Monday, July 23, 2007

The Customer is Always Wrong [Part One]

This little insight I worked out by myself with great difficulty.

My first IT job was probably the hardest I ever did.

It was working in a call centre at an ISP back in 1995 before most people had even heard of the Internet and email. Those that had were termed "early adopters" and it was "cool" to "surf the internet". Having played with Unix and Linux and TCP and configured modems to do interesting things I considered myself to be an expert in what I was doing which was helping people to connect to the Internet. And yet there were people who may well have been experts in what they did that would argue with me. The ones who were the most clueless but argued the most were usually doctors. I guess doctors are used to dispensing advice - not taking it.

I've seen from my wife's craft business that the same is true. Some people look to her for advice on techniques and then ignore the advice and get upset, some listen and are happy with the results. (She tries not to offer advice on the creative aspects, that has to come from within).

And now that I am in security I've seen how business can try to ignore security advice because they feel that they know better. Try to force them to accept what you are saying and you can overstep the "be nice to clients" boundary.

At the end of the day, the client has to accept that he is working with a professional and accept the advice as coming from an expert. Alternatively, if the client can do everything on his own, what does he need an expert for , anyhow?
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