Last month I wrote the first part of this two-part series on business relationships. I focused on the seller or company side of the relationship offering my perspective on a few things companies can do to strengthen and maintain customer relationships. I mentioned that I disagreed with the ideology that the customer is always right because relationships are a two-way street. Just as businesses need to keep up their end, customers need to as well.
Customers shopping for audio services have an extensive selection of companies and service providers they can choose to hire. To be able to secure the best resources for the show it’s important for the client to build a relationship with companies, to create a successful event. Customers need to remember companies have several clients and projects they are working on and that the business will continuously be changing.
The customer needs to understand a company exists to make a profit by selling a service or product. For that company to stay relevant, the company will need to try new things, increase inventory, and pay staff properly.
If the company met or exceeded the exceptions that were set in the past and you the customer plan to use their services again, let them know. Purchase or reserve the services as soon as allowed. Companies can’t wait around hoping for work to come in. To maintain the relationship let the company know about any plans for reoccurring business.
As with any relationship, the customer should expect that things will change. Prices, staff, and inventory. As professionals, be open to trying new things the company suggests because they are the experts you have hired and trust. Take advice on new equipment and trust that the staff hired will uphold the company’s values and professionalism that has been experienced in the past.
Don’t shortchange the company. Companies are successful due to multiple customers; allow time to work out details, remain flexible, listen to advise offered, and most of all communicate. This relationship is based on what the client’s needs are, but companies cannot meet those expectations when the expectations are unknown. No one is a mind reader. Communication is vital in any relationship, and in this instance, the client needs to drive the conversation, so the company can help create a successful event and offer the proper support to the client.
As with any relationship if it is not working it is ok to move on and try something new; which both entities have the right to do, but don’t set up this relationship up to fail from the start. Develop a two-way business relationship so both the client and company can be successful.
Heather Holm: Fueled by an interest in live sound at a young age, Heather volunteered to work productions through high school. As a student in college, she started working in the production department where she learned how to setup and run audio equipment properly. Heather has been working in higher education for over five years in event logistics and projection technology roles. Recently changing locations and moving to St. Paul, MN her job requires her to be a jack-of-all-trades (Audio technician, venue manager, teacher, furniture mover, supervisor, and so much more). With the recent move, Heather is working toward developing a new network and possible freelance opportunities; sharing her experiences along the way.