I am the Client

Posted by Todd Johnson, VP of Technology Services, Lewan Technology. The following is a manifesto of sorts based on my experience and perspectives as a client.

I may not always be right, but I will always be the client. Although I know you make money only when you sell, and I fully expect you to “sell me”, I appreciate it when you reach out even when I’m not in immediate buying mode. If you’re too pushy, I’ll probably stop returning your calls.

I free up my busy schedule to meet with you, so I expect you to be on time even if I can’t be. When I block out time and you’re late, you lose my time and eventually my trust and patience. It sets a negative tone for our time together. At times I may say “it’s OK”, but honestly I’m just trying to be courteous and move on. During meetings, I need you to be attentive. I appreciate when you send follow-ups with action items after meetings; it helps me know you’re “on it”.

I need you to be on my side. I understand that you represent only certain vendors and products. I need you to have my best interests in mind, realizing you may not always have the best solution for my needs. I need to see that you’re using manufacturers to support you in assuring me that I’m buying the right solution, not that manufacturers are using you to sell their products.

I need you to understand my priorities and my role in the organization and for our conversations to be relevant to my role and my needs. I need you to help make me look good. I understand that at times I’m merely a stepping stone to get to others in my organization with more authority; just don’t be too obvious about that or you won’t get from me what you need next time around.

You should always understand my options; essentially your competitors. One of them is to do nothing. I’m under a lot of pressure; often more than I’ll give off. At times my frustrations come out more than I’d like. Thank you for your patience.

I need you to be easy to do business with. I understand that you have paperwork requirements – so do I; let’s just not let them get out of hand. I need you to add value when we meet in a business context. I get calls from your competitors constantly, so I have to protect my time and be as efficient as possible.

I won’t necessarily openly offer up all the things I like or don’t like about you or how you or your company operates, so please ask for my feedback from time to time. Sometimes I’ll be honest and share; other times I’ll just want to move on or avoid confrontation.

I need you to act without me following up and reminding you, and I need you to communicate status. Please manage my expectations and be honest and up-front about issues; “bad news is not like fine wine”. When there are issues – and there always are – I need to know you’re working them. It’s how you handle them that makes or breaks our relationship. If I don’t hear back, I’ll often expect the worst.

You’re the expert; you do this for a living. I expect you to have a plan, use a proven approach, and leverage others in your company to succeed in what you’re doing for me. Please ask for my input, but I expect you to take the reins.

Again, I may not always be right, but I will always be the client.

10 thoughts on “I am the Client

  1. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours wioth a few ssimple tweeks would really make my
    blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme.
    Thanks a lot

    • It’s custom-made, straight from the heart. I’ve written a couple of similar statements, all centered around understanding how the “other side” feels to create an environment where empathy can be part of directing how we as a company act.

  2. Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was
    super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up hat I had
    written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as welll am an aspiring blog
    blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips for novice
    blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

    • Thanks for the question; good one! My goal is to write something that is unique…a perspective that others might align with as well but that I’ve never read before. The background for this posting was a realization that many who work for me have never “lived” on the client side of the equation. It’s hard to show empathy when you can’t understand how the other side feels.

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