Have you been on an Internet chat room lately? People using handles like “SuperDrillGuy” and “MrAbraisives” with commentary that’s so brutally honest, it can be scary. I wonder how many people would be so honest if they had to provide their real names, phone numbers and addresses. Very few, I’m guessing. Internet chat rooms allow participants to put on “masks” that make them feel free to speak their minds without fear of reprisal.
Channel partners need similar kinds of “masks’ when providing constructive feedback to their supplying manufacturers. When manufacturers ask for feedback directly, channel partners are much more likely to soften or position their feedback; they’re simply too concerned about adversely affecting the relationship.
This is one of the many reasons using a third party to gather feedback from channel partners can be valuable. The third party serves as the “mask” for channel partners, allowing them to be open and honest about their views, providing better insight for the manufacturer to make improvements.
Bart Schwartz, President & Rich Tully, Quality Consultant / ICR / 630.503.6093