest price option to purchase. There aren't many business books written about how to be successful by racing to the bottom.