Everyone is an expert in something, but some people think they are experts in everything. Even to the point of telling other people, specialists in their field, how to do their job. Have you been on the receiving end or giving end of an exchange like this?
I know people that are constantly frustrated by their customers, because the customers won’t let them do their jobs. Why? Because the customer tells them that they are wrong, doing it wrong, or get in the way and tell them to do it their way, instead. Think about it. The customer is paying good money, to stop the work they want done. Of course, the customer doesn’t see it that way. They see it as being helpful, and protecting their item from being damaged or broken. They don’t even realize that they are doing more harm than good, by interfering. They don’t even know that they are interfering.
You know how annoying that can be, right? Say you are a plumber, and a customer calls you to fix a leaky faucet. You quickly diagnose that it’s a valve problem and the faucet needs to be replaced. In the process, you also find out that the shut-off valve is broken, so you can’t turn off the water to the sink, to replace the faucet. You go to the main shut off for the house, so you don’t flood them out. The customer is arguing that the problem isn’t in the main valve of the house, it’s the sink. You try to explain that the sink shut off is broken, and they argue that the problem isn’t any shut-off, it’s the faucet. Every step of the way, they are telling you how to do your job, or arguing with you about it.
Would you tell your surgeon how to remove your appendix, or demand to assist in the operating room when your spouse has surgery? Of course not! You don’t have that kind of knowledge and training. You know that you’d be in the way, and you wouldn’t want to risk causing the surgeon to lose concentration during surgery. You know that is when mistakes can happen, and you wouldn’t want to be the cause of that.
Do you do that to your vendors?
If you hire a graphics person to re-design your logo and print image, everything from signage to letterhead and invoices, do you give them your ideas and let them design some options, or do you call them with 10 changes before they give you the first set of proofs to review?
If you have a tech support person come fix your computer, because it won’t work on your necessary files, or connect with your printer, do you get in the way? Do you tell the tech person that he’s fixing it wrong and argue with them that you know what needs to be done, it just won’t do it? Think about it… If you really knew how to fix it, would you have called them? If what you did didn’t work, was that really what needed to be done? What you are doing is stopping the real work from being done to get your business up and running.
If you have company vehicles that need maintenance, do you tell the mechanic that the grinding noise can’t possibly be from the wheels, because you feel it in the steering? That the part can’t be broken, because you happen to know someone who told you differently a while back?
Many businesses have no entry policies in work areas for this and other safety reasons. If the customer gets in the way, not only does it take longer, cause more frustration, and possibly keeps the right thing from being done at all, it’s a safety hazard around equipment in some instances.
I know of a handyman that charges extra for involving the customer in the project. He is patient, explains everything, lets the customer help, and teaches them the knowledge so that they understand the process. This takes considerably more time than just doing the job, but his customers love him. He teaches them. He charges for teaching them about his trade. He will also do any job at a regular rate, but he is very clear about boundaries to get the job done, and warns them when they are getting in the way, by offering to change the rate so that they can be involved in the work.
Sometimes, you have to have firm boundaries and policies in place, to get the work done. That goes both ways. When you are the customer, respect the other business and let them do their job. Know your limits, and respect the service of others. Who knows, If you are a good customer, they might even refer business to you, just because you were good to work with. Attitude may not be everything, but it can certainly make a difference!