At Konverge we stress the importance of building partnerships (not transactions) between our company and our clients, and this is an important concept to believe in for every B2B or Service-related business.
To foster this relationship, there are 10 simple commandments for both parties to follow:
1) Do your research
The easiest way to learn who you are building a relationship with and learn their company culture is to look at their online presence: website, reviews, and social media. It’s important for the service provider to know the industry of their client, learn what they do, and learn about their target market. Clients should read up on the service industry to learn average prices, do their due diligence and look through reviews and company reputations.
2) Ask questions, make sure you understand everything and see the worth of it
Well you know the age old saying “you won’t know unless you ask” same is true in this situation as well. If you need clarification or just more information, all you need to do is ask.
3) Answer questions, the partnership is a two way street
Now that the questions were asked, it is important that they get answered. So make sure the questions are answered clearly, on time and effectively.
4) Read the documents you are given, if you don’t get anything, ask for them
Clients often provide information to the service providers to provide them information about the project or services they need (RFPs, Requirements, Project Plans etc.). These documents were written to provide the service provider with important information they need to know to fulfil the project demands, therefore it is important for the service providers to read, and understand these documents and reply accordingly.
Alternatively, service providers provide their clients with many documents that are made to explain the processes, terms and conditions, and requirements of the project. These documents are written for a reason, if they were not important they wouldn’t be created (trust us when we say Technical Document are NOT fun to write). These documents are used as the foundation to your software and are used in the entire development process thereafter, so you must ensure your foundation is strong before you build the house.
5) Walk in the other party’s shoes
Both parties should be empathetic and understand the needs and requirements of the other. Not every bug, hiccup and delay is the fault of the supplier. And the supplier should treat the client’s issues and projects as if it was their own.
6) Be reasonable in pricing/estimation processes
Clients and suppliers both need to be realistic when it comes to their budgeting, time estimations and costing. It is important that suppliers break down estimates for the client to help them understand where the price is coming from.
7) Be open to suggestions
We are in a culture of stubbornness and needing to be right in every situation. However, we need to be open to new ideas, new opinions and speaking to experts in their field. As clients, we hire service providers to help us with processes we cannot do ourselves, therefore it is important we take the time to listen to their suggestions from the experts in the field. Alternatively, the clients are the experts in their company and their industry; they know the audience, what they want and how the processes will work in their business, it is important we listen to their suggestions as well.
8) Help us, help you.
Communication is key to developing a strong, successful partnership. It helps both parties to make sure the communication is clear, abundant and effective. It is also helpful to use more direct communication methods (see our blog on this here). Emails are convenient but not always the most effective, try to pick up the phone or better yet set up a face-to-face meeting and see the efficiency improve immediately.
9) Follow the proper communication protocol
Make sure to use the contact information/number or communication process you were given, this team member or group of people were appointed to be the point of contact for one reason – to ensure communication lines are clean and clear and avoid confusion and broken telephone.
10) Follow up and stay in touch
After the project (services) are given, does not mean the partnership is over, there is always maintenance and new revisions to be done in the future. And if another project comes up the learning curve would be much shorter, and most suppliers also have maintenance and support packages as well.
By: Sonia Bhalla