Wednesday, December 7

Citizen at One: 3 Things I've learnt this year. Pt. 2

Clients are amazing. All of them all the time.

OK, that might not be true, but that's how it has to look. I've been lucky, I've had nearly all good people to work with, a couple of non and late payers, but on the whole they've been very cool.

It hasn't been all amazing though, I've learnt that you have to adapt yourself to who you're dealing with, some people want to work with an artist, others, a professional designer, some people want 'The Funny' and others think you're weird.

The most valuable client lesson I learnt this year was working a potential new client. They rang me to talk about some new branding, we discussed their current site, and how we could improve on this. We got on well, it was a Friday so a few funnies were flying around, it all felt like it was going well. A week later I hadn't heard anything, so I dropped them a line to catch up, and got a nice reply, everything looking good.

A week later the project was still stalling, I figured  that this probably wasn't going to happen. So I replied back with an email along the lines of;

"So I guess this isn't going to happen, I'm pretty sad about it, you should see my face".

OK, looking back, it was a but unprofessional, and the client hit me back with;

"I'm not sure how to take that email".

And from here, I was a bit embarrassed, clearly I'd over stepped the mark, assumed we were on the same wavelength, become too friendly too quickly and ultimately made myself look like a bell end.

It's the kind of thing Alan Partridge might have done, and it taught me a valuable lesson, you can make a client your friend though hard work and getting to know them over a series of projects, but life isn't Facebook, you don't pick up the phone to someone and they're instantly your friend.

Just remember, however lonely you get in the office and whatever mood you're in, always be professional.

Or call 07738 17


49th Floor said...

I wouldn't beat yourself up about writing 'that' eMail to be honest. Not wanting to sound like an American teen show too much (the mrs dedication to this sub-genre has clearly rotted my brains), but I think it's best to be yourself. Try and recognise that sometimes people won't get you, but that doesn't matter. It's just this kind of self-motivated out-of-the-box thinking that is what identifies your work and suite of services as unique and worthy.

The worst case scenario is a little embarrassment, but frankly if they are being flaky surely you have the right to enquire as to the situation? I wouldn't have said your eMail was unprofessional, just honest and isn't that an endearing trait for any service provider?

It's not like you said:
'Listen you stupid c***, I've put up with your breeze and I've jumped through your ridiculous hoops and have already wasted hours of billable time, so what's the score eh? Get back to me within five minutes or I'll execute your first born and post your puppy to Guantanamo. Safe'

I think if you start trying to adjust your approach to fit a certain 'professional' stereotype on the basis a single humourless, time-wasting client then it might set you on a path you never wished to occupy and that would be a shame.

BB said...

Thanks for that, it's a really good point, you're right that being myself means I can offer a more personal service to clients, and that is what most people are looking for.

The only thing I'd say is when you're starting up you can't really afford to lose leads, and you kick yourself when you know it's your own fault.

I do like the idea of posting a puppy to Guantanamo though.

Luke Harby said...

You said bell end