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4 Strategies I Use To Help Me Deal With A Nightmare Client | Graphic Design Boss

4 Strategies I Use To Help Me Deal With A Nightmare Client

4 Strategies I Have Learnt To Help Me Work For A Nightmare Client

No Joke - 4 Strategies I Use When Working For A Nightmare Client

I’ve seen many blog posts on how to avoid bad or difficult clients which offer great advice. Unfortunately you can’t avoid bad clients all the time. They sneak up on you in all sorts of different ways. Your relationship with your client may start of really well and go postal after you have been working together for a while.

Dealing with a difficult client or bad client is part of owning your own graphic design business. Sure you can do everthing to try and avoid them, but when you encounter them you need to understand there can be an upside to having them. Yes. Really. There is.

I remember a few years back learning a lesson I will never ever forget. I was working for a marketing client who was a junior account executive. He was pushy, demanding, unrealistic and he wanted everything yesterday. No appreciation or positive ever came my way. As well as leading the design I was also the client contact. After whinging and complaining to my boss she said something that I have never forgotten:

“Your worst client can be your best teacher”

If you don’t remember anything else about this post remember what she said. It has served me so well over the years. No matter how bad your situation you can learn something about yourself and how you handled the situation. Here are four strategies or questions I use to work out what I can do to avoid the same situation happening again:

1. How did I respond in the heat of the moment?

2. What did I learn from the situation?

3. If that happened again would I handle it differently?

4. What can I do to avoid it happening again?

As I said at the top of this post you can’t avoid difficult or bad clients all the time. But in the future you can put in place strategies in place to help you learn and avoid it happening to you again in the future.

Over to you: What strategies do you use to work with difficult clients?

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Photo CC: Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla


3 Responses to “4 Strategies I Use To Help Me Deal With A Nightmare Client”

  1. daniel mckee February 3, 2011 at 6:41 am #

    After 10 years of running a creative company and not being a creative I have struggled at rare times to handle toxic clients and difficult situations. In my experience I have realized exactly what “How did I respond in the heat of the moment” truly means. I agree that with time you learn how best to handle things and in the end how you handle things may have the lasting memories of those moments.

  2. Sherry February 10, 2011 at 5:42 am #

    This is very true. Recently we’ve had to deal with the most difficult situation with a client we’ve had in over 15 years. Looking back on it, what I learned is that if it really doesn’t feel “right” with a particular client, if they do not respect your talent and expertise, if they do not listen to any of your advice or suggestions, if they circumvent the process, if they try to add unending changes and revisions to a job (without paying for them), if they treat you or your staff poorly, if they do not respect business hours, and they refuse to pay in the end it’s probably a good idea to part ways after a few early problems. I tried to please this client to the very end, even after all these problems (and more, if you can believe that) because I honestly never had such a client that started out seemingly perfect then ended up so horrible.

    So yes, it definitely was a learning experience and now I’m aware of just about every tell-tale sign there is of a bad client!

    • nce March 1, 2011 at 6:48 am #

      You know i used to think it was me not trying enough but then i´ve come to realise that just in the same way there are bad friends, bad bosses, bad movies, bad anything ….there are also bad clients. The ones that you can never please, because they really dont know what they want. The best time to end the contract is when you ´smell´ a problem, cause getting more involved, to please them, will only make a messier parting. Since unfortunately, ´the client is always right´one has to always choose the most compatible ones to work with. I use certain words as if it is a relationship, but then it is.

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