Helping you maintain an honest, transparent and fair relationship with your uniform rental provider is one of our goals. The knowledge we share may seem biased against the large providers in the market. But that isn’t our perspective and it is not our goal. Where the providers may perceive bias, we simply see new transparency in the service design of the industry. Our aim isn’t to cause more conflict or to point fingers. We want to level the playing field, and the best way to do that – we think – is by using data to reduce service friction. We want both you AND your provider to have a better experience.
This post is about one simple concept – keep your eyes wide open as you start down this path. As you start to push back on your provider, you will provoke a predictable response. They will push back on you. They are the managed services provider, so they get to decide what is correct. That’s how it feels, right? But here’s the crucial difference – providers are not accustomed to customers pushing back with cold, hard data. When you do that, things can get volatile.
PROVIDERS HAVE MORE LEVERAGE ONLY AS LONG AS YOU LET THEM
Whenever you let something go sideways for too long, you do one of two things. You either continue to let it be wrong because of status quo bias, or you simply don’t deal with the vendor pushing back even though you know you’re right. You don’t want to poke the bear. We say go ahead – poke the bear. If you have a legitimate issue with supporting data, poke poke poke. It may require some bandwidth at first, but you can’t let the provider call the shots any more. And while it may pain you to admit to that, it’s hard to deny the truth of it. The major uniform rental providers have created an oligopoly like environment. For customers, this has meant years of losing leverage. Losing value. Losing your voice.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Knowledge is the great equalizer, and YOUR data will lead you to it. There is nothing more powerful than an informed customer. But, as we indicated above, understand that your provider is likely going to have a reaction in discord with your newfound leverage. You’ll get through it though. Your provider will get through it. You will. And when you do, that renewed transparency will start to level the playing field. To be fair, there might be something in your data that shows you owe something to the provider. It has to work both ways; otherwise, each of you is always looking for some angle to take advantage of the other.
RECLAIM YOUR INFLUENCE BY KNOWING THE STORY
Now, we know that it’s not all puppy dogs, rainbows and unicorns as all the above might imply. Don’t confuse our optimism with blind naiveté. We do know better than anyone the challenges and frustrations customers in this industry have. No one has compiled the data we have that so clearly illustrates the problems. The story of the data that we see actually reveals an irony in the industry. For years, customers have been conditioned not to poke the bear. But from our point of view, you – the customer – are the bear. And maybe we are the ones doing the poking.