4 types of clients you love to hate: which is your favorite?

giving good feedback 5 stars cartoon
We love clients who shower us praises, but what do we do to those who do the opposite?

In our small cafeteria, there is this one regular customer my sister loves to hate.

My sister narrates that every day, he will come in around 8:00 AM, rant about how greasy his fried eggs are, gobble them up then come back 4 hours later for lunch only to order his usual and rant some more about why the serving seems to get smaller every day.

He’s been doing this for months, only changing what he complains about.

One day, my sister had enough.

She asked my mom if she could skip work because she didn’t want to see this toxic customer anymore. 

“He complains every day but buys anyway,” she said with disdain. 

“Minus the rants, he’s actually a loyal customer, isn’t he?” my mom countered.

As a business owner, it’s natural for you to want everyone to love your product, but sadly, that’s just not how it works.

You’re bound to deal with clients who want you to make changes to your product or business, but the problem is that these changes are often not the best for your company. Not every client is worth your time.

In this article, we will look at the different types of clients you’re bound to encounter and what you should do when they give you a hard time.

The “Out of Touch” Client

the out of touch client cartoon

When most people think of a client, they would probably envision someone who is in touch with the latest trends, budgets, and time frames. This makes sense, as many business owners are usually quite in tune with what goes on in the industry.

However, there are some clients that are so out of touch with the latest trends that it can be a real problem for the designer. Some business owners are so set in their ways that it can be difficult to get them to change their way of thinking.

The first step to getting a client in touch with the latest trends is educating them. 

This can be done in a variety of ways, from showing them how the website would look with their current logo to even just showing them examples of what is popular on other sites.

The “Unreasonable” Client

the unreasonable client cartoon

Most clients are reasonable and understand that the designer is just doing their job. However, there are unreasonable clients that can ruin the experience for everyone involved.

These are bad clients who ask for the moon and stars and even neglect paying. What’s worse is they turn the tables, highlight that you are the reason their company is failing, and demand a full refund.

For on-demand design services, there is usually an onboarding process before the designer starts the design task to ensure that everything is clear for both parties.

If issues arise, they can be sorted out through proper communication. 

As rational people, it is fair to settle any issues amicably before rushing to rant through social media or giving a low review. Doing this doesn’t solve the problem and is only a lose-lose situation.

If it can’t be resolved through a compromise, designers then find themselves in the awkward situation of having to fire a client because of an unreasonable request, unwillingness to pay, or lack of respect.

The “Painful” Client

the painful client cartoon cactus

This kind of client is the hardest to deal with because they poke at the designer’s ego more often than necessary. Their feedback can be emotionally painful because of its objectivity bordering on callousness.

It’s one thing to tell the designer to change the alignment; shouting at them saying they’re dull for missing it is quite another. 

Sweeping statements or phrases that dictate rather than guide (for example, “If I were you, I should”) are not helpful at all. It only serves to inflate the speaker’s ego.

Words like stupid and worthless must be avoided in feedback because they are demeaning and hurtful. They don’t help to improve the design. Focus on contributing to the solution when providing feedback.

Most creatives have a designer ego because they go all out and expose themselves in every project they create. Clients must choose their words wisely when giving feedback and remember that objective words need not be hurtful to be effective.

For on-demand design services like Deer Designer, we understand that business owners might be stressed out so they might not have time to filter their thoughts before sending a comment. 

We focus on objective feedback and do not mind the sting that some feedback brings. As professionals, Deer Designers know that design is subjective but feedback processing must be objective.

The “Unexpected” Client

the unexpected client cartoon

An unexpected client is a person who doesn’t fit into any of the above client types. This client is a mixture of a few of the other clients you’ve encountered in the past. 

Their personality may be a bit of a mystery, and, though they may be friendly, they may also be very difficult to work with.

They probably don’t have a clear idea of what they want, and, if they do, it’s probably not going to be anything you’re even capable of doing. 

This person may take up your time and resources, by being demanding, and pushy, and can lead you to do work that you didn’t agree to.

Should you fire your client?

This is the question you’re probably grappling with daily. My sister decided to show up at work that day even if she had to face her favourite customer again. She chose to look at the situation objectively. I hope you will too.

Firing a client is heavily dependent on the company’s values. What do you value as the owner or CEO? Are you patient enough to educate your client to consciously build a more stable business relationship?

Sometimes clients may be a pain in the neck, but if managed right, they can be a great source of income as well. Clients are as unique as every business in the world. Let your conscience and values guide you in managing your clients.

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