Many years ago Saturday Night Live had a recurring skit where "Nick Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy" would come up to help solve a problem and try to get one of his users to fix the issue. Very quickly, he would get fed up and yell "MOVE!", and then sit in their chair to fix the issue himself. In the process, he would belittle these poor office workers and make fun of their lack of knowledge. In the end, the only thing that was accomplished was a client that was frustrated and still dependent on someone that did not appreciate them.
As a former I.T. guy, I can tell you it used to be that way, we enjoyed our power and the ability to confuse our customers with acronyms and terminology that would make their eyes glaze over. They needed us after all. Back when I.T. dictated business processes, we told folks how to do their work because that's how the software was created. There was no need to educate the customer concerning how to more effectively use their technology because after all, why would we want to do that? If we educated them, they would call us less and not see as much of a need to have us around. It was advantageous to keep our customers in the dark. Or so it seemed.
Fast forward some decades and we have seen a massive shift; technology is created to support the business customer, period. I.T. shops have changed their focus to provide support to their business clients by collecting the business requirements that the business defines.
Big Shifter believes that our clients should feel and be smarter after they complete a project with us. They should feel knowledgable with the website that we deliver so that they can be self sufficient if they choose to be.
This approach make us spend more time with our clients and forces us to slow down and listen to them. We are constantly updating our tools to ensure that we are asking the right questions of all of our clients and that the knowledge we glean from them is passed to all of our staff. All of our staff are educators. We have a passion to talk about our craft and teach people about what we do. We hope that this passion comes across in all of our dealings with our clients.
Some people may see this as a waste of time and as a lost opportunity for more work. The old school consulting model is essentially the same story described in my intro paragraph. Keep the client dependent on the consultant.
As a consultant, do I want my clients to return to request more services? Absolutely! However, I would rather have a client to ask my team for more services based on their knowledge of their website and its related technologies rather than calling in desperation and frustration. We strive to be a partner in their business and not a leech that continuously drains valuable resources.
There is a risk that a customer will not return once we educate them about their website and its parts. In fact, we have had customers not return to us for anything after training them on their site. In those cases we feel that we've done our job because that client can support their website themselves. Hopefully they will call us if they need further services, but if they don't, that's O.K. by us.
Contrary to that risk, we find taking the time to know and educate our clients builds trust and mutual respect. This, in turn, builds stronger relationships between our team and our clients. This is the stickiness that we try to achieve with our clients. We are 'stuck' together as a team working towards the same goals.
The "Technical Business User"
What the industry has created over time is what I like to call the Technical Business User. These folks are people that have a role in their business life that intersects with technology. They have taken the time to learn about the technology they use and they leverage that knowledge to accomplish what used to be accomplished by their "Nick Burns-type" support team. The barriers workers used to have in getting their jobs done are being lowered. We hope that Big Shifter can be a part of the movement to get technology out of the way and let people do their jobs.
Big Shifter wants to have the best educated clients once we have been a part of their team. We want them to be successful without the requirement of depending on us. We will always do our best to provide client education during our project development and delivery process.
If you want to find out more about how Big Shifter can create a site and make you "website smart", give us a shout.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Kulvinskas has over 2 decades of web development experience that started way back before front-ends, back-ends, 'dot-coms' and social media. He loves making things easier to understand and more efficient to use. He loves spending time with his family, cycling and volunteering. He enjoys empowering others to be their best and leading others by serving them.