I like to think of myself as a pleasant client. As one does. I pay on time, I do as much as I can to help my suppliers do a good job, and I limit my complaints to where they’re plainly needed.I’ve been working with Acme Boxes most of this year. Their work is good, if not stellar, prices reasonable and service prompt and friendly. Lately however, I’ve been a little disappointed. Sloppy mistakes have crept into their work, replies take longer than they should, and their communication has taken on a terse tone and is less helpful than it used to be.
This all seems to have coincided with their launching a new product line for a different market, and its subsequent success. They tweet about a New! Improved! strategy and show it off in blog posts: the focus is now on selling Readymade Boxes and abandoning bespoke client work as soon as viably possible. Clearly we clients are merely a necessary evil to this company.
To be fair, Acme Boxes’ service levels haven’t dropped as severely as I first thought. Their stated aim of taking on client projects when they need the money has simply tainted my perception of their work. Every interaction with them has me wondering, ‘Do they really want to do this? Am I just wasting their time?’. There’s a good chance the negativity is all in my head. But that’s their problem, not mine.
As a client, I want my suppliers to be excited about my projects. I want to know they’ll take a second look at the details and make sure everything’s right. I want them to meet the brief’s requirements. I want to know they care just enough to do the job right.
If I’m only holding back their plans for world domination I can’t be certain they do care enough. World domination is surely more important than my modest Box to Put Things In. And who am I to get in the way of global conquest? Next time I may seek out a box-maker who is content to build the best possible boxes, to specification, making sure they comfortably fit my Things to Put In, even with the lid on.
The funny thing is, when I take my boxing needs elsewhere, Acme Boxes will have to endure other pesky clients just a little longer while waiting for the big Readymade Box pay-day. And those clients may well be peskier and less pleasant than I am.