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Wednesday, March 01, 2006
The Customer is NOT Always Right
The traditional thinking is that yes, the customer is always right. Give him what he wants, even if it’s not what he needs, what is best for him, or what he can afford. Feed the monster whatever it wants because if you don’t, the monster can eat you. As a career professional, it is my job to make sure our clients are well-prepared for a job search in the materials they will be using to market their careers. It is also my job to make sure they understand the challenges they will be facing and how to surmount those challenges.

Many (or even most) clients come to us fairly ignorant of the job market, how to conduct an effective job search, and how the process of having a professional resume developed works. That’s not unusual. Most people only have to look for a job every few years so they are not practiced in job search techniques, current on trends and demands, or savvy in how to market themselves. That’s okay. A great deal of our job is to educate our clients on these things. We’re consultants; we help people through their job searches.

The clients who enjoy the best results from our efforts are the ones who come to us in a teachable state. These clients know they need the knowledge and assistance that we can provide and they are willing to work cooperatively with us to prepare for the job search. They are open to suggestions, read things which we suggest, and provide us with lots of information to help us help them. These people are gems and seem to enjoy the best success. It could be because they have such good attitudes to start with and apply that attitude to their career searches. Or I like to think they didn’t blindly demand what they wanted but rather listened to our suggestions.

At the other end of the spectrum is the client who comes to us on a high horse. He or she knows exactly what is wrong with his/her current resume and just wants us to make the edits they suggest. He does not listen to suggestions or advice about what works and what doesn’t work in job search. He knows it all. He demands (not asks) that everything be done precisely to his minute specifications. Such a client is impossible to please in any way and tends to have the worst results in job search, whether he is our client or not.

I have a responsibility to our clients to make sure they have the best job search preparation and career marketing documents on the planet. Because of this responsibility, I cannot say in good conscience that the customer is always right. A client might be emphatic that he wants his resume designed in purple font type but that is not what is best. Another client might insist on a one-page resume because her college professor advised it (fifteen years ago) but that is not what works in today’s market. It is my obligation at that point to NOT give the client what he/she wants because to do so would impede success rather than enhance it. I will work extensively to try to better educate the client and usually I can do that. I will work to find some sort of compromise that satisfies the client while not crippling his/her success potential. Sometimes, though, the client just cannot be educated or refuses to listen to good advice.

If I adhered to the adage that “the customer is always right”, I would be doing my clients a grave disservice. They hire our firm to advise them and help them in an important undertaking in which they are weak and need assistance. To do less than our very best by only giving them what they want rather than what they really need would be unethical.

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 /


We specialize in working with professionals in the high tech, engineering, and manufacturing industries to organize, direct, and accomplish their career goals. Our knowledge of technology and our expertise in these rapidly changing industries set us apart from all other career services firms and provides outstanding value to our clients. See how we can help your Career by reading our Blog.
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