Friday, April 20, 2012

The Customer is (Almost) Always Right

(This is the first of a series of guest posts written by students in the PR Writing and Design class this semester. Today's guest is Zach Doty, a senior Marketing and Strategic Communication major who will be graduating in about three weeks. Zach is pursuing leads on three positions with different advertising agencies. For a look at his internships and other experiences, visit his portfolio site at .) 

Recently, I approached a local small business for an opportunity to redesign their website. During the site building process, the client and I had a few instances where we disagreed on design of the site. In this experience, I learned firsthand a lesson taught at my advertising agency internships. The customer is almost always right. Allow me to explain myself before blatantly going against a customer service adage.

As a marketing or communications professional, you’re often faced with a challenge the client cannot do, or is unable to do themselves. For example, a local small business needs a new website. However, they do not have the expertise to make a new one. Keep that in mind as a professional. When working with a client, make sure it is a partnership, not a benevolent dictatorship (this goes both ways).

If the client doesn’t know about what they’re getting themselves into, educate them. If you don’t understand what it’s like to run their business, dive in. Like communicating to a consumer, the client relationship should be a level playing field based on mutual transactions. In a roundabout way, if a client asks for falling snowflakes on their website, politely say no. Just make sure to explain why and drive deeper into what they want out of a website.

To sum up, the customer is not always right. However, always make sure the client’s needs are addressed, but in the most suitable manner.

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