In 1909, Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London, developed a phrase that has both defined and limited businesses for over a hundred years: “The Customer Is Always Right.”
While the underlying concept behind this phrase is fantastic, letting a customer know that he or she will always get exceptional service and unparalleled attention, the reality in more recent years is a little less fabulous. Customers who take malicious advantage of return policies and open-ended approaches to business dealings have in recent years caused the end of lifetime warranties, no-receipt return policies, and more.
Here at Venture Rich, our clients’ satisfaction is our number-one priority. We go out of our way to customize our services for the needs of each client, painstakingly ensuring that each project meets or exceeds expectations. Every employee at Venture Rich takes pride in his or her work, and being able to present a finished project to a satisfied client always makes our day.
But (isn’t there always a but?) sometimes a client isn’t right. Sometimes (and it’s important to say that this is the exception, not the rule) a client tries to take advantage of a small business and is the wrong type of client for Venture Rich. In those limited and rare occasions, we have to make the difficult decision of saying that no, the customer is not always right.
If you’re reading this and wondering what it takes for a reputable and award-winning company like Venture Rich to say no to a client, we’ll tell you. Here are 10 ways for a client to show us that they are wrong for Venture Rich:
- Adds on 45 new pages and components to a website design that was originally 8 pages, and expects it done within the original timeline for the same price;
- Provides no description at all for their services/products, the business details, the prices, or anything else related to their company and then asks us why their website has no content;
- Asks for a strict deadline for the project to be completed, takes a week to reply to any request for information, graphics, or access to servers, and then complains that the deadline wasn’t met;
- Gives absolutely no guidelines or feedback for project and then gets angry that the first draft doesn’t meet their imaginary specs that nobody else knew about;
- Disappears for months at a time, and then demands immediate action upon return without any preamble or preparation;
- Sends us a link to a competitor’s website, vaguely says “I want it to look like that” and then gets upset that the first project draft looks too much like the competitor’s website;
- Negotiates a reduced cost on a complex project while purposely hiding important information that will add hours of work and increase the costs tenfold, then demands results unreasonably;
- Signs up for ninety days of marketing and then sends angry emails when there are no results after the first 24 hours;
- Gives us low-resolution images after multiple requests for high-resolution photos, and then gets upset that everything is blurry; and
- Pays every invoice 90 days late and expects every project done 90 days early.
What does this mean for you? Nothing. In almost every relationship we’ve had with clients, everything has been great! Almost every client of ours communicates quickly, understand how marketing and design work, provides the content and details we need to do our job correctly, and is reasonable and understanding as we develop a synergy and dynamic that benefits both of us. And because we don’t let those few rotten apples ruin the batch, we’re able to continue to provide an amazing service to the clients who deserve it.
Should the customer always be right? That’s a big question, and one that can be tricky to answer, but we’ll say this: In the end, maybe the customer is always right, but if that’s true, it’s only because we choose who our customers are. And we know they’ll never be clients like these!