Consult vs. Serve

The Germans prefer consulting over serving. To consult the customer, to consult with the customer, is to work auf Augenhöhe, literally at eye-level, with the customer. The German people instinctively reject any form of master-slave business relationship.

And the German customer prefers a supplier, consultant, vendor who insists on a business relationship auf Augenhöhe. Germans don’t want to be served, they want to be consulted, by an expert, at eye-level. It is a shared logic. All companies are both customer and supplier.


Customer-Supplier Collaboration

In Germany two parties enter into a dialogue about matching a concrete request to the approach of the supplier. The what is then defined and agreed upon. Once this dialogue is completed, there is limited input from the customer about the how, about the actual execution of the request. Responsibility for the how is transferred from customer to supplier.


Customer-Supplier Expectations

The German customer expects the supplier to complete the requested task correctly and expertly, meaning almost without error. The task is to be completed within schedule and budget. These boundary conditions should be negotiated and held to as precisely as possible. Germans, however, will sacrifice schedule and budget in order to receive the product or service they ordered. 


Back to Germany.