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I think a lot of us have landed on a website or a business page and struggled to understand what we are supposed to do. Or maybe you have landed on a website for a business you are really interested in working with but have no idea how you are supposed to work with them.

Now conventional wisdom would dictate that the business is responsible for making sure when you land on their website, you are directed to the best location. But part of the problem is many small businesses don’t have the resources to accurately assess who you are! And knowing who you are is a fundamental part of determining how a business might “steer” you towards one CTA or another.

Now that being said, there is only so much responsibility on you as a consumer. If the business has a poorly optimized, buggy, and disorganized website… you may be SOL.

But I want to introduce a new concept to you. In our NeoLiberal, “how you consume is a reflection of your value-set” marketplace, you do have some responsibility when it comes to interacting with businesses on their website.

Let’s assume for argument’s sake that you land on a really well-designed landing page, with clear calls to action, and an obviously top-selling formula to translate new customers into leads and put them down the funnel. Traditional sales logic determines that you are no longer responsible for any aspect of your customer service journey. Furthermore, the business is now responsible for directing you to different channels, determining your need basis, and analyzing how immediate your need is to properly dictate how you buy their product.

In that sales model, you are never at fault for making a product or service fail.


But why?

We have all heard the “Customer is always right” mantra, but the longer I live in the marketing realm, the more often I realize the customer can be wrong in ways so disastrous it kills their own success potential.

For example, you the customer live life believing that 1 + 1 = 1.9. In the marketing space, we consider that a gray area. Not because you are correct, but because the space between 1.9 and 2.0 seems small enough that we might be able to gently nudge you into believing that 1+1 = 2 after a few weeks of collaboration. Let’s not get into mathematical theory for the sake of this analogy making sense. I know there is an infinite space of theoretical numbers between 1.9 and 2. 

At this point in the argument, I as the professional marketer know that 1+1=2. It always will and unless I hear breaking news tomorrow from the math community, I have no reason to believe otherwise. But oftentimes in the B2B space, we fall back into the “whatever the customer thinks they want, they should get.” mentality.

But for you, the customer’s sake… I need to be blunt and tell you that 1+1 always equals 2. Even further, I need to make sure you know that I am not willing to budge on this point because it is not an opinion I have, but a factual reality I know about that you hired me to know about.

In this case, good customers know that they hired the service to tell them that 1+1=2.

Being a good customer in this new online space is so important for the future of consumer success. More often B2B and small businesses get clients that refuse to acknowledge that 1+1 is 2 then have a bad experience with a business when they make demands based off of false premises’. If a business caves to the demands of this bad client, they will go through the entire project trying to make 1+1=1.9. That one faulty premise will ruin the entire service for both the service provider and the client in question.

The client will receive a bad product that cannot reach its full potential. The business will stress, struggle and flail all over the place trying to make an anomaly work when it was never going to work in the first place.

So what are some things that you can do to be a better customer when working with a new business or product offering?


A couple of tips:


  1. Be honest about what you want from them, what you expect, when your budget would be exceeded, and do it at the beginning!
  2. Be willing to accept that what you want in the beginning may not be exactly what you end up with in the end.
  3. Look for businesses you and others already trust.
  4. Be honest about when you are upset about something, but don’t take it out on the person providing the service.
  5. Avoid rushing or deviating from the business’s established processes at all costs.

I have found that customers that follow these guidelines in the marketing world are infinitely more successful than ones who break or deviate from these rulessets.

What do you think? Is there a responsibility from the client to be a good client? How do you work with bad clients?


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