Supplier of choice

A couple of months ago, I spoke at the Retail Value Chain Federation (RVCF) conference, which brings together large retailers and their suppliers as well as providers of enabling technology.  The title of my presentation was: Meeting Customer Expectations: Tools for Supplier Process Improvement. This conference addressed advancing the customer-supplier relationship in very direct and concrete ways. In a November post, I wrote about the qualities that suppliers seek in their customers. This post shows the results of the qualities that customers look for in their suppliers.

The people who attended my session on supplier process improvement were primarily retail suppliers. I asked attendees to indicate the top 3 qualities that suppliers look for in the “customer of choice” and that customers look for in the “supplier of choice”. The participants used their smartphones to vote and get instant results for polls developed by presenters.

In the Supplier of Choice poll in my session, here are the qualities that made the top 3:

1. Provides a quality product or service – 25.7%

2. Is responsive to customer requests and expectations – 21.6%

3. Is reliable – 18.9%

Other qualities of the supplier of choice that participants voted on and the scores included:

  • Is willing to improve (12.2%)
  • Is willing to go the extra mile (10.8%)
  • Offers the best value for the money (6.8%)
  • Is likeable and easy to deal with (4.1%)

In this survey, the top 3 choices were, in my experience, typical and expected: quality, responsiveness and reliability. The most surprising result was how low best value was ranked. If I had put “lowest price” rather than “best value” in this survey, it may have received more votes, given that this was a group of retailers who are always feeling price pressure. This survey is simply an opinion poll with a limited group of retailers. So drawing conclusions must be done in the context of its limited scope.



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