Entries in Pricing Your Services (1)

Friday
Apr022010

Customers Always Right?

Hopefully, you see the irony in this video.  In these real life customer service situations, some of the shenanigans that clients try to pull on us every day seem quite ridiculous.  The video store, restaurant and hair salon are all businesses as well, but most people would never dream about trying to contest the price of a menu item.  You ordered the steak, knowing what it would cost, and you pay for it before you leave.

So why, in other business situations, are these client behaviors considered acceptable?  We may not like it when a client behaves in this way, but most of the time, we grin and bear it.

Recently, a client asked me to write a media kit for him.  Prior to beginning the project, I gave him a quote of the project cost and he agreed.  Upon receiving the first draft, he reviewed the text, made a few revisions and we were done.  When it came time for him to pay the invoice, he fought and argued, saying my work wasn't worth what he had agreed to pay.  Thinking he wasn't pleased with what we did, I asked him what he meant.

"I like what you did, but it didn't take as many revisions as I thought it would.  So shouldn't your quote be reduced?," he asked.

While not all marketers work on a per project basis, we do.  He wasn't paying me by the hour, but for the finished project, no matter how long it took.  When I reminded him of this, he continued to push, convinced I should lower the price.

In a world of heavy competition and in a struggling economy, maybe we should always have the attitude that the customer is always right.  I would bring up a different point, however.  I believe that our businesses will suffer if we don't stick to our guns.  I've traveled that slippery slope before with a client - she asks for an inch, and then takes a mile, and expects similar concessions with every project in the future.

The simplest, and really the only solution, is to work with your clients diligently, managing their expectations from the beginning of your relationship together.  And politely stick to your guns.  If you agreed to a certain price, do yourself a favor, and stick to it.  Only make concessions if they're necessary- as in, you screwed something up.

You will loose a client or two along the way.  That's not fun, but ultimately, you will end up having happier client relationships with people who do respect what you do, and are willing to pay you a fair price for your services.