Our Recipe for Customer Relationships that Last
Our Arraya Town Halls aren’t a new topic for this blog, but we did something at our most recent get-together that I think is worth mentioning. Normally at these events I look back at the previous quarter, updating employees on our individual practice areas and the company as a whole. However, I decided to go much further back this time. I went back 17 years, back to when Arraya wasn’t even called Arraya, and compiled all of our biggest milestones into a company highlight reel.
The motivation behind the history lesson was simple. We’ve grown so much and many of our newest employees may not be familiar with our humble origins as a two-man consulting outfit known as D&D Consulting. It’s impossible to appreciate where we are today without this historical context.
As I dug in to our history, gathering critical dates and events, a pattern became clear. I noticed how far back many of our customer and partner relationships stretch. It’s a fact I’ve always been cognizant of, but there was something striking about seeing it laid out in front of me. It got me thinking about how important long-term relationships are to Arraya – and about what goes into forming bonds that last decades.
Obviously doing consistently good work is a huge part of it. A proven track record of success helps bring customers back and allows our strategic partners to recommend us to their own customers with confidence. But that’s not all it takes.
It also requires honesty – even if that means telling someone something they don’t want to hear. Trust isn’t built on nodding and agreeing. It takes having those difficult conversations about why, based on our own experiences, a customer’s plan might not work. These interactions aren’t easy, however they’re why customers don’t see us merely as a technology solution-provider, but rather as a business partner.
That honesty must extend to when something goes wrong. No matter how hard our team strives for perfection in every engagement, there’s always the chance something unforeseeable occurs. Adversity is going to happen on occasion and, when it does, we don’t run from it or try to hide it. Instead, we own it. We’re upfront with the customer and work with them to come up with a plan on how to turn a tough situation into a win for everyone.
Finding stability in a changing industry
Change is commonplace in this industry. Technologies and businesses can go from “hot new trend” to the subject of “remember when” online articles in the blink of an eye. With all of that volatility, we’re honored by the fact that so many customers have trusted us with their IT environments for so long.
This stability has benefited customers in a number of ways. By maintaining equally-strong bonds with leading IT vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, EMC, and VMware, we’ve been able to ensure our customers have access to the right solutions for the right price. Additionally, the longer we spend working with a customer, the better we learn their IT environment and their business. This knowledge can prove invaluable in our roles as advisor and partner.
As I went back through Arraya’s history, I was proud of how much we’ve grown. I also recognized that growth wouldn’t have been possible without the great group of partners and customers we’ve assembled. Without fail, the members of that group share our commitment to continuous innovation and have motivated us to keep pushing our limits as a company.