Client Tantrums Are Your Fault

April 12, 2013

In Disney’s “Wreck It Ralph”, Ralph has a pretty terrible temper.

His temper stems from him always being the bad guy… nobody likes being the bad guy (unless you are Willem Dafoe). Ralphs temper frequently leads to fits of rage and smashing things. It’s pretty funny to watch in a Disney setting, but have you ever dealt with this when Ralph was your client?

Avoiding Tantrums

If we continue this metaphor with Ralph as our client, consider why Ralph is feeling the way he feels. Ralph wants to feel loved, appreciated, and validated. He wants to be recognized for the good he does.

In the design and business world, our clients may have an idea of what they are looking for, however a big headed designer sometimes thinks they know better. There are tendencies to belittle the client because we have done “more study” of design. For those who think this way, I hope Ralph breaks your Jaw Breaker

Constant Communication

Ralph, clients, people… all want to feel validated. They want to know that their opinion is heard and understood. If your design process consists of a Kickoff Meeting and then presenting a final deliverable, you’re right on track for The Curse.

What Are You Getting Done?

From a client perspective, if you are meeting with a designer only once in the beginning and nothing until the end, chances are you sit and wonder “Is my work getting done?” or “How can they have any idea for direction if we haven’t talked in weeks?“.

Friends Keep In Touch

One thing that I have found that has helped me establish great relationships with clients, and produce great quality work, is constant communication.

I love to shooting emails over to the client once or twice a week just to keep them posted on my progress. My ideal response or reply email from the client typically just says “Thanks Dillon“. I want “Ralph” to feel that he is not another fish in our sea, he is not getting brushed under the rug for “bigger” clients. “Ralph’s” work matters, his business matters, and his opinion matters. The best way to get all of these items drawn out, is constant communication.

Try this experiment

Take a client of yours, not the biggest or smallest, just someone who is your “average” client and spend an additional 5 minutes twice a week to send them a quick email. That email should be less than 4 sentences and in essence just be a quick update. Consider it an email tweet!

Here is an example:

Hey Ralph, Hope your Monday is starting off right! Just wanted to let you know that this landing page is really coming along. I think we are really going to hit the “adventurous” experience we want our audience to have. Give me a shout if you have any questions.

Your email could even be something like this:

Hey Ralph, I’m adding some negative keywords to your account today. Our new campaign breakout looks like it might yield some pretty great results. I look forward to learning more this week. Talk to you soon.

We do this because we want “Ralph” to feel appreciated and understood. Even if that email says absolutely NOTHING of substance, the client STILL knows that you are there and working hard for them.

Try it out, and let me know the response you get from your “Ralph’s”.

Similar Posts