I confess I have always been sceptical at the word “partner” used instead of the word “supplier” in B2B. I always thought it was a bit of an exaggeration.
Then, last Friday I suddenly realised the difference.
The pressman we’ve been using for years gave me yet another example of excellence in b2b service. And I have literally perceived this company as a real partner with a capital P, not as a simple supplier.
I’ll tell you the story so you can better understand.
This photo shows the business cards that were delivered to us in our absence. We found them in front of the office door after lunch, it must have been about 2.20 PM.
Seeing them there surprised me and almost made me relive the amazement I felt when I was a child and used to find gifts under the Christmas tree.
More surprising, I had sent my letter as an email the same morning at 10:17 AM!
I was speechless.
Moreover, as I said above, this was yet another case in a long series. Because what these gentlemen have done, demonstrating their excellent service, is something ordinary for them. It’s their standard: their works are always accurate and delivered in a very short time. Never a delay with respect to agreed deadlines.
Now that I think about it, another emblematic episode (other than last Friday) occurred no later than a month ago. Some of us realized in the late afternoon that we no longer had business cards for an important meeting the next day with a customer. So, we ordered the tickets at around 5:30 PM… and the next morning they delivered the cards directly to the customer’s office!
A good service in b2b is difficult in itself. Offering an excellent service is even more so, and few people succeed. But this perseverance means to be truly unique.
From now on, when I read phrases such as impressing or delighting the customer, which sometimes only sound like noble declarations of intent, I can only think of this “Partner” of ours.
But when can a simple “supplier” qualify as a “Partner” with a capital “P”?
In my opinion, the leap in quality is achieved when two conditions are met:
- when the supplier takes care of his customer’s needs as if they were his own;
- and when the customer knows he can count on the result as if he were personally committed to achieving it; he trusts the Partner so much that he knows that the task will be carried out with even more dedication than he would use himself.
The best professional compliment I can remember, for example, was from the manager of an important organization we were carrying out a very delicate service for. Well, this customer surprised me one day by saying:
– It’s a pleasure to work with you, because things go on by themselves and we can rest assured that they will be handled as if we were doing them ourselves.
So, you can impress and delight the customer.
And it doesn’t necessarily depend on the allocation of huge economic resources: all you need is organization, good will, a taste for doing things well, and a genuine culture of service.
the mention of our partner is a must, so let’s say a well-deserved THANK YOU to:
Graphidea Srl – Roberto Sommariva – Via Fara 35, 20124 Milano. Tel. 02-6702760. www.graphidea.eu. Just send them an email by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out the response time of these champions.