Often, customers prefer a standard solution because they see it as being fast and inexpensive. However, these same customers have a well-thought-out list of requirements in relation to the end result. Far too often, budget is put in first place when contacting a potential partner and customer intuition is the deciding factor. But what if we, as your partner, did not take your full list of requirements into account? Would we then not be missing out on an opportunity of presenting a better and cheaper solution?
In the sector in which I operate, namely, that of glass roof solutions that also includes skylights, etc., this is the crux of a good project approach where customised and therefore bespoke solutions are offered and we perform our daily tasks within this spirit.
Do the customer and partner speak the same language?
“A cheaper solution within the standard”: what does that mean? Often without realising it, the customer asks three different things at the same time. He asks that we provide an attractive proposal with regard to budget and that we share knowledge to offer the best solution for a particular list of requirements to which he immediately adds that you don't have to search far and wide because a standard solution will do. A satisfied customer wants the perfect answer and it is therefore essential to correctly identify the list of requirements. And this is how you take the first step towards a bespoke solution automatically.
Standard solution definitions can vary greatly. One person will see it as a ready-made solution while another as a modular concept. You also have those where it is all about a parametric element and some kind of personal customisation arises based on specific requirements. A more realistic definition of a standard solution is a product or solution where you can search for a required end result within the prescribed rules. We can therefore break this down to the question whether the list of requirements and the prescribed rules are aligned with each other.
In addition to the standard and budget, we must not lose sight of the result that the customer wants. He counts on the partner’s fields of excellence for this. In short, the customer expects a balanced proposal that takes into account the priority ratios within the list of requirements. We can therefore also decide that the definition of customisation is all about searching together for a balance between requirements, technologies and budget. Or, in other words, consider together creatively and in terms of the standard without restricting ourselves to the prescribed rules of one particular standard.
Customisations are attractive!
For a customisation, the customer holds an open meeting with the expert, that is, the person who will identify all technologies objectively. The infectious character consists of ensuring that the expert can plant an idea in the customer's mind after which the customer, in turn, can launch a new idea. This has a very enriching effect for both parties and gives, on the one hand, an idea of what is relevant on the market to the partner while the customer, on the other hand, has the impression that a combination of different existing "standard" technologies can often offer him the best solution.
When should you ask for a flexible customisation?
By already asking for a customised project during the initial contact, you can avoid the risk that a deviating expectation pattern will be created between the partner and customer. The demand for flexibility usually occurs after an order is placed and can unconsciously create a detached or cold relationship. The cooperation then ends up being a dialogue in which both parties defend their own apparently incomplete interests in accordance with the “contract”. It is possibly that the focus on completing a successful project may be pushed to the background. We therefore recommend discussing customisations and all possible flexible elements before the contract is drawn up. This will prevent the risk of unexpected costs because, let's be honest, unexpected costs are usually higher than the expected savings.
The customisation coordination proposal
A partner meeting entails more than a customer and partner consulting one another. It is also important to examine the limits linked to assumptions when searching for a solution. The customer always counts on the best technical solution, a well-aligned team, meeting the agreed deadlines and good and full agreements regarding the agreed budget. Coordination and communication go hand-in-hand and good and simple lines of contact will ensure that the details of the solution are also passed on perfectly during the implementation of the project, which will ensure that misunderstandings and unclear issues are limited to a minimum.
The cooperation benefit of customisation
By making choices in consultation with each other and taking decisions based on this, the cooperating parties become aware of the philosophy of the contract. Sound agreements ensure that both parties position the goal of the cooperation above all possible issues at all times during the implementation of the project. This will ensure that an issue cannot escalate. Both parties can, moreover, agree more quickly about a result because, often, additional issues cannot be assessed during the meetings that precede the cooperation. We can then rely on the spirit within which the first extensively discussed agreements where made should issues arise. While bearing this focus in mind, both parties also feel respected and appreciated when an issue arises.
We try to convert this vision into practice every day with our team for glass roof solutions. If you take a moment to contact us, you will soon notice that this has an infectious effect!