Set your preferences

If your business partners don’t know your personal preferences, how can they make you happy?

Too often, our partners — be they suppliers, contractors or vendors, don’t have any idea of our preferences for communication, reporting, billing, service, etc. All they have to go on is the contract and its terms, and a few stray comments from you in conversation.

I’ve learned that a well informed partner is a good partner. Consider giving your partners a preference sheet, a single piece of paper that outlines how you prefer:
1. To be contacted: Phone, email, writing
2. To receive billing and reporting: Weekly vs monthly, metrics, and format
3. To be given bad news, such as a delay or service outage: Face-to-face, phone, email
4. To re-order: Self-service, assisted
5. To receive updates: Mail vs email, website vs newsletter

The more you tell your partners, the more you tailor them to your real needs. This increases their chance at success and reduces your day to day frustrations with partners that don’t give you service ‘like you want it’. Think about your IPOD, cell phone and computer — well tweaked preferences lead to better working devices. If you are willing to take the time to set those preferences, do the same with your human partners as well.