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"It's not you.. OK it is you" - Why vendors get fired

Why are so many hotels looking to break-up with their vendors? The old adage goes something like this: "It's 10 times more expensive to find a new customer than to keep an old one." Whatever the actual number is, I think most will agree it is critical to keep your existing customers, yet it often seems this message is lost on quite a few vendors. As someone who parachutes into hotel companies to play matchmaker with vendors, I've seen the same old break-up story more times than I can count. 

Here are the usual suspects:"We're feeling neglected." Cries for help disappear into a ticketing black hole, never to be seen again. Or even worse, hotels are told to find the answer on the vendors “learning portal”, which might better be termed, “learning maze.” This problem could be solved by assigning a human who actually understands the business and treats pleas for help as more than just another ticket in the queue. And yes, it is expensive, but is it more expensive than losing your customers?

"It's not you, it's...actually, it is you." Many times, hotels are upset because the system cannot do what they want it to, but here’s the funny (ironic funny, actually kind of sad) part, often, the system can do what they want it to, if the hotel were only taught, re-taught or guided properly.  This happens all the time but by the time the vendor finally confronts the issue, it is already too late the damage is done and the RFP has been sent out. And, of course, the infamous "it's on the roadmap" excuse? That's vendor-speak for "don't hold your breath.""

You promised us the moon, but we can't even get off the ground." Sometimes it's a training issue, sure. But other times, it's a case of the sales team writing checks the product team can't cash. The sales team should fully understand their own product and the needs of the client. Work with the client to think through the problem together. If there is no solution, is there a workaround that would solve the problem? Or maybe reframing the issue comes up with new approach that can be supported by the system (many times hotels will ask for functionality that they “need” not realizing there may be a better approach). 

"We're just looking for a change." Ah, the classic "it's not me, it's you." If clients felt like they were more than just a number (shoutout to the one vendor who actually nailed this concept, at least in their marketing), they wouldn't be window-shopping for new vendors. We all understand your investors are looking for hockey stick growth of new customers, but treating your existing customers like the puck is not the answer. 

Nearly all these issues could be solved with a solid customer service and retention strategy, that focuses on the clients needs. But what do I know? I'm just the person they call in to find the next vendor who will get it right (or probably not). 

Does this ring true for you?

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