Building relationships with customers is key to a successful business. Taking a customer-centric approach can help understand what customers want, how they find and shop for products and how they make their decisions to purchase again or recommend products. A critical component of this strategy is flexibility, since the needs of customers are constantly changing. You may be flexible enough to meet those changing needs, but are your suppliers?
When customers ask for products or solutions from you, your suppliers and manufacturers should assist you in meeting those needs. How those vendors respond can make a huge difference in the end result.
Well-qualified suppliers will focus strongly on finding a solution to a problem. Here is an example of what that can look like:
A makeup brand had a powder blush product that was underperforming in sales. The feedback from customers was that the product did a poor job of applying and blending. As a response, the brand thought it was necessary to change the entire applicator or change the product. As their supplier, Taiki engaged in conversation about the issue. We were able to open up a dialogue and ask the necessary questions that lead to a better, safer and more compliant product. Are those brushes going to be sold in California where certain regulations must be met? Is there a different type of brush fiber, shape or material that would better suit this particular product? Is the powder loose, pressed, or in a jar? This discussion led to a solution that resulted in the proper beauty tool for a better application experience.
If the relationship with a vendor is purely transactional, you will just get what you ask for. With a trusted suppler and open dialogue, you instead have a partner that understands your needs and your customer’s needs and can make informed recommendations to improve the finished product.
Better outcomes can be achieved if both the brand and the vendor unite in taking a customer-centric approach by solving a need, not just filling an order, which is exactly how Taiki works with our customers. The way to achieve this dynamic is by viewing the relationship between your brand and the supplier or manufacturer as a partnership.
With a partnership, there’s trust on both ends—allowing for transparent discussion of the needs of your brand and your customers. You need to trust that the partner will act in your and your customers’ best interests, while the partner has to be willing to keep this dialogue open and stay proactive to changing technologies to ensure the best products and solutions are available. They need to bring expertise and accessibility to the table and – most importantly – they need to “get” your brand. They should understand who your customers are, what they need, what their goals are and what your goals are as a growing brand.
At Taiki, we are inspired by the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen and are driven to continuously improve all functions and processes across the company to better meet the needs of our brands and their customers. We also embrace “omotenashi” – a unique approach to hospitality that anticipates the needs of others in order to provide exceptional customer service.
We strive to be a partner rather than just a vendor, providing the products and solutions that help our clients succeed.
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