When Things Don’t Go As Planned
What should our reaction be when a vendor has an issue? Some people would say we should react strongly, move on to another vendor, get angry, etc – lots of reactions out there when any vendor has an issue. While we can’t just pretend it didn’t happen, we can respond appropriately and act as a partner. In other words, we have to keep a few things in mind:
1. No vendor is perfect. There will be days when things don’t happen quite as planned. Let’s be honest, it happens in our businesses more than we want to admit. Things sometimes don’t work. People make mistakes. Things just happen. We have to be understanding.
2. We should hold vendors accountable. At the same time, we also need to hold our vendors accountable to provide us the best service, products, and information possible. That means we communicate constructively about what can be done better. We help make changes that are needed, offer suggestions where appropriate, and participate in the solution.
3. We should evaluate how vendors take responsibility when there are issues. One of the things to watch closely is how a vendor reacts when things don’t go well. Some run and point fingers. Some deny that anything is wrong. Ideally, vendors should openly communicate with you, admit if there is a problem, and put resources into action to work at a resolution.
4. We should never forget that the customer is our responsibility. If there are issues with a part, for example, we cannot just point fingers at the vendor we are partnered with. Our customers could care less why there is a problem. They only know that they trusted us to service their car, and they depend on us to take care of them. So even if a vendor causes an issue, at the end of the day, it is an issue you own together. The customer is your customer and they entrusted their business to you. You can’t pass that off on anyone. You have to take ownership of the customer relationship and stay focused on serving them no matter what.
Partner closely with your vendor partners. They will make a mistake now and then. They will try your patience and do things that don’t make sense, at least on the surface. But they are your partner, and you need to put skin in the game to make investments, build relationships, and work hard to be successful together. While I hope that you don’t have any issues, hopefully you are partnered with great vendors, and will continue to build and grow your businesses together as you tackle whatever comes at you.