How the Seesaw Effect Can Kill Successful Customer Relationships

I was playing with my daughter in the Park recently. She likes to play on the seesaw. Unfortunately, on this occasion there were no other children for her to play with. Naturally, Daddy came to the rescue!

But things didn’t quite work out as planned.

I’m far too heavy to be able to balance my daughter on the seesaw. She spent all her time high up in the air. I spent all my time near the ground.

Some printer client relationships can be like this too
Printers who establish balanced relationships will also achieve more powerful partnerships. This is because they will be respected by their customers rather than being treated as a commodity supplier.

Printers who fail to establish balanced relationships are likely to suffer problems. They will fail to achieve a true partnership with their customers. So their customers will see less value in the as a supplier. They are less likely to be loyal.

However, sometimes it’s difficult to remember you have the right to a balanced relationship
Here’s an exercise I run when I train clients. One group lists what a client should expect from a supplier. The other group lists what a supplier should expect from a client.

When the two lists are compared the results are usually very similar. It is a good way for print companies to remember that their clients have a duty to their suppliers.

Let’s look at this in a little bit more detail.

What happens if a client is too powerful?
If a client fails to practice a balanced relationship, they may cause themselves problems. In simple terms, the failure to communicate in an appropriate way can lead to costly mistakes.

In the worst case, a customer may alienate a supplier so much that they will no longer work for the customer.

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  • Richard Losch

    Really good perspective and a concept all need to think about. Either side making the other weaker in turns weakens them. Balance is so important especially in partner and customer relationships

  • Shirley A Burns

    Great analogy… and like the physical see-saw, even if you have a "balanced" relationship, it doesn’t take much for it to slip out of balance… a simple shift forward or back by either party will throw the balance out of whack… and yet, it can still be easy to re-align so long as we don’t wait until the imbalance is as dramatic as you and your daughter’s situation!