While I’ve been going on how a service provider should always do as the customer wants and needs, there are times when the customer is a pain in the ass. Don’t misunderstand me here, I’m still firm on the idea of customer=god. Still, customers can be infuriating at times and there are times when a service provided would like to punch their customer as hard as possible.
I would divide customers in three different categories. In three, rough categories.
Customer Type 1; The one who knows what he wants and how.
This kind of customer is the best kind of customer. He is easy to work with and gives a clear image what to do and how. In design industry this can mean that the customer has a clear image in his head what the designer is to produce. At times he might even bring his own drawings for the design, or perhaps even actual technical drawings that the designer just needs to adapt for the actual work. Store clerks like this kind of customers, as they just step in, ask for something, which the clerk just provides and sells. Working with a customer like this is like stepping into XG-70d’s cockpit with a 00 Unit and psychic Russian girl; easy, straightforward and might get your best friends killed.
Customer Type 2; The one who basically knows what he wants.
This kind of customer can be a pain depending on the customer’s personality, but most of the time these customers are perhaps the most interesting. For example, presume that a customer wants you to design and build a table for him. Just a table. From here a bad customer service would say Leave it to me and start working on a table. Trust me, I’ve seen enough cases like this outside and inside the industry. Now we all know that common sense makes us ask the following question; What kind of table, what it should be made of, what is its use, where will it be installed and what should its shape be. These very simple questions are only a part of the service process, as the service provider has to interview the customer further in order to find out something else as well from the customer. With this I mean that work that would have some artistic merit should incorporate approach that the customer would like. Let’s use a hunter as an example with the table. We know that he is a hunter, so we could assume that a forest theme with animals would most likely be of his liking, and thus we would suggest a sketch with said theme. If this pleases the customer, then all is well. In other cases the service provider should interview the customer further for more information.
This kind of customer goes two ways; insisting with these interviews so he himself holds the ropes while the service provider does his magic, or he might trust the service provider’s skills in making the item based on his basic description and needs. Working with this customer is like going against the BETA; you might succeed with the same strategy most of the times, but then once in a while you’ll be overwhelmed when something new pops up.
Customer Type 3; The one who knows nothing of his needs.
This is the worst kind of customer in most cases. Basically this customer know only the very basics he needs. For example, a customer might be in need for a chair. Just a chair. With this customer you need to sit down even more than with the Type 2 customer to find out exactly what he needs. He might need a couch rather than the mentioned chair. This kind of customers might let you do whatever you want, but then you’d better expect to get yelled at afterwards if you don’t do those interviews.
Let’s use another example a friend of mine gave. Let’s assume you’re charged with making a logo out of three different images and given a vague idea of “combining them” and the rest is left in your hands. You’re lacking the idea what to make of these, how should the images interact and how much you may change the images all around. When the time to submit the designed logo, it’s more probable that the customer will yell at your work and ask why it isn’t according to their wishes.
It’s hard to work with this kind of customers. It’s the service provider’s job to find out what the customer wants, but just sometimes the fated words “I’ll leave it to you to decide” is uttered. If you’re not a selfish artist aiming to do only those things you find interest in, then you’re in trouble. There’s very little you can do, except to do your best and see the results afterwards.
This kind of customer is fighting the BETA for the first time; if you survive the first eight minutes, then you’ll most likely live on in the following battles as well.
The Customer is god. You, the service provider, exist to fill the need the customer has. That doesn’t make some of the customers less infuriating with their antics and changing mindsets. It’s an old idea that all customers are unique. This is true to an extent, but every customer should be treated as uniquely with same level of service as possible. I acknowledge that treating every customer in some line of works is nigh impossible. Still, a service provider is service provider. Be it music industry, video game industry, film industry or any other, you’ll lose the customers if you don’t fill their needs.
We all know how we can manage to keep the customers, even the most infuriating ones. There should be no need for me to get into that.
And ok, I admit. This post mostly exists for my want to post MuvLuv images for any reason. Now that’s how an artist would work.