When things don’t work out with clients

By June 8, 2012Thoughts

Sometimes in business things don’t work out, this is especially true when you’re working with a wide range of clients, from time to time the style of business or approach to work doesn’t quite gel and you have to hold your hands up and say it’s not going to work out.

I’ve learned over the years that I don’t have to take absolutely every client on board and in fact some client where I work with them would require such a different work process that it would be detrimental to my other clients.

I’ve not faced this situation for a while now, however recently an old client with whom it didn’t work out has resurfaced and decided to have another pop at me.

Collaborative or Consultative Design Process

The client in question (no names here) wanted a website building in a certain style and we thought we could accommodate him however after we’d started the design it became very clear that the client wanted to work in a much more  collaborative manner than the agency I was working for at the time was prepared to work in. In  fact learning from this experience I now always talk about taking a consultative rather than collaborative approach.

I’m not a designer, so I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to design things, I do however have very exacting standards when it comes to the designs I’m prepared to put my name and reputation to. Designers think in exactly the same way, in fact in my experience, most web designers think they are artists and are generally very proud of the work they put out there. I think this is a good thing as it pushes their creativity. Having someone sitting over the shoulder of a designer is a sure fire way of not getting the best out of them, unless they’re not a very good, or very creative designer in the first place.

Collaborative or Consultative SEO Process

The above is fine for a designer – because they are the artists, most people don’t see SEO as the same creative process – let’s be honest, it’s not the same. It does however, require a certain amount of creative thinking and experience to be able to get a website to rank in the way you think it should and this shouldn’t be undervalued.

You need to be a bit collaborative, in fact I always think SEO works best when you get a good level of feedback from a client however you’ve then got to be given a certain amount of free reign to just get on with things and make them happen.

Anyway….

Back to the client that keeps coming back to haunt me, every now and then I seem to get an irrate email from one client in particular where it didn’t work out, the client paid for photography and branding work as originally quoted but still seem to think we ripped them off or shouldn’t have had to have paid for anything because things didn’t work out.

Having learned the lesson that you’ve got to pick your clients wisely and work with people that work in a similar style to your own I’m struggling to know what else to take from this perennially irritating situation, or if in fact there is a lot I can do to help the client that was left unsatisfied and still feel a aggrieved.

Hard work, I know everyone that deals with clients on a one to one basis has horror stories in there history however I’d be interested to hear some other people’s stories to help cheer me up. I might just have to head over to Clients from Hell.

Leave a Reply