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Partner Issue Resolution Strategies

Not a day goes by that a channel executive doesn’t get an uncomfortable—sometimes extremely charged—call from a partner. Typically when the phone call ends, the executive picks up the phone or emails someone else within the company to get the ball rolling on the issue.

Some issues can be diffused quickly. But if the issue is a recurring one, before you know it the issue has found its way to your partner blog and your next partner meeting is steaming with emotion.

So, consider the following partner issue resolution strategies to minimize the disruption and keep focused on building strong relationships and selling productively:

1. If it’s not someone’s job, it’s no one’s job. No one ever argues against customer support, but for some reason, partner support often takes a back seat. Have a place for partners to call, with a clear escalation process. The VP of Channels shouldn’t learn about an issue for the first time when a partner dials the number as a last resort. And, while channel managers are fine as a starting point, saddling them with start-to-finish issue resolution is distracting and keeps them from building strong relationships and growing customer revenue.

2. Don’t expect what you’re not willing to inspect. Just because you don’t hear about it doesn’t mean that trouble isn’t brewing, or a particular issue has been resolved. Ensuring that there is a process for capturing and reporting on key partner issues, including a clear path for prioritization, resolution is critical. Make it your business to stay on top of what’s keeping your partners up at night as well as what’s standing in the way of their success.

3. It’s not the “what” but the “how.” If resolving an issue will take some time, make sure your partners understand that. Share your timetable and ensure that your partners are in the loop on progress, or the lack thereof. While partners don’t want to hear bad news, it beats not knowing, and they’ll surely appreciate your transparency and integrity.

Partner support and, particularly, issue resolution can be a thankless job. When done well, a solid relationship will thrive through the good times and bad.

How will your channel manager handle those uncomfortable calls in the future?

February 2, 2012  ·  

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