Consult vs. Serve
The Germans prefer consulting over serving. To consult the customer is to work auf Augenhöhe, at eye-level. The German people instinctively reject any form of master-slave business relationship.
And the German customer prefers a supplier, consultant, vendor who insists on a business relationship auf Augenhöhe. Germans don’t want to be served, they want to be consulted, by an expert, at eye-level.
In Germany two parties enter into a dialogue about matching a customer’s problem with a supplier’s solution. Once the what has been agreed upon, there is limited customer input about the how.
The German customer expects the supplier to complete the requested task correctly and expertly, within schedule and budget. The boundary conditions are negotiated and held to as precisely as possible. Germans, however, will sacrifice schedule and budget in order to receive what they ordered.