Even when a supplier continually delivers a high quality product or service (i.e. on time and to specifications) they often find that the customer doesn’t perceive good value. Why?
Why does the value of a relationship as perceived by a supplier seldom match that of the customers’ expectation?
“The customer perception of the value they receive is reality … no matter what we think!”
Recently I came across an example where a supplier of services to a government instrumentality had asked their customer to benchmark their relationship.
They had completed 2 years of a 3 year contract. Over the two years they had met monthly with the customer to confirm that they were meeting the contracted statement of works and were achieving all the services levels – the customer had confirmed that they were with few discrepancies.
With twelve months remaining on the contract, the supplier conducted a relationship benchmark to ensure that the customer was delighted with the relationship and would be comfortable in renewing their contract.
They got a horrible surprise!
They discovered that the customer felt that they were not getting sufficient value from the relationship, despite excellent contractual delivery, and were planning to go to tender.
Considering the high level of service they were providing how could this be?
The reality is that most products and services are commodities. Most contracts call for the delivery of a commodity under certain terms and conditions and customers expect you to meet those terms as a minimum.
The Underlying Issue
The issue is that the