As a service provider it’s my responsibility to provide my service (sales & marketing consulting) to my clients (the expert in their business & their industry). My position means that I am often working with OTHER service providers. Sometimes that’s fantastic, and sometimes I can’t figure out why my client would ever hire that person. And after a couple of recent weird service provider to service provider interactions, I was thinking, we may need a reminder of our role.
Here’s the deal: the client hired us because they know they need what we do. They hired us to help with messaging, create a new ad, help with organizational structure, write-up policies and procedures, build a website, and a myriad of other services they need. They did NOT hire us to fix things that aren’t broken in their mind. Well, they did, they just don’t know it yet.
Is that a website that I’d be proud to have represent my company? Is that the logo and color scheme I’d use? Is that messaging really representative of what they’re doing? Maybe not, but they love it. It’s our job as service providers to come along side our clients and have those conversations “what do you think about your messaging?” “How do you feel about your website design/content/layout,” “How do you feel about your branding?” They aren’t FUN conversations to have with your client, but if this is what they hired you for, then they’re ready for it.
Sometimes that’s NOT what they hired you for though. Sometimes you need to gently ask the questions and when they say no, you need to drop it. At least for the time being. I have this happen a lot with clients. It’s not in the budget, the designer is a friend, they paid a lot of money for whatever, it’s gonna stay put for the time being.
So, here’s a few things that based on my recent experiences I think we should be reminded of when working with our clients. Also, remember this when you’re working with other service providers on a client. You never know who has they client’s ear, and getting fired because you were a jerk to another service provider can happen…
The Role of a Service Provider:
- Provide solutions and services within your scope of work and breadth of knowledge
- Work WITH your client to develop and implement their vision (you’re their to guide, get your own thing)
- Offer recommendations and options based on your clients needs
- Complete requested tasks by the client
- Make suggestions on opportunities or changes needed within the organization
- Provide SERVICE (ie: don’t be a dick)