Oct 19, 2021
“The client is always right.” We’ve all heard that before! Do we believe it? Not always. Should we question it? Um … yes!.
Questioning, however, is easier said than done. In fact, it’s as difficult as looking into the wind on a blustery afternoon.
It’s the Golden Rule after all, boldly invented by Harry Gordon Selfridge of Selfridges London in 1909, which we have followed like abiding sheep ever since.
Over 100 years on, here we are: handling impossible requests, being asked to make endless changes for clients who don’t know what they want, or awaiting responses from some who seem to have disappeared off the face of the Earth – to name but a few of the challenges faced by the present-day web designer.
But, you are ever-obliging and patient because …
The client is always right, right?
After all, the client is one of the most important parts of your business – even the bad and the downright ugly ones. Here’s the best reason to keep clients happy:
It costs five times more moolah to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one.
Giving you more reason than ever to hang on tight to those you already have, despite some of the daily frustrations you face.
As my Granny used to quote from a rather jingly hymn: “All God’s creatures have got a place in the choir”. With jazz hands in motion, she would continue: “Some sing low and some sing higher”.
In business, the relevance is not lost.
Before learning how to deal with different types of clients (as ominous as that sounds), it is important to recognize them and some of their quirky characteristics.
So, who is likely to be saying what? Plus, some suggestions on how to manage the whole experience, and come out smiling.
AKA The Diva. Dramatic tenancies can make this a difficult person to work with. They may be passive when asked for input but will certainly expect things to be done by their own high standards.
How to manage the drama-drama-drama: You will need patience. Expect revisions until things are pitch perfect! Be strong! Set a limit on these to stay on schedule (and sane).
With an air of flamboyance, these loveable rogues are likely to be a personal connection. The type who holds you and your skills in such high regard that they think you can just knock up a “favour for a friend” in less time than it takes to learn The Loco-Motion.
Top tip on how to unblur the boundaries: Stay professional from the start. And be honest about your availability (and costs).
Loud! Loud and must be heard. Here is the wannabe hero who can be heard saying, “I would do it myself, but I don’t have the time” and other equally irritating catchphrases.
How to manage the noise: Breathe. This is your opportunity to really show off your skills, proving why YOU have been hired to do the job.
Smooth, charming, and chilled. These clients are happy letting you take charge. The Dream Client may really exist!
What to do: Use your range, enjoy … oh, and hold on to them!
You can’t conduct everyone with the same baton
“In business, being able to read people and quickly get a sense of who you’re dealing with is an invaluable skill” – as my Granny also used to say (not really, it was Rob Bowen).
So, while this choir of clients only represents a snippet of those you may encounter, it’s important to remember that there isn’t a one-way-fits-all way of navigating personality traits and dealing with behaviors.
But, the general principles of having patience a’plenty, and confidence in your own abilities is key to gain trust and develop great working relationships with your clients, even if you do have some doubts about their own performance techniques.
*Whispers: Pipe down tenor!
The leading role is all yours.