Your customers will develop and change as your business grows. Some might be customers for life, others might be occasional buyers. While the demographic of your customer base may come and go, the one thing that stays constant are your suppliers. Building a genuine relationship and incorporating design into your communications demonstrates a mutual respect in your business relations.
Your suppliers are the lifeblood of your company and keeping them happy will have a direct effect on the productivity of your business.
Last week, we introduced the idea of design as something important for your employees. Apply that kind of logic to the experience of your suppliers. Design can be incorporated into documentation to personalise and tailor communications with your suppliers. But the design process is as critical as strengthening your business relations. So, let’s consider how we can achieve both.
Building a Relationship with Your Suppliers
Businesses often focus on building relationships with customers. Spending on marketing is expected to hit $1 trillion globally and businesses are constantly trying to find new ways to attract and retain loyal customers. The relationship you have with your suppliers goes beyond price-point and invoices. Suppliers help make your business tick and finding yourself without a supplier might be the reason you find your doors shut. Choosing a supplier is already a laborious process, but once your find a supplier that you vibe with, keeping them around involves transparent communication.
Clarify T&Cs, contracts, invoices and pay-dates with your suppliers. The part they play in how your business runs is absolutely critical and explaining the range of your products and services to them will aid in fostering a business partnership built on trust and respect.
Personalise Your Interaction
The world of business relations often involves thoughtful emails and annual holiday greeting cards. Which isn’t bad – it’s just a bit impersonal. Focusing on customer experience is fundamental to many businesses. But how about the experiences of your suppliers, partners, or distributors? It’s a competitive businesses market and similar to the choice customers have, suppliers are empowered to pick and choose who they’ll work with. Strengthening your relationship with your suppliers could include a site visit or invitations to informal networking events. It presents the opportunity to get to know your partners in a less formal setting and to gift branded collateral like stationery or other important documentation.
Keep Them Informed
Strengthening your relationship with suppliers means opening up lines of communication. It doesn’t have to be an email every month with an invoice attached. Instead, consider the ways you could involve them in your internal communications. Invite them to your company meetings – town halls, quarterly meetings, company mixers, and collaborative meetings. Provide them with print and digital collateral relevant to your business, and the specific impact they’ve contributed to. Recognising their contribution to your success improves your relations. You could provide them with a commemorative award or plaque which they can display on their on-site premises.
Design is not just for your customers, but can play an important role in developing a genuine relationship with your suppliers. To find out more, follow our blog or contact our designers to improve your business relations through design.