Excuse the expletive, but I'm a little annoyed. I told myself a few weeks ago that if another designer came to me complaining about client/designer relationships I would do something harsh about it. I'm keeping my promise. I received an email from a young designer yesterday morning telling me about his bad experience with a client. He complained the client was "stupid", didn't "know what they were talking about", wanted him to design "crap" and he fired her; keeping his upfront fee. The client was leaving nasty voicemails, emails and threatening to sue. He needed my help in how to handle the situation with this "crazy *****".
Well, I'm not. I'm going to tell you why you got yourself into this problem in the first place and what you could have done to avoid it.
Know Your Roles
Yes, you're not just a graphic designer anymore. In fact, that's the last thing you are on the totem pole of being a freelance creative. First and foremost, you have to have the heart of a teacher. Many of your clients won't know anything about design, so you have to educate them from the beginning. Second, customer service has to be the go-to weapon in your arsenal. Even when the client is being unreasonable, you have to speak to them with respect and kindness. And putting on the teacher hat at the moment won't hurt either. You must be the Indiana Jones of design and guide the client through the jungle of the creative process.
Write Out The Deliverables
This means that you must provide a detailed document stating what your services will entail while working on their project, how many revisions will be included, and an ETA on comps and final design. It wouldn't hurt to return phone calls promptly and in a friendly manner.
You Are Not God's Gift To The World
You went to design school. You're great at what you do. You dress like a hipster and have the haircut to go with it. You are awesome and clients should be tearing your door down to work with you. Guess what? They're tired of your bad attitude, the fact that you design for yourself and not the client, and most of all they're tired of your ego. Be a humble, kind and helpful creative, and people will want to work with you. If they like you, they'll even refer you to their friends, family and colleagues. Stop being an ***hole, because in the end you give all of us a bad name.
There is one good thing about your crummy behavior. I get to swoop in and be the superhero. Good luck in small claims court.
Dennis aka tanoshiboy
Ever had a bad experience with a designer? Did it turn you off to working with one again? Do you want to add to my list of to-dos? Share your story and while you're at it, share this post on twitter, facebook and with whoever might benefit from it.