Offering the Client Too Many Options

I'm not the type of person who wants to just come out and tell everyone how they should be doing everything. That's just not me. I'm a pretty laid back kind of guy, and I realize that there's almost always a range of choices that could satisfy any situation. Unfortunately, that mentality can be dangerous for a web client.

Let's put it this way. You go to your doctor. She takes a scan of a lump on your arm, and says, "Hmm. This is a problem. Well, we have 15 different ways we can approach this. Let's take the time to evaluate each option."

At that moment, I'm not looking for 15 different choices. At the most, I'm looking for 2 or 3. If I trust in the doctor's ability, I'm just going to ask her what she would choose and ignore the rest of the choices.

As much as I enjoy my profession, I'm not going to draw too many comparisons between online marketing and treating serious illnesses. That said, the sense of overwhelm can be very intense when a business owner is trying to make an important decision about his business on a tight budget or schedule. He needs someone who can give him answers, not 15 options of varying importance.

I realize that some people want as many choices as possible. I'm an Android user because I prefer the ability to endlessly customize, but I realize I'm the minority (in my desire to customize -- not as an Android user). More people prefer a smooth process where the steps are laid out for them -- as long as they trust the source making those decisions. Apple now has an impressive reputation, and they can guide users through their choices. Microsoft, on the other hand, is struggling with its reputation, and a smaller percentage of its userbase is willing to turn over the control.

Trust, then, is paramount.

I've written about The Paradox of Choice before, as well as The Long Tail rebuttal from Chris Anderson. I think we all - in whichever field of expertise we claim -- need to help our clients more. By building trust, we can help them navigate tough decisions, and even suggest the best choice flat out.

It's not a matter of being controversial or highly opinionated or always needing to be right. It's about helping people who are too busy to be experts in every field in which they must do business.

But it all comes back to the trust.

I'm reading The Impact Equation by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, and they have a lot of great stuff to say about trust. They also wrote a book called Trust Agents, I'd recommend this book over the previous one simply because the newer one addresses the rapidly evolving demands of business and technology.

photo credit: B Tal via photopin cc