Why the old wisdom of "The Customer is Always Right" is just that, old.
I’ve been saying it for a long time... Sometimes it pisses people off because it goes against everything sacred from the golden age of Leave It to Beaver and whatever the term "good old days" refers to (also B.S.)
AGAIN, The customer is never right.
Many people believe the exact opposite, which explains why tons of small businesses are flailing—overworked, underpaid, and always desperately searching for clients. They bend over backwards because of this lame misconception, and then they still end up with clients who aren’t satisfied.
When someone hires you for a service, they are not merely hiring you to perform said service. They are hiring you for your expertise in delivering said service. If they knew how to execute the service, they would save their money and do it themselves!
But they don’t.
Case in point:
Many boutique branding companies start their initial conversation asking a client what they want their website to look like.
You may have heard it before… "Show me websites you like. Tell me what pages you want on your site. Send me your web copy".
These web designers/developers are turning themselves into a commodity. They are merely technicians—the hands that execute your vision. But there’s a huge problem with that.
Your vision of the pages and content you want on your site… what is that based on? Are you a website expert? Do you think it’s appropriate to build a website to the specifications of your personal tastes and thoughts, rather than those of your target audience?
What if, instead, the web developer asked you what you are looking to do with your website? That conversation would go a bit differently… Why do you want a new website? What challenges are you currently facing that you think a new website could solve?
Now we’re cooking with gas!
You see, ultimately, when someone “needs a new website,” what they are usually saying is they need help with their business in some way, and they think a website is going to solve their problem.
Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. But wouldn’t it be nice if the website development company—a company that supposedly knows a lot about websites—could help the client figure that out?
By asking the big questions, we might discover that a new website won’t help the client fix their problem. I suspect that’s one reason most companies don’t ask those questions. But you need to position yourself as an authority, as someone with valuable insight the client doesn’t have. That’s what they’re paying you for.
Steve and I have our “core values” prominently displayed on our wall. One of the values that stands out is #4: “Always be in control for the sake of the customer.”
It’s your job as the expert to lead the way. That outdated “customer is always right” mentality suggests that the customer knows more than you about the subject at hand. When that happens, all bets are off.
This is why it is in your best interest to take the reigns of any and all conversations and projects. For the sake of your clients, get down to the root of their problems and offer up effective actions.