Better Customers

Better Customers

We need better customers, better clients. More demanding discerning. Less gullible.

Customers that demand value for money, not billable hours.

Customers that refuse to pay for crap.

Customers that reject specious claims and vacuous promises.

Customers that disrupt the cosy hegemony of the technical experts.

Customers that push back against complex and expensive non-solutions.

Customers that push through the embarrassment of failure to call suppliers to account.

Customers that understand THEIR customers, and look for partners that want to help them in that.

Customers who see the value in both trust and evidence, whilst rejecting faith-based arguments.

Customers that buy on criteria other than lowest (ticket) price.

Customers that embrace the human element in the world of business.

Customers that understand their own strengths – and their weaknesses, and act accordingly.

Customers that share the laurels of success, and share responsibility for failure too.

There are so many folks that WANT to do better, but desperately need the support of their customers to do so. Without better customers, the reforms and improvements we long for will indeed take a long time in coming.

– Bob

P.S. What are you doing each day to be a better customer – both as part of your organisation, and as an individual – to your suppliers?

3 comments
  1. More demanding? No. I’d say able to make clear, value-based requests in a collaborative fashion.
    But yes, yes, yes, to all the other points.

    > “Without better customers, the reforms and improvements we long for will indeed take a long time in coming.”
    Yes again. And how? Do you have suggestions to add to this demand? What are you doing to be a better customer?

    • Hi Tobias,

      Thanks for contributing to the conversation. And thanks for pointing out that I need to clarify what I mean by “more demanding” – very much along the lines of your comment.

      As for suggestions, the first suggestion I offer is that we as a community help (customer) companies and individual decision-makers realise how poor most of their potential suppliers are (particularly when purchasing knowledge-work products like software and services like software development) – and how to tell the effective from the ineffective. This may take much time and educational effort, and of course these folks have to want that education, which in turn requires them realising the implications of such ignorance / indifference / naivety.

      BTW Have you read “Dirty Little Secrets” by Sharon Drew Morgen? Recommended, in this context.

      Given I don’t buy much (apart from the occasional conference seat) that question is a bit moot. Although you could say my buying “strike” is a contribution in itself.

      – Bob

  2. Excellent post Bob,

    what I find intriguing is that this demand for both better customers & self-betterment is echoed in that small niche called “Software Craftsmanship” where building long-term relationships with customers lies very much at the heart of things.

    I’ll also echo Tobias sentiment in saying that for the general public clarifying “demanding” is probably good idea lest we want it to be read in a way that I believe the two of us would find incongruent with our intent.

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