How to deal with difficult clients

graphic designer melbourneWe creatives love an easy to deal with client like (Cruisey Suzie) who gives us a well throughout design brief, ample creative reign, is open minded, provides regular constructive feedback and sings our praises to colleagues, friends and family at the conclusion of the design brief. But let’s be honest… Not all clients are amazing like Cruisey Suzie. Let’s talk about Difficult Daisy!

Having worked with a variety of clients in my freelance career to date, I’ve had my fair share of Difficult Daisies (usually family and friends…haha). Most importantly, I’ve learnt that there really are no difficult clients but rather clients with their own personalities and vision: the more creative the client, the more developed their vision for the end product. Think about it… it makes sense that If the graphic designer isn’t realising their vision, they won’t be happy and will likely be a difficult client.

Difficult Daisy can often be impatient with the designer if their vision isn’t coming to fruition as quickly as they imagined. Communication is the biggest hurdle with a Difficult Daisy.

It may be that their communication style isn’t working for you; try to communicate with them on their level, in their way (if possible). Interestingly, this is where personality profiling comes into effect and can help you better understand yourself and others around you. (Please see: Why Personality Profiling Trumps IQ Testing).

Be Client Focused

A common practice in design is limiting revisions to clients. I don’t limit revisions for my clients as I want my clients to walk away 100% happy with the final product. This way, you get repeat business and build better client relations. Allot of creatives today limit revisions but I don’t think it’s in the creatives best interest.

Some of the most common Difficult Daisy qualities you’ll come across include: haggling over price and time worked, communicating old school via cup phone … haha (the client who will call you every time rather than replying to your email), slow responses as she needs approval from three other colleagues to give you an answer, urgency (she thinks she is your only/most important client and her job is required yesterday), indecisive, know it all, highly opinionated and always right (it’s her way or the highway), paranoia, high expectations (so high that she believes she is doing you a favour by hiring you). A Difficult Daisy can have any or many of these qualities and a few I haven’t listed.

Now at the end of the day, there is always going to be that one client that is never going to be happy no matter how good you realise their vision or how well you communicate. Difficult Daisy will test your patience and your abilities so remember that the way you deal with her reflects on your business. Most importantly, know where to draw the line, cut your losses and move onto your next job.

Another good read by one of my favourite blogs @ Creative Blog: 19 Things not to say to a graphic designer.

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