I spend a good majority of my day explaining boundaries to my customers. The vast majority of those that call in for web hosting support, have no idea that there is a difference between building a website, hosting a website and sending an email. Because of this, I get asked a lot of questions that I should have learned to expect by now, but still astonish me. When a customer asks me to make some new installation of a third party e-commerce solution look like the rest of their site, I should learn to not only say “That is not within our realm of support”, but also educate them as to why their question is a farce.
When I first started building websites, over 10 years ago, the internet was not the place it is now. Back then, in order to build a decent website I copied someone else’s website, learned what they did to make it cool and would then deposit some of those elements into my own. Before too long I would end up with a tapestry of patchwork and cross stitching that I could call mine. This forced me to always learn more, evolve my design style, and mature in graphical development. 10 years later, and I am still learning, but I am also now teaching.
Fast forwarding to 2006: Everyone wants a website, and wants it NOW! People do not want to learn how to create. Today’s internet market is composed of consumers, not customers. These people expect to have exactly what they need ready to go, as if we were some sort of psychic fast food chain with their anticipated meals being warmed under a heat lamp. There are two problems with this. The first problem is that nothing is ever exactly what is needed. There is always going to be a missing tomato, or too many onions. The second problem is that even if you do get a product close to what you ordered, it doesn’t change the quality of said product, or the fact that you only spent $3.95 and had it handed to you through the drive through window.
How does one offer this type of education to a customer while sounding sincere and empathetic? I am not sure there is a way, so for now I guess the best way is to simply add the phrase “Please contact the developer of this product for any additional support and configuration”.
How far are we going to digress in the name of convenience?