Never let clients speak to vendors.

We buy from our vendors because we like them and they do great work. We sell to our clients because they like us and we do great work that helps them carry forward their mission as a business or nonprofit. There’s something about the nature of these relationships, though, that does not encourage direct cross communication.

If these two spokes on the wheel of commerce are allowed to cross, sometimes the wheel can just fly off. I forgot this basic truth yesterday and in a seemingly innocent act of expedience I sent a status reply to a client’s question about their in-progress website to both the client and to the programmer.

Within minutes a full-on email brawl had broken out.

After a few emergency phone calls and a settling of dust, I got the following email from the programmer in question: Can I use this as a testimonial on my site? “Our Work Evokes Emotions: ‘The scrolling made me so nauseous, I had to go throw up.’

In his phone follow-up he said: “Why should all my testimonials be positive? It’s unrealistic.”

Never let clients speak to vendors.

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