Customer and vendor relationship is like a marriage, needs trust and commitment from both

by Ashvini on March 19, 2013 · 7 comments

in Business,Entrepreneurship,My Personal Thoughts

Recently a software I developed, did not work at all on a new customer’s website. It was because  of the open source nature of the system where the ecosystem is varying and complex unlike the closed, proprietary ecosystems. In a closed system, things are more controlled and thus there are fewer problem with software standards.

A well intentioned software on open source may suffer glitches when tested on disparate environments. With every glitch however, the software just got better because it incorporated techniques to deal with complexities that it encountered. But since nothing was guaranteed, it failed to work again one more time.

A shaking experience

The reasons could have been conflict within various softwares applied on the site, just plain wrong settings done by customer or a bug in my software. The customer was not happy about it ( and so was I ) . The moment I asked them about their settings panel, I started receiving a flurry of emails some of them not so great. By the start of my day, I got an email asking for refund. It was quite a “shaking” experience for me as till now I have had customers who faced problems but who also understood that I did my best to support them and eventually we solved the problem.

We all get such customers and often people advise is to negotiate with the customer and convince that you will do something that is right. It is indeed easy to negotiate with customers who are reasonable and understand the complexities of the system. They have a right to get angry if their problems are not resolved in a reasonable time frame and also they are not kept informed of progress. However it is really hard to satisfy customers who feel that they own you or that you should solve the problem just by looking at the site.

I have been involved both in situations as customer and vendor in my career and it was far easy to devise a solution where both parties collaborated without making each other mad. Recently I took services from one of my Facebook friend. We had a few glitches in the service but every time I told him about them, he came up with solutions. Most of the problems were because of wrong settings in the data provided by previous vendor. It thus would have made life difficult for both of us if we started blaming each other. I needed to trust him because he was a knowledgeable person and I had known him all along. And if I wanted his service , I needed to help him wherever it was necessary.

Letting ego taking over

Often projects fail because one party has a higher ego than the other. I am better than you or I can boss over you because “ … “ . This has the capability to destroy any well meaning project. When you get in collaboration with someone you will need to also understand that their might be coordination issues at first. But don’t let your ego get better of you. After all your progress or promotion depends upon the successful completion of the project. If you are stuck together and don’t like each other, you can wait till the project is over and then go separate ways.

Its just like a marriage

Whether you are a powerful customer or a powerful vendor you need to understand that a project is like a marriage and you need both partners to work together. Being unreasonable because you are in the position of power would only make things difficult. Also there needs to be an element of trust in between partners. Yes there might be disappointments sometimes but it is how you handle the marriage that will form the backbone of a long lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.

Image courtesy of [Just2shutter] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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{ 7 comments }

Zalando May 21, 2013 at 11:39 am

Mr. Ashvini Kumar Saxena

This is happening everywhere. Especially, where the products and services are being outsourced to other countries. The one who pays, always want to get its product delivered in no time. We are humans and it takes time to get work done as required. A mutual understanding between the client and the developer is very important in order to build long term ties.

Praveen Rajarao March 24, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Ashvini – I have had this experience many a times. My clients think they can demand anything and everything under the sun without actually realizing the importance of both parties involved and the mutual interests at stake.

Just because you pay a software provider, it doesnt mean you can ask for unreasonable requirements with unjustifiable time frames.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful article.

Ashvini Kumar Saxena April 9, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Hi Praveen,

It is sometimes impossible to provide everything the client asks for. Sometimes, client-supplier relationship is of unequals. The other side needs to cultivate the patience of getting the project through because the benefits lie in it, not in ego.

Have a great day :)

Adrienne March 21, 2013 at 2:03 am

There is always going to be that case Ashvini that you just can’t please everyone.

So I had a friend that was having issues with Share Juice Pro and she emailed me and said “he wants my log-in information. I never give mine to anyone and who does that.” I responded back to her and told her that you are the ONLY person I trust with my log-in information but if she doesn’t then don’t. I think she had a change of heart after that but you are doing your best to help them. I get people being leery but I’ve written about how awesome and trustworthy you are so they need to listen to me. I know what the heck I’m talking about.

You definitely don’t want to deal with people who are unappreciative Ashvini! You’re right, it’s like a marriage in a lot of ways. Yikes!!!

~Adrienne

Ashvini Kumar Saxena March 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Hi Adrienne,

Seriously, I have not been able to let go of the incident. I feel that both sides failed to make a meaningful thing out of the interaction. It took me a whole day to get back to work. Both of us lost a chance to become friends too ( as I am a blogger too). But there are days like these :( when things don’t really go as expected.

Thank you for your comment and thank you for putting your faith in me. I appreciate it always :)

Rashmi Sinha March 20, 2013 at 12:26 am

Such an en-lighting post!!!! customer and vendor are like hand and glove…needs to fit perfectly otherwise it is of no use!!

Thanks for this fresh perspective.

Ashvini Kumar Saxena March 21, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Thank you Rashmi. Glad that you liked it :)

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