The Roots of a Successful Vendor-Client Relationship

A vendor-client relationship is just that, a relationship. And all relationships require open and honest communication.

How does that develop between vendors and clients? It starts with the vendors themselves – and more often than not, the vendors that have the best relationships inside their own organization end up with the best relationships with outside clients.

One key step in establishing internal relationships is creating engaged employees – giving them a voice, listening to them and being open about what’s going on in the organization. A study of the World’s Most Admired Companies conducted by the Hay Group found that firms with highly engaged employees outperform firms with the most disengaged employees by 54 percent in employee retention and 89 percent in customer satisfaction.

Engaged employees create other benefits, as well: They inspire innovation in their workplaces and help increase revenue growth according to two recent studies.

The value of internal engagement is recognized widely enough that several tech startups such as 15Five, Happiily and TinyPulse have released apps that aim to encourage and facilitate communication between managers and employees.

With or without a slick new app, creating and maintaining truly honest and open channels of communication can be a significant challenge for any company. Employees need to trust that they can be critical without repercussion, and managers must brace for — and even share — uncomplimentary appraisals of their company.

But it’s hard to argue that it is not worth it. One of Axiaware’s fundamental principles is working together, and it hinges on tenets of healthy communication such as being open, being curious, listening actively and asking for help.

We have found that that approach translates perfectly to the vendor-client relationship, enabling true collaboration with our partners.

And remember, the Hay Group study found organizations with engaged employees also had more satisfied customers.

In other words, when an organization is looking for a vendor, the best one to work with usually is the one that goes out of its way to be the best firm to work for.

Brad Powell

Brad Powell

Brad Powell is President and CEO of Axiaware, a custom software and user experience design firm that helps credit unions bridge the gap between a business goal and a software ... Web: Details