In Core sector the interaction happens directly between supplier and customers due to type of work and the reason of building total relationship with customers. There are following three stages in core sector in which customer raises their queries and in turn get different type of responses:
Pre-deal stage- In this stage, the customers try to find out business with suppliers by exploring business opportunities. At this stage the discussion is basically on implementing the project economically so the customer wants supplier to provide as much response as possible. The supplier must provide responses for following issues during pre-deal stage:
Determine and provide detailed and comprehensive data.
Must analyze and inform customer about the various types of assessments regarding different opinions.
Must inform the customer about recent technological facets and the developments which are predicted in the near future.
Must suggest the customer on maintenance and support requirements of each of his opinion.
Provide information and pros and cons of similar kinds of projects executing at various places.
The communication between the two parties could happen in any of the three modes i.e. face to face, telephonic and email/fax but it is important for the supplier to judge the responses on quality and comprehensiveness in all the three modes. The customers are intelligent enough to come up to the final opinion even in pre-deal stage. Itâ€™s crucial for suppliers to gain confidence of customers in this stage which will help them to strengthen their relationship in the further two stages.
Operational stage- In this stage the customer gives the supplier the project contract and passes it on to the operation people of the organization to analyze further developmental aspects of the projects. He obviously revalidates all the opinions he made in pre-deal stage. It is often that these operational people are among the busiest people of the organization and are more oriented towards their day to day work rather than customers. But the customer still wants them address the following issue while they respond to them:
Regular progress of the project with all details implications if any.
Relevant and actual information on status of technology, engineering, manufacturing etc.
Plan of actual delays in project if any.
Possibilities of any change in any of the project module or the predicted changes after the first version of the product.
Testing strategies and quality check constraints.
Customer is again responsible for making new set of opinions on the operational stage of the project. This is the stage when the supplier needs to be more cautious as a lot of cost and resources are being used in this stage and they have the opportunity to convert this stage into final deal. The response and interaction with customers in this stage are very rare but it is the duty of the organization to keep the customers well informed by giving proper responses on each operation stage to keep the suppliers in confidence and collect more information if needed.
Post-deal Stage- This is the stage when supplier has delivered the final product and the customer is analyzing the product at their end. During this stage there are not much interaction between supplier and customers as long as the product works fine and the customer is satisfied. But in case there are defects in the product or it is not working as expected, then the situation worsens and communication between the two increases. The following are the key responses that the customer must expect during this stage.
Prompt reply on any abnormal functioning of product.
Quick attention regarding any faults.
Priority on repairing these faults.
Dedicated expert team for quick error handling.
Managing the product with less capacity and higher efficiency.
Supply of spares or any asset required at actual price.
Training from supplierâ€™s side to end users.
Best maintenance and services, post deal.
The final opinion of customers about the suppliers is the sum of responses received at each of the above discussed stages.