There’s an old motto that says customer’s always right.
Despite the fact that underlying this sentence there’s a hidden continuation saying “…but even if is wrong you should make him feel is right”
During years I came through a personal belief that having customers think they’re right every time and follow their needs “despite of” is something that is more poisonous than everything else.
I’ve been working in “service” and consultancy firms since 1996 both as a freelancer, as employee and now as manager.
Times have changed and clients have become more demanding and pretentious, especially in IT sector, sometimes with good reasons (because of firms -especially the big ones- having treated them in same way), sometimes simply because of an over offering of services.
Now the battle is only on price and the quality goes a step back.
Which is the typical situation that is faced?
Client asks for more at same price, with contracts more likely to be shaped within a law firm or department also for technical components (meaning for technical not only IT things, but also service management levels, BPO,…).
At this point there’s a no return point, because you as a service provider have two solutions: follow the client and face a risky situation, don’t follow the client and loose the contract. Is this second solution a problem for the client? No, unless you are the only provider for this type of service, because there’s always a second player coming in and accept the conditions.
May sound strange , but I think that exist client that are not able to work with service providers, especially in consultancy. Every company has its own “black list” of clients, but few are those really applying the constraints. It’ sometimes a problem of single persons, but more often a problem of client company culture.
The solution? Not easy and quite risky: have clients and service providers work in partnership respecting each other’s role. Otherwise some clients should be boycotted by service providers.
I think that if a client is not able to work anymore with any provider, the client itself should go back to market and ask for different approaches at different prices, with whole market benefiting from this. Otherwise the focus goes always on price, not on quality and goes into a loop.
I understand that everybody is struggling for reaching objectives, but I think is better to have less deals with no or less problems than having loto of presence with clients taking the helm of the contract.