A couple of years ago, I had to deal with a young man in his twenties who was a horrible writer. H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E. He worked for one of my big clients and his incompetency was hindering my ability to do a good job for HIS company.
Writing well is an important component of my business, so I couldn’t tolerate working with someone whose writing made me shudder. (He thought he was a good writer, which made matters worse.)
I tried to explain to the young man how to improve his writing. He wasn’t interested. What’s more, he complained to his boss about me, the same person who hired my company. The boss told me that I needed to accept the limitations of people like this if I wanted to keep the account.
Money from a client means less to me than enjoying my work and doing it well, for myself and my clients. I had to make a decision.
I have spent four decades cultivating my writing skills. I cannot abide shoddy work, even if my clients can. If this young man didn’t want to learn anything, I didn’t want anything more to do with him. My client and I parted ways. Frankly, it was a relief not to deal with them anymore.
The customer IS NOT always right. I knew that even before I became FOF. Now I have the security and confidence to walk away without aggravating myself and becoming all huffy.
0 Responses to “The customer is NOT always right”
Amen, sister! I accepted a writing assignment for a major bank. My work was “edited” by someone like your man- not my client, but someone in the organization. I said to my client, “If you would like my work revised to contain errors, please be aware that his changes will have that effect.”
Matthew Stibbe of the blog Bad Language (www.badlanguage.net) has published a free e-book, 30 Days to Better Business Writing”; I have given this link to some clients.
I have also been edited by a real pro, an instructive and humbling experience.