Collaborating with our customer is the most important step in developing a clear understanding of needs and eliminating the possibility of investing significant time satisfying wants.
Collaboration is more than a congenial relationship, but working together to achieve a result that meets the needs of both parties. To build a collaborative relationship with a customer, a strategic approach must be employed, one which includes the following:
Why two are better than one.
What issues exist for the customer today, what clarifications are necessary? Before investing time and resources into building a collaborative relationship, there must be clear reasons for why the relationship is necessary.
Do you have the right person?
Success in a collaborative relationship requires connection with the right individual, avoiding wasted time and effort. Determine who can best provide the support required for success before investing significant effort in building the relationship.
Time is money, be prepared to invest.
Relationships can be built quickly, or take considerable time. Be prepared to invest significant time and energy to build a strong and lasting relationship that will lead to collective resolution of issues and challenges.
A relationship is a two-way street. Energy invested on your account must be reciprocated by the other party. If you find the relationship is not moving in the direction you prefer, revisit whether you have chosen the right individual, and determine whether the effort is worth the result.
Nurture for growth.
To sustain a collaborative relationship requires continuous nurturing. Be prepared to revisit and renew the relationship on an ongoing basis.
Building collaboration with customers will result in reduced tension, increased understanding of capabilities, and continued support to develop business which is mutually advantageous.
© Shawn Casemore 2011. All rights reserved.