Situation: A company negotiated a contract with a customer giving them a significant price break in exchange for a large committed order with extended delivery. The customer has now come back and requests additional time for delivery and payment on the order. The company has already procured extra material to produce the large order. How do you respond to requests for delivery delays?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Response will depend on the company’s history with customer. In the case of a long term customer who pays bills it is best to work with them. Explore solutions to meet them half-way.
- Ask for a new commitment to take delivery by a date certain. Request consideration in return. For example, request partial payment up-front to help cover the cost of managing the delivery delay.
- Keep the conversation going. Don’t get to point where you alienate a good customer.
- If the customer is newer with less history but good potential for future growth, also respond flexibly but ask for additional consideration in good faith to cover your additional costs. As in the case above, request partial upfront payment to cover carrying costs – maybe a larger payment than for an established customer.
- If the customer has been difficult in the past, or has been late with payments then the situation is different. There is no assurance that the customer isn’t just gaming the situation. Because the company has already committed resources to deliver the large order, demand an adjustment on price and terms in exchange for the delivery delay.
- Whatever the history and situation, it is important to emphasize that you want to work with the customer.