Don’t Be A People Pleaser



I think that one of the most controversial of the often stated mantras in business life is that the customer is always right.

Sometimes they are just plain wrong and their constant demands for special attention, over-the-top demands and deep discounts means it is often better just to cut them loose and be done with them.

The other day a friend told me of a deal that he had done with a client to build a website. As the work was progressing the client was initially happy but then began demanding more and more extras to be done for the same price.

Sometimes we can be so desperate to please a customer that we are tempted to do additional work to the point where the profit margin drops to virtually nothing.

Also if we are too focused on pleasing everyone around us then we are almost certainly not making the best use of our time and time is our most precious resource.

Another problem with trying too hard to please people is that you can be seen as a bit of a soft touch and then there is the danger that the very people you are trying to please will take advantage of your good nature.

Run your business so that you are providing something of real value to your customers while ensuring that it remains profitable for you to do so.

You will never be able to please everyone and, for some, even your very best efforts could never possibly be enough, no matter how hard you work to make them happy.

Look after your customers, serve them well and deal with problems and complaints but never allow yourself to take your eye off your business needs because your focus was on trying to keep everyone happy.

Sometimes you simply have to say no.


2 thoughts to “Don’t Be A People Pleaser”

  1. Hi Jon

    I agree with you that a clear No is often the correct answer.

    As an experienced management consultant in healthcare IT I have learned that sticking to the scope and agreeing upfront what is to be delivered is the best way to handle customers. An unclear scope encourages customers to ask for more. I always put something on scope management in the contract. You are getting X,Y and Z. A,B,C is out of scope. Out of scope work will be charged at $x per hour. Set the expectations early and you have a good basis to work with those “demanding” customers you get from time to time. Of course I also try to over deliver but that is not contractual expectation.

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