How “No” can be Your Company’s Worst Enemy!

December 3rd, 2012

Is ‘No’ a word used with too much frequency within your company? If so, it could be hurting you more than you know!

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing.

The easiest reply that can be given to internal requests and requests from customers and suppliers is “No.”  IT, marketing, sales, operations, and engineering departments all over the world hear a question that starts “Can I get….” and the reflexes kick in and force out a “No” before the question is even finished.   Today we are going to look at a few ways that having this attitude can hurt your company and some changes you can make to achieve better results.

IT requests – It departments are flooded every day with requests from their internal users for new items that they want.  So many times when the default answer is returned (“no”) the internal customer who is determined to get what they want, finds another way around the IT department.  This could be in the form of an unsanctioned, unmonitored tool like Dropbox for file storage and collaboration or it could take the form of the employee going out and buying a piece of hardware or software at a much hirer price and expensing it back to the company.  In these cases, working with the internal customer to understand their needs first and determine if there is a different existing solution in place to solve their problem can save the company from huge headaches down the road. 

Vendor/Supplier Requests – Vendor/Supplier requests can take many forms and a lot of companies feel that supplier requests stem from them just wanting to get as much out you as they can from you.  In actuality, many times the supplier request is not only valid but if taken seriously can be one that would benefit how you deal with all of your other suppliers.  This could be a software change, a process change, a pricing model change or tool to be put in place to make their interaction easier.  As a company you may not be able to implement their request right away, or ever, but listening to what the supplier is asking for may allow you to develop short, medium and long term plans to accommodate them.  Many times your supplier simply want to be heard and have you acknowledge that the pain driving their request is real and by listening instead of automatically saying “no” you can strengthen long-term partnerships.

Best of both worlds-by listening – Much like supplier requests; customer requests are driven from some pain that is occurring in the process of dealing with your company.  Unlike supplier requests, automatically saying “no” to too many of your customers can lead to them finding someone else who isn’t afraid to listen to them and say “yes.”  It is impossible to accommodate every request coming from your customers, but sometimes understanding the request can lead to something even better; a solution that requires no change.  Take the case of the customer who asks for a custom report from their vendor to show data they need for their internal processes.  The supplier could say “no” or say “yes” and provide the custom development price tag to get it done.  They could listen for 5 minutes longer and ask the customer if they have looked at the data that can be exported from screen X.  The customer looks and says “This is exactly what I need.  Thanks!”  By taking the time and understanding what the customer needed, the problem was solved, the customer was happy and all it took was a five-minute investment.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your needs and pain that is driving the things you are requesting from your current “no” vendors, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

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