Don't worry, this is not a car review! Instead, it is a few thoughts on our responsibility to be the right tool for our clients at the right time.
Last week, I had a phone call with a vendor that did not go well due in large part to my reluctance to turn around the conversation when I could have. The downward slide started after the vendor compared their product to a Lexus, and what we are using currently, as a Ford. The fact that I have been a lifetime Ford fan, ( you would be too if you had driven an original 289 Cobra when you were 18!) probably didn't help things. The real issue I had with this comment though was much more about the company's approach to our concerns, than the analogy. Our issues were legitimate, and our experience in their sector is extensive, yet those issues did not become the focal point of the discussion.
Each client has a different set of needs. To beat the car analogy to death, when I was 18, I had a fun little convertible mustang that was all trouble. With 2 boys, a wife, a dog, and a few years on me, that car wouldn't be the right ride for me now. (Just for the record, my pride and joy toy now is an 83 Jeep CJ7)
The point is, however, who gives a damn what car you compare yourself to? As a client, I want to know that the company I am going to partner with has listened to my needs and concerns, has taken into account how I plan on using their services or product, and have identified a way around any obstacles.
As a vendor, which we are, it's our job to determine what the client is looking for, where they are currently, and how we can best develop a flexible approach that meets their needs. We shouldn't be telling them we are better than another, we should listen, then determine how we can best accomplish their current goals, while addressing any issues they have. Let the client determine who the best choice is.
Hospitals as a whole will need to be incredibly flexible over the next few years to survive in what is clearly going to be a tumultuous period for healthcare providers. We will need to be equally if not more flexible to help them achieve their clinical and financial goals. That may mean being the Wound Care version of a Lexus or BMW, however it may mean being a pick-up truck. (A Ford F-250 of course!)
The conversation ended later on a positive note, and I felt that it had offered me a great opportunity to think about our own approach with our clients.
Wound Care Advantage has been lucky to have had an exceptional 2011, which I feel is due, primarily, to being the most flexible Wound Care Management Company in the industry. I plan on remaining dedicated to that approach and look forward to a great 2012.
Who knows, maybe I will even be able to get a Lexus next year!