This morning a woman from a local business called our office with an Electrical Emergency. Their office would be inoperable until this issue was rectified and they wanted us to send an Electrician over immediately. She explained that she had already called two other companies and both were unable to respond on such short notice. We did not have an existing relationship with this business, so our Service Manager asked her who her regular Electrician is. She responded by saying “There are a few different ones that I call to get pricing when I need something done”. It was suddenly apparent why the other companies she reached out to weren’t rearranging their schedules to accommodate her needs. In all of her years of price shopping Electricians, she had not built a relationship with any one Electrician who would go out of his way to help her in her time of need. Now she was desperate.
As we focus on running our businesses efficiently and cost effectively, it is important that we remember that the relationships we create in our industry are just as important as any other aspect of running our businesses.
In our business, we purchase cases of lamps on a regular basis. We have purchased these materials from one supplier for over 15 years. We know he will go out of his way to get us what we need. He will get us pricing on a deadline, he will deliver our product the next day if needed, he will even refer us to businesses that ask him for a referral. Why does he do this? Because we are loyal to him. 80% of our lighting material is purchased from him. We don’t beat him up on his pricing on every order. We know we can trust him to be fair and in return we he will come through for us, even in an emergency.
We are fortunate that the majority of our customers use us as their primary vendor and have for many years. They have depended on us to be fair in our pricing, respond in an appropriate time frame, and help them make educated decisions in their maintenance programs. We value the loyalty given to us by these customers, so in return we are there for them when they need us. We respond immediately if an emergency should arise and we make sure we are making decisions in their best interest.
Loyalty is earned and should be mutually beneficial. Our loyalty to our vendors doesn’t mean that we don’t do our due diligence in making sure that we know the fair market price of our materials, but even if we could save $20 on a case of lamps by purchasing from another vendor, is it worth damaging the relationship we have spent 15 years building with a vendor who takes pride in doing business with us? For us that is an easy answer.