The JM Report #2

The Serious Bit: ‘The Customer is Always Right’ vs ‘A Lion Does Not Concern Himself With The Opinion of Sheep’

The customer is always right. I can see where this comes from. Try as hard as possible to please the customer. Work hard to fulfil your customer’s every wish. Listen to their suggestions and act upon them.

There are roughly a million different combinations and sizes and prices at Subway and Burger King. People fuckin’ love getting their own way.

I would suggest though, that this sentiment creates a bizarre power dynamic. I am paying you, therefore you need to respect me. I am the customer, so I am on top. You are selling me something, so you are on the bottom. It’s not equal – after all, it is the customer that always knows best.

But maybe the customer doesn’t know best. They don’t know what they want. They don’t know the work that you are doing. They don’t have a clue about what is going on behind the scenes, especially with the numbers. Perhaps the producer should create their vision. And then the customers can follow. Or not. A lion should not concern himself with the opinion of sheep.

There is no telling Mr. Jiro Ono how to make sushi. He doesn’t care about your opinion. He is the fuckin’ sushi master. He makes the sushi. You sit down and eat it. If you don’t like his style, don’t go. Sukiyabashi Jiro is widely renowned as the best sushi restaurant in the world.

Balancing these two opposing sentiments is a precarious challenge.

I have been trying to find this balance recently with J Con, the event I am organising. In particular, some followers of J Con have let me know that they think the €20 ticket price is too high. It is really useful to know what people are thinking. And I appreciate people taking the time to write and send me their feedback.

I also understand their feeling. They have a valid concern. Depending on your perspective, €20 is a lot of money. I understand that they want to pay a low price for a good show. That is the mindset of the consumer. But they have no idea about the amount of work that goes into putting an event like J Con together. No idea of the cost of producing such an event.

So what should I do? It’s a difficult decision. Keep the price point and risk losing customers who think its too expensive? Or drop the price, only to not charge enough and risk making a loss producing the event. In the end I chose to stick to the price, but with even more motivation to create a great experience with good value for money. I hope that this was the right decision. Only time will tell.

YouTube

Rick Rubin. This guy has produced music for everyone from Slayer to Adele. From the Beastie Boys to Shakira. The list is incredible. Just google and see. Across generations and genres. How amazing is that? He has directly shaped the course of music. Bonus points for him coming across as a general dude in this interview with Zane Lowe – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUksi4RrrWo

About the Author

Joe Moore
Joe Moore is just a guy. He has expertise in project management (Japanese language, culture and business) and event planning. For the serious bit, see www.linkedin.com/in/lightningjoe. He most recently founded and directed www.jconireland.com, a Japanese pop culture convention. Joe is passionate about entrepreneurship, cultural exchange, specialty coffee and adventure.