Business, Networking

What Our Clients Teach Us

School is always in session when it to comes to serving clients and their customers well.

And lessons learned should be lessons applied to run the business better, believes Working Solutions president Kim Houlne.

A case in point: What partnership truly means.

As much as the word “partner” is tossed around in business these days, sharing data and best practices—as you would in a strong partnership—can be difficult, especially in a client/vendor role.

In the early days of Working Solutions, sharing our “secret sauce” wasn’t something that came naturally or easily.

As a privately held company, we were concerned that a client, or another vendor working alongside us, might scoop up our coveted processes and ideas. We feared they could dedicate resources and money and do it themselves.

Real or not, the fear was there—that our revenue could be at stake if the sharing was too one-sided.

Learning a valuable lesson

This all changed when Microsoft, one of our most important clients, taught us a valuable lesson about what it truly means to be partners.

Microsoft takes a progressive approach in working with vendors. That’s not an easy job when you have thousands of them worldwide.

Such an approach aligns with what author and educator Kate Vitasek believes: “Any vested relationship flourishes best in a culture in which the participants work together to ensure their mutual success.”

Routinely, Microsoft brought their partners on campus to share best practices and engage in the true spirit of the word. Through these meetings, the lessons learned on how a successful partnership operates were immense.

Rarely did we hear Microsoft place its interests ahead of ours, nor did it take our ideas with an ulterior motive in mind.

Creating greater value More importantly, we heard a lot of:
  • “What can we do to help you?”
  • “What support can we provide you to make working with us easier?”
  • “What ideas do you have that will help us to improve our partnership?”

Microsoft invests in their partnerships. They do what they can to strengthen their relationships.

Working Solutions brings this same thinking to the table. We know true partnership creates greater value for those served, a client and their customers, and benefits all concerned.