Why partnerships fail – and why yours shouldn’t

You have probably lost count of the number of responses, proposals or presentations that proclaim some version of these all-too-familiar war cries:

“We work in partnership with our providers”
“We are looking for a business partner…”

There is no question that a true partnership can unlock immense value. But in reality, “partnership” is one of the most overused terms used to describe the type of relationship most clients say they want - and that providers of all sorts, including BPO organizations, promise. However, once the ink has dried on a contract, the reality of the working relationship is often very different – leaving both the client and provider wondering why the value sought was never fully realized.

In my decades-long career of consulting with organizations of all sizes, I have seen many great partnerships – and I’ve heard of some awful attempts. So let’s set the record straight regarding the attributes you should be looking for in a partnership:

Cultural alignment: While every business has its sights sets on growing and retaining customers and increasing revenue, your organizational mission, challenges, and appetite for risk are unique. Having a partner that is willing to go the extra mile to learn about where you are and where you could be – something I’m passionate about, as I explained in this article about the value of onsite assessments.

Trust: When your business is seeking out a partner in the contact center space, the relationship is far from transactional. We’re talking about being the front-line to customers – the lifeblood of your organization. As VXI’s Vice President of Operations Eppie Tong cited in this article: “When trust goes down (in a relationship, on a team, in an organization, or with a partner or customer), speed goes down and cost goes up.”

A ‘Challenger’ Mindset: You’re looking to provide better service, better outcomes and better value to your customers than your competitors. Your prospective partners are in the same boat – and they need to demonstrate that they’re deserving of your business. VXI has a long history of not just attracting clients, but also outperforming competitors and being awarded a greater share of their business. VXI client: The world's largest telecommunications company.

“Partnership” has been used so often because clients and vendors have a reluctance to call a relationship anything else. In truth, when people talk about partnerships, sometimes they really mean to say, “We are looking for a transaction or supply-based relationship” – or “We provide a transactional service.” Contact me if you’re looking for a partner that can help you grow, succeed and navigate your competitive landscape.

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