Managing customer and vendor expectations is an important dynamic to understand, explains Mr. Anil Raikundlia of Maple C&S, since in the long run, healthy relationships with suppliers and clients will prove to be a competitive edge for businesses.

Simply put, at any given time, you or your organization is a vendor and a customer. In general, we tend to focus only on our clients, but how we treat the smallest players in our professional chain can define overall success.

Focusing on all parties in your professional circle reveals that you care for all the people aligned to your business. There is a term used called ‘sourcing with respect’. In terms of supply chain strategy, this means working from the premise that suppliers are business partners. You are likely to work with them repeatedly, be dependent on them for your success and owe them not only payment, but also respect.

There are three keys to building and managing a great vendor or client relationship says Anil. Trust between parties is the foundation of all relationships; honesty is required on both sides so tough questions receive the right answers (even if they are not the answers that were hoped for); and responsiveness to each other’s issues and concerns is critical.

Key Points for maintaining respect

Meet them halfway

A customer/vendor relationship is ideally a partnership. The vendor/customer is going to have their own way of doing things, and it will be different from yours. Just like you expect them to adapt to your company’s policies, you should be willing to make exceptions for them as well.

Communicate transparently

Building a solid client or supplier relationship is a journey, not an event. Communicate honestly, directly and clearly. Being dishonest or dismissing their suggestions without due consideration speaks little of your professionalism.

Mutual Respect

Treat your vendors and suppliers how you would like to be treated yourself. Vendors are also sought out because they are experts in their own fields and deserve the respect that comes with that tenor!

Relationships are the pivotal focus. Managing and strengthening core relationships can either make or break your business. Listening to each other’s concerns reciprocally and involving each other in your processes ultimately enables them to be an invested partner in your business.

Manage expectations

The earlier you discuss expectations with your vendor/client, the easier you will find it to do business. By talking to the vendor or customer, you can find out what is and is not possible. Without that discussion, someone will simply be disappointed and upset.

Calm in Stressful situations

Poor planning from one party does not tantamount to an emergency on the other party’s side! In case, deadlines need to be met, do not use language and tone that you would not like against yourself. The simple fact that you are paying a vendor for a job does not give you a free rein to treat them in a disrespectful manner. A solid client-vendor relationship is based on trust and transparency.

If the situation is sticky end gracefully

Sometimes things do not work out as planned and relationships may be strained on a certain project. But end it with grace and tact so that later in life a simple disagreement does not hamper a fruitful agreement in the future. Penalize correctly and ethically so that there are no hard feelings on either side.

Thus, it is imperative to show your vendors/clients that you have an interest greater than the money they are exchanging for the service you’re delivering or getting. It’s about how we can all positively impact businesses, customers and lives.