Christian Ross

The design-client conundrum

Interesting thoughts from Jason Zimdars over at 37 Signals today.

Of course it is totally understandable to take the ideas of those that pay our bills as gospel. But we should also be reminded that those same people hired us for our expertise. If they just wanted someone to follow orders, they’d probably have hired someone else.

Rarely do I take the ideas of clients as gospel. And admittedly, there are times when I should be a little more open to an idea or two from a client if it is decent. But there’s got to be a market position where you are no longer just a pixel-pusher for a client and you become a partner in innovation with them. All too often, clients will choose ego over best practice and I can’t help but wonder how much it ultimately affects their bottom line.

My job is to make you look better. Please let me do my job.

Sometimes the customer isn’t always right.

One woman who frequently flew on Southwest, was constantly disappointed with every aspect of the company’s operation. In fact, she became known as the “Pen Pal” because after every flight she wrote in with a complaint.

She didn’t like the fact that the company didn’t assign seats; she didn’t like the absence of a first-class section; she didn’t like not having a meal in flight; she didn’t like Southwest’s boarding procedure; she didn’t like the flight attendants’ sporty uniforms and the casual atmosphere.

Her last letter, reciting a litany of complaints, momentarily stumped Southwest’s customer relations people. They bumped it up to Herb’s [Kelleher, CEO of Southwest] desk, with a note: ‘This one’s yours.’

In sixty seconds, Kelleher wrote back and said, ‘Dear Mrs. Crabapple, We will miss you. Love, Herb.’”

Nobody messes with Herb. I have never fired a client per se, but I have allowed some I don’t really want to associate with find other options.

from Positivesharing