“The customer is always right,” coined by somebody around the turn of the last century, is probably still a good mantra for retail, restaurants, and the like.
But many of our customers are the opposite. In fact, many hope that we’ll tell them what’s right.
During every demo there’s a moment where the customer explains how they’re going to do X in their process, and how Code Collaborator seems perfectly suited for X. Then, much to their surprise, I gently explain why X is a bad idea and Y is better.
Sounds arrogant, right? The customer is always right! And they were happy about X and happy that we would support X, so what the hell am I doing? Let ’em be happy!
What I’m doing is enabling them. I’m giving them advice from years of experience for free. I’m demonstrating that we tell the truth, even if the truth doesn’t serve the direct purpose of selling the tool, even if it means I’m arguing instead of agreeing. And it’s appreciated, because there’s not enough truth in sales and business.
Of course the customer isn’t always right, and with some types of business you should roll over. If you’re runing a restaurant and a customer thinks a barely-red steak is “totally rare,” just cook the crap out of it and give it back.
But if you’re going to be an expert, be an expert. That means not just agreeing with everything the customer says, but genuinely helping.