Most of us have heard the old adage “The customer is always right.” Today, do these words still hold value? While we know that respect for the customer is essential, the truth is that the matter is not black and white. At npn360, we view client and supplier interactions not only as tasks to be completed, but as collaborations. By acting as a brand execution firm for clients and suppliers, we are able to take the satisfaction of both parties into our hands and creatively fulfill orders. Below are some of the methods we use to deliver holistic and smart solutions for our clients.
Keeping Both Sides in Mind
When approaching the unavoidable challenges of customer success management, there are a number of aspects to keep in mind. First, and perhaps most important, is the fact that client relationships should always be collaborative endeavors. While it is not realistic for the customer to be right about everything all the time, it is still essential to remember that they are the focal point of the process. After all, the first step in product creation is an idea, and that conceptual seed is always brought to the table by the client. By approaching this exchange like a partnership that requires communication and understanding, we are able to fulfill requirements efficiently and effectively.
Of course, it is also essential to remember the other side of the production line: suppliers. When it comes to customer success management, suppliers cannot be swept by the wayside. In every order, the supplier becomes the face of the brand execution firm and, down the line, the face of the client when their product is eventually introduced to the world. Constant communication and insightful management of suppliers means that companies such as npn360 are able to establish strong relationships all the way across the line of production — and when we do, the rate of satisfaction among customers increases. Because of our central position in this space, we are quite familiar with what it takes for all elements of the ecosystem to be successful. Not only must we manage the quality of products delivered to our clients, we must also constantly pivot to manage the success and satisfaction of our suppliers.
The Success is in the Details
In a world of differing time zones and misconstrued emails, it is tempting to receive an order and send it off to production as quickly as possible. However, this sort of rushed approach is often the recipe for disaster, or at least for inconvenience. Although it may feel time-consuming at the outset, nothing ultimately saves more time than making sure that both the client and supplier have provided every bit of necessary information. The vision that the client presents may be complete in their mind, but it is the job of success managers, and eventually the suppliers, to make this vision a reality. Details that are often overlooked, such as what sort of unexpected machinery might be needed to produce the product, or what sort of unusual materials might be required, are too important to be taken for granted.
This sort of open communication also builds trust among all parties. In the past, our team has even been contacted by suppliers to confirm unusual details on orders. In one instance, a large order of bean can labels for Teasdale Latin Foods was very nearly printed with an incorrect number of ounces on it. If we had paid less attention to the supplier side of the production line, it is very possible that this error would have gone unaddressed, making it all the way into the homes of Teasdale’s customers. But because we had previously established a forthcoming rapport with our suppliers, they kindly double checked with us before printing, and we were able to correct the issue without any wasted money or materials.
Managing with an Open Mind
Perhaps paramount to any other advice is this: customer success management must be faced as a creative pursuit. The proactivity required to simultaneously manage clients and suppliers cannot be achieved without a heaping portion of collaborative ingenuity. While it is easy to get lost in the corporate day-to-day and adopt a formulaic approach to supplier-manager-client relations, the truth is that success management requires a creative mind. When problems arise, our team must tackle them while considering every facet of production. It is not only about getting the product to the client on time, though that is the end goal. Instead, it helps to view the situation as three-dimensional, instead of a “line” of production. What solutions can be gleaned from peering onto another side of the problem entirely? Perhaps one supplier cannot fulfill the product by the deadline — so who else can?
At npn360, we are proud to take a creative approach to customer success management. While we believe that the customer always has the last word, we also stand by the power of collaboration and communication. By proactively garnering the information we need to deliver satisfaction, we are able to foster strong bonds with both our clients and our suppliers. And as the trust among these groups grows, so does our ability to manage success and deliver outstanding products, time after time.