A good bedside manner is a highly desirable component of a doctor’s skill set. A clinician may not be able to offer an immediate cure, but they can tell a patient what to expect and, vitally, provide a comforting influence. So what difference could this approach make to procurement?
How often do suppliers simply tell customers what they think they want to hear? What if a customer had every confidence in what they are being told, knew the supplier would deliver on their promises, knew what to expect and could calmly inform their own organisation what was going to happen and make plans accordingly? They could plan (or re-plan) machine utilisation, manpower, manage their own customer’s expectations and so on.
For the supplier to gain this status in the eyes of the customer they need credibility, trust and an excellent delivery method for tough information. That, I would argue, is a good bedside manner.
Moving down the chain, the way a buyer delivers information to their internal organisation is indicative of how their bedside manner is working.
The message they convey will depend on how accurate the supplier information is or how well they know them, because if they know them well,
they can interpret
and produce a prognosis for their internal customers, in effect, being a good doctor.
Bedside manner should travel down the supply chain, easing the cascade of often unwelcome information down to the unfortunate soul at the end of the chain that has to actually deal with the consequences of the bad news.
In the way that patients can respond to facts or realistic projections by making lifestyle changes or new arrangements, customers can make alternative production or sales plans based on the facts or realistic projections.
A key dimension to a good bedside manner is how you tell the patient or customer the prognosis. A good doctor will know that telling the facts in a cold foreboding way could induce a sense of apprehension or even panic. Conveying facts in a ‘caring’ way, shows understanding and empathy.
The good news is that there is no extra cost involved – except a little more time spent in conversation, which is no bad thing for relationship building.
By adopting a good bedside manner you will become the customer’s perceived ally, not their adversary.