Myths about manufacturers' customer relationships
Last week, we shared and demystified several myths about the customer experience you may expect from direct relationships with the solution manufacturer or direct provider. We touched on several points that explain why manufacturers prefer to delegate solution sales, deployment and support services to their expert partners to ensure the best customer experience with their products. Today, we want to share four more myths about direct customer-manufacturer relationships.
Myth 1: Customer Service from a direct provider is better.
Every good organization has a desire to provide the best customer service. Far too often this desire does not materialize into good customer experiences. There can be many factors creating this result, but one key element is simple proximity. Often, a customer is lost in the depth of a large organization when trying to deal direct. Even when a customer is a large organization, their value is often overlooked because they are just one customer among millions.
For partners, this apathy can never exist. Being on the frontline, the partner must provide the best possible CX and support experience. Otherwise, there are 100’s of other partners lined up to service the customer. As the proximity of the relationship creates a real urgency and the delivery of a good CX is key to the partner's survival, they will do whatever it takes to deliver. A customer will rarely replace a large expense solution with another manufacturer's solution. On the other hand, they can always replace a partner in the hope to get better service.
Myth 2: THE Relationship with the direct provider is more beneficial for the customer.
The good producer/manufacturer/provider covets a customer's loyalty and the value that comes from it. Again, like with customer service, the proximity, size and level of communication can often make it difficult to deliver on the relationship at the level that is needed. There is also far more turn over or churn at the manufacturer level, so relationships can be lost due to change.
At the partner level, the relationship with the customer is at the top of the pyramid. Good partners are in the relationship for the long term, knowing that this business is what keeps them successful. Another reason, as every businessman knows, is that the well-maintained relationships open doors for the referral business.
Myth 3: THE Producer/manufacturer is more accountable for their solution.
Even if we assume that all employees and organizations strive for full accountability, the distance between the manufacturer and most customers is large enough that it is easy to hide from accountability. The pain and impact of immediate events are not fully tangible or even on the priority scale at the manufacturer level. It is not a blatant disregard, it is often just a matter of resource availability and priority. The manufacturer always has to create and produce the next big thing.
At the partner level, accountability is a key to good long-term partnerships. There is nowhere to hide, and honesty is the fastest way to real resolution. At the partner level, the relationships are often personal. This creates extra pressure but also better opportunity for good communication, courageous conversation and real problem resolution.
Myth 4: Big-size customers are more important for direct provider than small-size partners.
Lastly, customer often overlook the fact that their partner is actually also a customer of the manufacturer. This means that as big as the individual end-user customer may be, the partner is 20 to 100 times larger a customer for that manufacturer. This gives the partner far more pull and connections to get things done with the manufacturer or direct provider than the end-user customer on their own.
There are many reasons engaging a partner channel is the best way to have successful buying, implementation and support experience as we have detailed above. In the end to feel comfortable with what is the best route for acquiring your technology solutions, all you have to do is look at what the top producers/manufacturers/providers are doing. They sell and execute through their channels. This is because innovation and production of the technology is their business. Designing, selling, deploying and supporting is the business of the channel partners!