Is the customer always right?March 31st, 2014

The old adage, “the customer is always right” is of course a good business practice. But is it correct?

No, not always.

Sounds revolutionary right?   Not really, hear me out.the-customer-is-always-right

As a web development professional, your duty is to do the right thing by your clients. You should always recommend the best course of action. You should never just rubber-stamp an idea just because it belongs to your client. Now of course, you are in business and you need to please your customers. But don’t be a sycophant. Tell them your opinion as to what they should do. Now of course if they choose to go against you, that is up to them. At that point you need to back off.

Of course you want an example of this correct?

Okay, here’s a case that illustrates what I’m talking about. I had a client who wanted to go with a custom designed, responsive WordPress web site. Now, I love building these websites. We build quite a few of these types of sites, and most of the time I think it’s a fabulous idea. But, in this case, the client was a nonprofit, just starting out with very little funding. I knew that I could save them a lot of money, and build a kick ass website using a premium theme. With several thousand available, that are responsive and very high-quality, this was a better way for them to go. As they were in a rush to get this up and running, the premium theme would be much quicker to market. The design process adds quite a bit of time, and then of course we have to build out the WordPress theme. Now, most companies would love to go with the more expensive solution and would never even suggest a cheaper alternative. But at RooSites, we have built a company based on doing the right thing, even if it costs us money in the short term. Why? Not because we’re such amazing human beings. It is a business strategy, to take a long view and build long-term relationships based on trust.

Bottom line: The adage that the customer is always right is not necessarily true. Do the right thing by them, give your recommendations and let them decide. You and your customers will profit in the long term.

 

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