Customer request is not customer value

Just because a customer asks for something, does not mean that what they ask for is actually valuable to them. And even if it’s valuable, it’s another thing to be worthwhile. To be worth more than it costs.

When a customer makes a request, they’re starting a conversation. The first part of that conversation needs to be about why and how you can help them. If you immediately dive into asking details about what they would like, like someone ordering a hamburger from McDonald’s and being asked if they want ketchup on it and if they want to super size it, you’re going to severely derail your objective ability to talk about the worth of the request.

Every step you take down the path of what, instead of why, adds to the cognitive dissonance that the effort you’ve put into prescribing a solution means it must be worthwhile. Dissonance grows exponentially with every step you take. The more detailed you get, the harder it will be to think clearly about the value. You’ll just convince yourself of it. You’ll attach to the solution you’ve created. You’ll find beauty in your solution. And you won’t be able to let go simply because there was no problem to be solved.

So instead of expediting the process to turn customer request into reality, step back. Ask why. Ask what if we didn’t do it. Ask what it’s worth.

Only when you have an understanding of worth, and you feel that the potential value will surpass the potential cost, should you proceed with options for what you’ll do. Yes, options. Because if you just dive into a request, you’ll also neglect to consider alternatives.

It’s not about the customer being right, it’s about ensuring you’re helping and not doing harm. No Doctor hands out pills on command, you shouldn’t hand out features on command either.