A single throat to choke. Who remembers that charming expression?
We thankfully don’t hear it so much nowadays. There’s more to the COVID legacy than we yet know. Times are changing. It’s not so much a power shift, but a paradigm shift in collective attitude.
The term “Customer of Choice” is not a new one, but it certainly has surged to prominence gaining pace over the last 15 months. The days of suppliers relenting, repeatedly surrendering margin, are at the very least a pre-COVID narrative. Quite frankly this was almost always a false economy – as the saying goes, you get nothing for nothing! Cost in these situations is very rarely the price actually paid.
But it’s true that turbulent times have always triggered recession type economics in any buyer-seller dynamic, typified by a drop or a squeeze in spending. Now though, there are increasingly two schools of practice. One is on the rise, whilst the other – that race to the bottom, is on the decline.
The path to co-resilience
Whilst the bottom line is very important, it’s the “let’s do this together” top line that brings growth to a company, breathing room and resilience to enact change, to explore innovation, to protect products, services, & people. Here’s a quick explainer: a supplier provides services to two customers, one of whom repeatedly turns the margin thumb screw; whilst the other prefers to explore, collaborate, seeking together to address alternative ways to de-risk and to create value.
As a supplier where would you choose to invest? As make no mistake, that’s what this is. If you’re a supplier, you are investing; and your customers increasingly take the view that they want you to invest in them – so that they can be Your Customer of Choice.
But let’s not get too carried away here, if you’re a supplier, you still need to be Supplier of choice! Supplier of choice & Customer of choice! A healthy dynamic. Certainly one based on meaningful synergy and collaborative exploration – where opportunities are likely to be both many and lucrative.
This is quite telling, a deliberate, planned and joint approach to creating both addressable and strategic value. These companies know there are limits to the value they can generate by focusing purely on the price of transacted products and services.
You can read more on this in this great article from our friends at McKinsey & Co – taking collaboration to the next level.
Customer of choice isn’t just a badge, it’s a Standard – and represents an increasing maturity of corporate mindset in favour of preferred longevity and a safer more co-resilient customer-supplier relationship.
You can also find more reading on this in our latest customer case study.