Why Not Delight the Supplier?

Yesterday I noticed that an invoice for the Moving Motivator cards from my printer had been hanging around in my “to-pay” folder for over a month. I was shocked and I quickly checked my bank account. Fortunately, I had already paid the bill weeks ago. I had simply forgotten to remove it from the folder. *phew!*

Today I received the invoice for my Chinese visa from my visa handler. I immediately paid the invoice. I felt that I owed them, because last time I did forget about the payment for more than a month, and I felt embarrassed about my lack of discipline.

Why am I so keen on paying suppliers?

Because there are people working there too.

Contrast this with the message that I got today from one of my customers. In order to receive the money they owe me, for a job I already did for them, they require that I fill out a form. And I have to send back the signed form, together with my invoice, together with a purchase order number. And they require that I send the invoice by email and snail mail. And they also informed me they will pay after 60 days, counting from the last day of the month of receiving all the paperwork…

It seems they forgot that I’m a person too.

I delighted my customer. At least, that’s what they told me. They want me to come back for another visit. And who am I to complain about that? But… shouldn’t healthy organizations do their best to return the favor? Shouldn’t they be trying to delight their suppliers too?

I do.

The more people focus on delighting the customer, the less they will be concerned about the other stakeholders. It is a fallacy to think that focus on one automatically benefits the others. I know, from first-hand experience.

p.s. I striked out the 60 days payment term, and I refused to send a paper invoice. (I will explain how the Print button works, if needed.) And if they haven’t paid within 30 days, there will be no return visit from me, or else a payment upfront. With business constraints such as these I primarily delight myself.


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  • http://profile.typepad.com/pboopwordpresscom Pboop.wordpress.com

    I really enjoyed reading the P.S.

  • Alexandre Magno

    Great point Jurgen. I was involved in some situations like that too. What I see is that many organizations (specially the big ones) thinks that they are doing a favor to us when contracting our services. They’re wrong! So…I feel that some suppliers are starting to refuse business “opportunities” with that kind of client…I’m one of these.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/jurgenappelo Jurgen Appelo

    Indeed! Suppliers should stand up for themselves. Don’t allow yourself to be abused.

  • http://chrissimmons.ca Chris

    Do you know much about Zappos, the online shoe / clothing seller? They’re all about delighting everyone, including suppliers. The book written by their CEO (“Delivering Happiness”) is a good read if you haven’t gotten to it yet. If you’re ever in Las Vegas with some spare time, touring their headquarters is worthwhile.
    Full disclosure – I work for Amazon, who owns Zappos. Further, I work on a team that works quite closely with Zappos. My opinions are my own, though!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/jurgenappelo Jurgen Appelo

    Thanks, yes I read the book. I even referenced them in my latest presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/jurgenappelo/lets-help-melly-14321103

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