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?
Photo CC: Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla