Longterm durable relations with our customers... isn't that what we are all dreaming of and working on?
Microsoft was one of my first customers back in 1994. Today, at the brink of 2017, Microsoft still is one of my most valuable customers. One of the FTE's (full time employees) just expressed his surprise and respect with regard to this. He said I am one of the very few that is still around after so many years.
I am also fascinated by the sequence of events that lead to today. What have I done and what can I take away as learnings to share with you? Here's what I have found so far :
1. Never ever chase the money
My main goal has always been to serve the purpose of my customer and of the people I work with. I avoid discussions on money, cancellation arrangements, etc... It should above all be fun and easy to work with me. The revenue generated is a mere consequence of a win-win collaboration.
2. Make the others shine
Looking back on the history, I have always cared more for the success of the individuals I worked with than for my own. This low profile turns out to be highly appreciated. My own success is a mere consequence of this approach.
3. Re-invent yourself continuously
You are but as good as the last thing your customer saw you do or heard you say. I reinvent almost every story or interaction with customers and always try to add new elements that make it worth for them meeting me.
4. Be concerned
In the past 23 years, I have worked with many individuals in variety of roles. I have seen many FTE's come and go. I have always paid a lot of attention to genuinely care for all of them. Care leads to stories the old ones tell the new FTE's. Stories that have and will determine my future.
There are definitely more things that have brought me to where I am today in my relation with Microsoft. I feel, however, that if anyone, including you, just consciously pays attention to the 4 tips above, they may well find themselves closer to the next level of solid long term relations with customers and suppliers than ever before. Enjoy!