Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Give the customer what they want

“The customer is always right, even when they are wrong”, was the phrase drilled into me at my very first retail job, a weekend activity that furnished me with enough money to gain some independence during my late teenage years (e.g. to drive a car and to date girls clearly out of my league).

I questioned this mantra at first, asking why someone had the right to reverse common sense just because they wielded money. However, I subsequently came around to this financial perspective, especially when it earned me further work and therefore some incremental income. I had therefore succumbed to one of the pressures of modern life, I had followed the money and given the customer the control.

But now, as I consult on eCommerce projects across the globe, I find a similar situation… that the online customer is right in whatever they do, even if they don’t do what you want them to do. In other words: you can craft what you think is the best online user experience, you can come up with what you believe is the most persuasive design and you can create the most engaging content I the eyes of your stakeholders… however if the relevant customer doesn't have what they want to make their decision (e.g. to take them forward to purchase), then all your hypotheses aren't worth anything.
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