By Derick Deleo, VP Products & Professional Services
The typical customer experience for purchasing software, IT hardware, or even professional services looks a little something like this:
You do some online research, read reviews and articles in journals and magazines (online or in print) and/or talk to your peers inside or outside of your organization or even go as far as hiring a consultant. Then after a while, you narrow your choices down to one or more vendors that you may evaluate even further – perhaps having the vendors perform a proof of concept or provide a demo.
Eventually, you decide and select a vendor. You implement the solution or the service provider delivers the required service and then you’re done. On to the next problem to solve or challenge to face.
You’re a customer in this scenario. You didn’t ask for advice or guidance, you made your decision based on the facts you gathered, then moved on.
But so often simply being a customer disappoints. Customers and vendors discuss a technology, but they don’t discuss the best technology for the organization. They don’t share best practices for implementing a technology or how it will impact the enterprise reference architecture. The typical customer-vendor relationship doesn’t go into how to work together to design, build and deploy a solution that solves immediate and future business problems while allowing for future growth.
To experience all of that is to be a client.
Clients want more than just a vendor, they want a partner that will become an extension of their department or organization. A partner who is as interested in helping you achieve success as they are themselves.
A true partner is only successful if their client is successful. A true partner listens to their client to understand the problem, challenge or issue and then works together to resolve it.
As a client, you don’t simply purchase from a partner and move on, you repeatedly engage with a partner to evolve, progress, and drive ongoing differentiation that leads to ongoing success.
A partner is comfortable questioning a client and being questioned by a client about decisions, strategies, plans, directions, designs, etc. This is what teamwork is all about – working together to define, design, build and deploy a visionary solution that will deliver exceptional results. Through collaboration, the best ideas will rise to the top with input from all. This is what a client-partner relationship is all about. This is what drives success.
So, what do you want? A vendor that treats you like a customer? Or a partner that treats you like a client?
About the author: Derick loves to travel. He’s been all over the world, and his favorite cities are Sydney, Paris, Rome, London and Dubai. Derick enjoys cultivating a company culture of creativity and innovation through open brainstorming and collaboration. He loves debating ideas to come up with truly visionary solutions that deliver exceptional results.