When you want to measure the health of an account relationship, you might consider using third party trained interviewers. Here is why:
Third-party interviewers are dispassionate and objective observers. They are well trained, seasoned interviewers who know what questions to ask and how to ask them.
We consider them “information brokers” who will not disagree with the customer or defend themselves if the customer criticizes. This is something especially difficult for your own people to refrain from doing, but it is imperative: reality is based on the customer’s perceptions—not on your own.
A customer is much more likely to be up front and honest with a third party than they are with you. Believe it or not: even dissatisfied customers do not want to hurt your feelings. Honesty and thus the quality of information obtained by third parties is better than the information you would gather on your own.
The customer will be impressed at the degree to which a company cares about the relationship when an objective third party interviewer is called in. It is evidence of how much the company values the relationship.
When several huge supplier relationships were asked how the supplier could better serve them, they said, “Sending a third party interviewer in here is a good start. It’s really impressive that you would do this.”
This intervention, conducted by outside professionals, was instrumental in renewing a meaningful dialogue between this supplier and its customer. Taking the time and expense to send in professionals means you really care.
The information is gathered, organized, and put into context with step-by-step suggestions on to solve any identified problems. The proof is in the pudding: the supplier’s Senior VP, Marketing concluded, “Advice and contextual information like this is vitally important, and there is no way we could have come up with most of this on our own.”