Ed Katz, founder and former owner of Peachtree Movers in Atlanta, Georgia, looks at the best way to treat your vendors.
Do you like it when your customers commoditise your service and beat you up on price? Of course you don’t. Your vendors don’t like it either if you take advantage of them.
As the former owner of a large office moving company, I learned a long time ago that our success depended as much on our service providers as it did on our customers. Imagine having a truck loaded with office furniture getting a flat tire at 10 o’clock at night 30 miles from your base. Then imagine how great it would feel knowing you have a stellar relationship with a tyre company that’s on call and provides road service 24/7, and then shows up in a timely manner to repair or replace the tire. That was my world when I owned my moving company.
During the 24 years of running my company, we had situations arise, often after normal business hours, and I thanked God every time that we had solid relationships with vendors who came to our rescue without hesitation. That’s when you know why it’s important to treat your vendors just like your customers.
I learned this lesson early on from a VIP customer of ours - John Portman & Associates. Around the time I started my moving company, Portman developed the internationally famous landmark in downtown Atlanta called Peachtree Center. Whenever they leased office space in their complex, or needed to move a tenant from one building to another, they gave us the moving contract. It was my contact in their office, Dara Nicholson, who taught me how to treat service providers. She did it by example: she treated me as a valued customer instead of nothing more than a vendor.
She always acknowledged that they were not our only customer and did her best to accommodate our schedule if we weren’t available on a specific date. Can you imagine? ...
Photo: Ed Katz, Head of the International Office Moving Institute (IOMI).