Is the Customer always right?

We get the phone calls every day.  I need… and the reseller on the other line rattles off a part or model number of exactly what they want.  Day in and day out, I get to hear two ways this phone call can go.  The sales person can either simply quote exactly what Mr. Customer wants, and off they go.  Happy Customer.  Or the salesperson can ask a few questions and spend maybe twenty minutes on the phone or maybe two or three phone calls, later on; a quote comes through.  Happy Customer. 

Too often, I visit a school who brags about being 1:1 and having the latest in technology in every classroom, but I would walk into the class and find the laptops in a corner all dusty.  I would ask a student or a teacher the last time they used them, and I would get the standard, “They don’t work” or “The Internet is too slow,” or “I don’t have the training.”  All because we didn’t ask the right questions to offer the right solution.  Going back to, is the Customer always right?  Just because they knew the part number they wanted does not mean that is what is the right fit for administration, teachers, and students.


Are we asking the right questions to offer the best solutions in the end?  We need to understand that nowadays, we are no longer dealing with the old-fashioned brick and mortar school.  Some parents have decided to homeschool their students.  In addition to a private school, you then may have to break it down into a Catholic or a Jewish Day School.  If they are a Title I school, do they participate in the E-Rate program? is your reseller an E-Rate solution provider with a SPIN number?.  If an administrator is planning to switch from Apple to Microsoft, are they thinking about professional development for their teachers?  Are the students going to take the device home? If so, do they have internet access and the tools they will need to use them at home.  What type of monitoring is the IT director going to pursue to ensure that once the device leaves the campus, they are still secure?


We all want to make our customers happy, and we all have to make sure there is a form of instant gratification.  But ultimately in education, our real customer are our administrators, teachers, students and even our parents.  If we just take a few more minutes to ask the right questions, we will have a better ROI not only on the tools we are placing in our classrooms, giving our teachers the professional development they need, and aid our frustrated parents when our students come home with a new device.  Perfect solution = Happy Customer!

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