The customer matters
What matters isn’t that the customer is happy. Customers will fluctuate between happy and unhappy depending on a lot of factors. Their mood is influenced by how close the process is to reviewing creative work, paying another invoice, testing bugs, going live, getting their first lead and a million other factors.
Instead, the important factor is the mark you left on that customer. Are they better off because they chose you as a service provider? I’ve seen developers spend too long trying to get the code “right” when the client would have accepted “done”. Or strategists worried about using outdated technology. I’ve seen designers create things that look beautiful on their portfolios but caused massive problems for clients.
Aside: I read a great article with a very similar sentiment: “You’re a designer, not the CEO” (https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140508124032-12032779-you-re-a-designer-not-the-ceo).
What drives us
Not every industry has these concerns. Some “bill by the minute” industries are most profitable when their clients do worse. If their actions cause more problems it’s just more billable hours that they can log.
Even if you are in one of those industries, there may be some benefit to being seen as ethical. Anecdotally I’ve rarely seen the ethical and moral high ground win out against hard-sell tactics.
The digital space is incredibly competitive. The biggest complaint I hear about digital agencies goes something like this: “They started off really great but as time went on they got worse. They take ages to get back to us, they want to charge for every little thing and their work is of lower and lower quality”.
The kinds of things we care about for projects tend to be the opposite. Is it built the “proper” way? Did we follow the best practice process? Are we using the latest technology? Does it look good? We shouldn’t be doing things that make us happy unless they are also good for our clients.
What caring about the customer really means
When my team delivers amazing work we get highly recommended by the client. These are the things that clients find amazing:
- More leads are coming to their CRM
- Their clients find the new interface really easy to use
- They succeeded in selling the company and the strength of the digital presence helped solidify the value of their brand
- Their team spends less time doing admin because tasks have been automated
- More users, more app downloads, more traffic
When we actually care about our client’s success we make a difference. When we make a difference our clients prosper. And when our clients prosper we get more business.