Vendor relations

25May08

Karen and I were discussing the different approaches to vendor relationships. Sometimes you need to fix a problem and there are different negotiating strategies. Are you aggressively pursuing your point? Or do you prefer a different style?

Karen thought that yelling and demanding concessions does not advance your case very far. She prefers a collegial relationship with publisher’s represenatives, who may then go that extra mile for you, solving your problems.

I am a pretty laid back individual. Not much gets me up in arms, so that I must muster up my anger at incompetence, then I feel falsely indignant at times. Recently I purchased a new subscription from a publisher I’d never dealt with before. They asked for prepayment, so I sent in a cheque requisition to our accounting department, and diarized the transaction.

When I hadn’t received anything after about a month, I called the publisher and asked what the status was. This is routine in our firm to ensure we get what we’ve paid for. Apparently there was an error in the cheque, and it didn’t cover the GST, so they weren’t going to send us anything until they had received full payment. It seems to me the publisher could have contacted us to clear up the problem, rather than waiting for us to call them for being unresponsive.

At this point, the problem escalated up to my supervisor, who requested that I “demand satisfaction” since we’d paid the bulk of the charge, on the understanding that we’d expedite the full payment. The first clerk I spoke with had no authority, so I had to request to speak to her boss. This was really hard for me, as I don’t like to “rant and rave”. I pleaded our case as best I could, but they wore me down and wouldn’t budge. The firm wasn’t happy, but c’est la vie.

– Brenda

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