Why You Should Not Please The Customers?

Aatir Abdul Rauf


Aatir Abdul Rauf


Sep 26, 2022

Why You Should Not Please The Customers?

Unpopular opinion: "Customers aren't always right."

I get it. The spirit of the phrase is to adopt a customer-first attitude. Keep them happy. Stop self-projecting & empathize with their pain point even if you disagree.

However, there are scenarios where you might have to make exceptions.

1/ The Wrong Customer

Yielding to users that aren't aligned with your vision (ideal customer profile) to begin with can be counter-productive.

Many SaaS startups are faced with this dilemma in the beginning.

I remember talking to cash-rich customers in early days of Talentera who were willing to pay top dollar to get a hyper-specific solution to solve their own problem.

But we soon realized that they'd drain our resources dry & assume unhealthy control on our roadmap. Thus, we had to walk away a few times.

It was hard. The money would have shot projections to the roof.

Similarly, you might also get poor-fit customers who are never happy with anything you do & are always asking for more.

Demanding improvements is fine, but issuing constant threats of moving to a competitor isn't the right way to go about it either. That mental pressure can bring a team down & sometimes it's best to let such profiles go if they're getting a kick out of it.

2/ Prescriptive Solutions

A Product Manager's job is to uncover pain points through their discovery efforts. While doing so, some customers will also suggest specific solutions to their issues. Their opinion definitely needs to be heard & noted. After all, they might have a brilliant idea.

However, their solution doesn't always have to be the right one.

Remember that you have to build a product that speaks to your entire customer base, not A customer.

This means you need to take several considerations into account & a single customer's myopic view might be limiting. The customer may be right for themselves, but not for your product.

3/ Misguided Morals

A customer has the right to be aggrieved if they are let down by your product. Some can be straight shooters. They avoid sugar coating feedback & that's perfectly fine. One needs to develop tough skin to accept that criticism.

However, if that feedback starts becoming unnecessarily vitriolic, that's not a healthy sign.

I've seen some people treat customer support, sales & SDRs with unchecked malice, hatred, condescension & unfiltered language.

Mental health abuse dished out to front-office workers by customers who think they weren't respected enough is a topic often swept under the carpet.

Customers are kings, but they are not gods.

Their support & trust for a product is to be appreciated but cannot be used as license to exercise indecency or inhumane behavior. No one deserves to be treated like crap.

I've had special admiration for leaders who stand by their team if a customer is being unreasonably harsh towards an employee.

In summary: Love the customers, but not blindly.

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