They can call you 20 times in less than an hour, but when you message them asking for something, they disappear for 20 hours like it’s normal. They can tell you to throw your design in the trash, but if you politely tell them to rethink their idea, they demand an apology.
The client-designer relationship is complicated, sometimes even more complicated than an intimate one. It comes with a lot of arguments, a series of compromises, late-night phone calls, and weekend interruptions, too. And it’s all understandable because it’s the nature of the work, right? Most of the time, yes, but sometimes clients get a bit too much. Especially when they don’t have boundaries and cross the line … and end up on your bad side.
We’ve always been told to keep clients on our good side no matter what, but there are certain clients that we know we are better off without. There are red flags that you should be wary of when dealing with tough clients. Make sure to let your boss know about these types of clients because sometimes, the hassle is definitely worth the loss.
1. The one who doesn’t want to talk about payments
There are certain types of clients who try their best to avoid talking about the costs they will incur. A client like this is one that is troubling. A client like this is one that will cause problems for you down the line. Always make it a point to discuss the costs early on – as well as the payment options available – to ensure no surprises arise along the way.
2. The one who vanishes and reappears whenever they feel like it
There is nothing worse than a client who demands an answer the second they contact you but doesn’t reciprocate the promptness. Instead, they disappear for hours, sometimes days, without so much as a “hello.” This leaves your workflow in a trap. What’s even worse is the client who disappears when a payment is due. To make sure things always go smoothly, have more than one point of contact from the client’s end in case things go sour. Also, make sure to address all these points of concern prior to getting work done.
3. The one who thinks they know it all
A creative agency, and a designer specifically, has years of experience in the field. Having worked with so many clients in various industries, designers usually have a different outlook on things, a perspective that is worth taking into consideration when brainstorming. But some clients come in and make it a point to preach, rather than engage in an active discussion. Just like any professional, and none professional, relationship, there must be respectable communication streams to ensure all sides of the game are treated fairly. Anyway, that is the only way good results come about.
4. The one who isn’t clear about what they want
Even worse than the client who thinks they know best is the one who is not clear about what they want, yet still makes you feel like you’re in the wrong. That is why clients like this should never be left to openly discuss their ideas. Instead, ask them questions to make sure they translated their thoughts into words the right way. That way, you can lift the burden of responsibility off your shoulder.
No matter what…
You should always have a systematic approach when dealing with clients. A consistent approach is the only way you can ensure fair treatment to all your clients. It will also help ensure smooth delivery and a good client-agency relationship. That way, when that “black sheep” of a client comes along, you’ll know who the source of the problem actually is.