7 Lessons Learned from Great Clients
Not long ago we were inspired to reflect on lessons learned from vendors. We are all vendors to clients (even corporate researchers have internal clients they serve), and we are all clients to vendors (even supply-side vendors have their own chain of vendors). So, we asked, what can all of us in the market research industry learn about being a great vendor?
This month we decided to shift our attention to the other side of the equation: namely, lessons learned from clients. We have formulated those lessons in the feature article of Versta Research’s just-published summer newsletter, which we hope you will enjoy (and benefit from) reading.
Here is a synopsis of the lessons:
- Clients know their business better than we do. They continually demonstrate deep intuition about research that will work and won’t work in their companies and industries in ways that can and should surprise every vendor.
- Vendor expertise matters only if we make it useful. No matter how much fancy expertise we have, it is only the beginning point for learning quickly from our clients, and for applying and adapting that expertise to answer their specific strategic questions.
- Be there when needed, be gone when not. Clients love responsiveness and may value personal relationships, but vendors are not needed or wanted at every turn. Sometimes we can help them most by staying out of the way.
- Meetings matter. Meetings sometimes disrupt the flow of work for vendors and sometimes may feel like a burden. But they are critical to aligning information, setting expectations, and building relationships and buy-in from internal business partners.
- Sharing information helps everyone. The most effective clients generously share information about themselves and their organizations, about the work we are doing and why we are doing it, and about how we are doing in meeting their needs.
- Doing it over makes it better. Great clients do not hesitate to ask for rewriting, reformatting, re-analyzing, simplifying, and digging deeper because it makes the research more relevant to the people who need it.
- Share credit and say thanks. When our clients acknowledge the quality and importance of the work we’ve done for them, it thrills us and doubles our motivation to work even harder on the next one. They share credit all around, and it matters.
Nary a day goes by that I do not reflect upon these lessons, because keeping them front and center makes our work so much better. And more than ever I find myself sharing stories with our employees about what I’ve learned from our best (and sometimes our worst) clients that I could not have learned any other way.
Intrigued? The full newsletter has more, and it will give you a good feel for how much we admire, learn from, and work to serve our clients.