The client is always right...?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Willallison, Mar 15, 2010.

?

Is the client always right?

Poll closed Mar 19, 2010.
  1. Yes

    5 vote(s)
    17.2%
  2. No

    24 vote(s)
    82.8%
  1. Willallison
    Joined: Oct 2001
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    Willallison Senior Member

    The client is always right....

    This was pointed out by another member a short time ago. My response was:

    To which he replied...


    Thoughts...?
     
  2. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    The successful designers I know do not provide design work to clients that they do not fully support.

    Their reputation is worth more than one, or two, or a few contracts.


    Designers who are starving don't seem to be so picky.
     
  3. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    We may have to stand on the other side of the counter sometimes to see how we are regarded in life......I try to pease my customers as being right, it is my pleasure to do so, my opinions are expressed if asked for, or I feel thet the customer is really in trouble, but otherwise, he who pays the piper calls the tunes.
     
  4. TollyWally
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    Location: Fox Island

    TollyWally Senior Member

    LOL,
    I build for a living and the client, at the end of the day, is always right. Except for one little thing, the majority can't see the forest for the trees. One has to protect the customer from himself if only to keep the project from floundering and to keep your reputation intact.

    The professional has to guide the customer into making an intelligent decision. Education first and guile second. I try to distill the customer's desires into a limited menu of choices often with them being unaware of it. Ironically the customers best suited for making technical decisions are often the most likely to leave it in your hands with minimal input from themselves. I think this might be a sign of confidence and personal security. They don't have anything to prove, wouldn't have hired you if they didn't trust you, and have confidence that if something is really about to go wrong they will spot it and avert disaster.

    My old man told me once that the most important thing was to qualify the customer. It was better to gracefully withdraw if the customer was going to excessively hinder the process. My .02.
     
  5. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Being in a similar situation, I fully concur with T W.
     
  6. Willallison
    Joined: Oct 2001
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    Willallison Senior Member

    My 1st statement was, of course, meant to be (slightly) tongue in cheek. And whilst, at the end of the day, the designer is employed by his client, surely one's professional responsibility is - as TW says - to steer the client towards the best solution - not simply accept that because they are paying the bills, one should blindly follow their instructions.
    It probably depends a great deal in which sphere you operate - commercial or recreational vessels too. The former, probably more likely to come to you with a sensible design brief...
    Also too, just how experienced a yachtsman the client is....
     
  7. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: Brisbane

    Landlubber Senior Member

    Willallison, It has been my experiences that the customer is generally very experienced and quite knowledgable, as I do custom sort of work.

    I guess if we were making caravans on the water then you do get very inexperienced customers, but my boati building life has been with restoration of rather expensive vessels or helping other builders do their thing.

    The only people that had no ideas at all are the first time buyers, but I do not deal with that sort of boat anyhow.

    It is the customers dream to have built what he see at the time, it is our responsibility to try and make that dream come true, and yes we certainly do steer things to a better (read more practical) solution at times, but I still feel that the dream we are creating must remain that of the customer, influenced only by our knowledge of what is "right"...and styling here is not our forte...it is the customers ideas coming to life.

    My last big job was a 120 footer for a Brisbane developer, it started out as a discussion one day and ended up as a complete concept design Ocean Explorer, complete with bling bling, but still capable of doing the job....and I have to admit, I liked the design a lot in the end.
     
  8. Crag Cay
    Joined: May 2006
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    Crag Cay Senior Member

    One thing I've learnt is to keep very detailed records of all discussions with the client and any decisions made. I always forward to them a copy of the 'minutes' of any meetings which spell out the advice I proffered and whether they accepted it or not. The same with letters and email; I always 'confirm' their instructions which include phrases such as 'the client insisted' or 'the client declined option A and chose to go with their own preferred solution', etc. I start the practice right from the start so it looks like a 'normal operating procedure', rather than suddenly impose it if things get shaky.

    It's amazing how many clients 'forget' what was their 'bright ideas' when later they turn out to be not that brilliant in practice, or cost twice what they hoped.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: Port Orchard, Washington, USA

    jehardiman Senior Member

    While it is more clear cut in the private sector, in the public sector it is important to keep a clear picture of who "the customer" is. In one project I had to explain to the Project Funding Officier that he paid me to prevent him from killing sailors and wasteing taxpayer monies.
     
  10. Wynand N
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Location: South Africa

    Wynand N Retired Steelboatbuilder

    No, not always...
     
  11. baeckmo
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    baeckmo Hydrodynamics

    "...the client is always right.......the first fourteen days, then I am right."

    Cited from one of my first mentors in the boat-building business; classic boat-building master Sven Jacobsson.
     
  12. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    He obviously did know the business from the very ground:D
     
  13. kach22i
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Michigan

    kach22i Architect

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/inundated
    Based on the second definition, I suspect he is also right.
     
  14. kach22i
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Michigan

    kach22i Architect

    You are very organized, I admire that. In my field (architecture) the creative design types are not very often the best business people nor the most organized. Your method I would think is very effective, but can it be used on "rush jobs"?
     

  15. Guest625101138

    Guest625101138 Previous Member

    It is a sad reflection on any professional who takes the view that the customer is usually wrong. Inevitably personal beliefs get reinforced through subtle actions and behaviors.

    If the customer is wrong then it is the the professional who is at fault for taking a combative stance and not spending sufficient time with the customer to gain mutual understanding.

    Rick
     
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