(Un)predictably Irrational Customer behaviour

Last week’s travel down south on business provided certain interesting insights on customer behaviour. It was a mixed experience in the sense that there were instances of both rational and irrational behaviour.
Firstly it was refreshing to see a lot of industrial activity all around(except for the automotive sector,which is still reeling under recession). As specialty chemical manufacturers,we met certain big customers individually. Most of them were export oriented units(EOUs) with large capacities.
The irrational behaviour I am referring to has to do with the attitude of certain customers on the issue of changing over to local(Indian)suppliers especially for ‘high tech’ products,in spite of coaxing or cajoling with solid facts and figures about the quality of our products.The bias against Indian suppliers is as deep as the faith in the white man’s products. In fact,one customer went as far as to announce proudly that he normally does not like to meet or even entertain Indian suppliers! How on earth is he going to survive in the future with such a rigid attitude,given the fact that foreign suppliers are dwindling in number very fast! Such people fail to see the writing on the wall. The fact of the matter is that with the exception of certain very highly specialized chemicals,the manufacturing base is shifting to China and India very rapidly. Today,these two countries have turned both enterprising and innovative. They do produce quality goods at a low cost.
I call this attitude of these customers irrational because their decision to stick to overseas suppliers is not due to their ignorance. They do know the changing realities but for some strange reason find it difficult to change their suppliers.
In contrast,I also met certain very smart customers who are very flexible and quite willing to invest in developing Indian vendors even for specialty products.

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