Archive for February 5th, 2008

It’s Called Customer Service, Not Servitude

I came across a blog post where a colleague was talking about an issue she was having with a client who wanted to do something in a certain way that she knew wasn’t the best way, and would actually cause the client more problems.

Instead of guiding this client, as an expert should, away from an outdated, unproductive or convoluted way of doing something that would neither serve the client’s purposes nor be an efficient use of her time as a service provider, she abdicated her role as the administrative expert, commenting, “But as she is the client, I do as she asks.”

People, it’s called customer SERVICE, not servitude.

If a client wants to do something that is neither productive nor helpful, and especially when it will not help them achieve the end result they are looking for, it is certainly your role to educate them and advise them otherwise.

If you don’t, you are neither serving the client nor being a useful partner to them. You are merely being a lackey who isn’t truly helping them achieve their goals.

And another thing, don’t allow client’s to spin your wheels. It’s not just the client’s business that is involved here. It’s your business as well.

In the end, the client’s business is certainly theirs to do with as they please. It’s also the client’s perogative to ignore your best counsel.

If they want to take steps backward in their business, that’s up to them.

But that doesn’t mean you should allow them to take you with them, especially if engaging in certain work or a way of doing something is counterproductive and has a detrimental impact on your business or processes.

It’s okay to say “no.”

Let them know that while you certainly respect their decision to do a thing a certain way, it’s not something you are willing to do for them as it’s an inefficient and unproductive use of resources in your business. Put in a more positive way, explain that you can accomplish X for them as long as they are willing to allow you to do things according to current industry standards and quality and here’s what they need to do or have to get started…

It’s not your “job” to do every single thing a client asks.

It’s also not your obligation to perform any work that does not fall in line with what you deem as acceptable on a professional level in your business.

It’s certainly within your rights as a business owner yourself to decline those things in which you don’t want to participate.