I was conducting a “voice of the customer”-type investigation for a client to inform the requirements for the redevelopment of their website.
We agreed on how many interviews I could do within the agreed fee and we agreed that they would make the introductions to a cross-section of their audiences. Once we’d secured the required number of interviews, they continued making intros to additional contacts. But I was enjoying the work and wanted to make a good impression, and I knew that the more perspectives I could gain, the stronger the insights would be, so in the end, I did DOUBLE the number of interviews.
At the playback presentation, it became clear that the client didn’t like the findings of the investigation, which was that clients were more interested and engaged by one aspect of their messaging than another (sustainability more than innovation, which makes sense).
The client started yelling.
Client: You spoke to the wrong people!
Me: YOU decided who I should interview, and the people I spoke to represented a cross-section of the target audience.
They expected me to interview a whole bunch of additional people without charging any extra money, fundamentally until I could gather enough evidence to support their confirmation bias that the innovation message was more important than the sustainability one.
Client: “We know our customers really well, and this is what they want to see!”
So WHY are you commissioning a VOC study? And why are you asking me to interview more people?
On top of this, they were awkward about so many things and late paying, etc. I managed to walk away relatively unscathed, but what a nightmare. “You spoke to the wrong people!” is a phrase that will stay with me forever!