How do you handle this feedback? Should one simply follow the customer requests or rather refuse them? Is it worth having lengthy discussions? Reaction largely depends on the reason for the feedback: why did I get this feedback?
De Gustibus ...
If your customer simple doesn’t like what you have delivered than it’s not worth the discussion. As the ancient Romans used to say: ‘De gustibus et coloribus, non disputandum est’. Just make sure you double check the initial customer demand and fully understand what he or she really wants before you start all over again. Ask for if you're not sure. In case the initial demand was changed you might have to revise budget and/or timing.
Misunderstandings & mismatches
Often feedback is fed by a mismatch between customer and supplier expectations or by misunderstandings. Plan a meeting or a conf call with all parties and make sure you get everybody aligned. Avoid long e-mail conversations or chat sessions, they only make things worse. If the original customer demand needs further specification: do so. In case you are working in a multi-lingual environment make sure your counterpart didn’t get lost in translation. Real polyglots are rare J
You are the expert!
Maybe your customer gives you this feedback because he simply lacks knowledge or has less experience on the subject than you have? After all you are the expert! In such case you should explain why you have done things the way you have done them. If experience taught you that this specific customer feedback might cause a delay or an extra future migration cost the customer is not aware of, you should tell him. Believe me, I have met very few customers who didn’t appreciate this.
Stay calm and ...
In all cases you should stay polite and friendly. You owe this to your customer as he is the one paying your bills at the end of the month! Definitely avoid to get personal and don’t confuse message and messenger. This is not a race you need to win nor an ego matter. So always think ‘solution’ rather than ‘win or lose’.
Every crisis is an opportunity
However every now and then things do get heated. In such case you should let them cool down. Take a step back and have a good night sleep before sending out that steaming e-mail. And if a crisis has become inevitable, try to use it as a momentum to get your relationship straightened out. After all there is an opportunity in every crisis.