April 29, 2008

Should You Ever Call Your Client Stupid?

What did you call me?
Should You Ever Call Your Client Stupid?
Recently I was at the receiving end of this situation. When seeking clarity on a business requirement - the consultant responded via email and stated rather emphatically that I don't know what I was talking about and this is how it is done. Wow! It took some time for my blood pressure to return to normal and fortunately I did not respond in a huff, which would have lead to more unpleasantness.

Tactfulness should be high in the consultant's skill repertoire. Yes - people can be stupid or naive but to call them that leads to an acrimonious end to the relationship. Educating, negotiating and explaining are preferred options when it comes to dealing with disagreement or a difficult customer.

Some communication is always better conducted face to face. Resolving issues, disagreeing or debating a scenario are some situations that fall in this category. Sensitive subjects require the ability to change strategy contingent on how the discussion is progressing. Email is a static medium - devoid of flexibility, best avoided when you want to call your customer a nitwit.

Win Win
It's a business - not a personal vendetta session. Leave your baggage at home or better still at the gym or the yoga class. Patience, respect and humility lead to a productive engagement, which is the desired goal - for everyone.

When you show disrespect towards your client, no one wins. I don't know about you but for me winning is always a better option.

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