Client respect

That’s us respecting them, not them respecting us…

I posted a tweet this morning that got a bit of reaction from my followers, so I thought I’d write it up here.

Sites like Clients From Hell are all quite light-hearted, and some are very funny, but it’s still a public forum in which our industry is calling out and mocking those that fund it.

The thing that actually triggered my tweet this morning was this comic strip from Freelance Switch. This, and many others like it (note; random sample) in the Freelance Freedom series, is the design industry blatantly bitching about our clients, and it makes us look like twats.

Think about it like this; if you wouldn’t say it to your client’s face, should you say it at all? Word travels, and I could think of nothing worse than a client finding out that I’d been ridiculing them behind their backs… I don’t have the first idea about plumbing, but I’d be pretty annoyed to find out that my plumber was bitching about me to his peers.

The web is still a relatively new industry. Just think at what rate you’re still learning; how can you expect a client to have even a shred of the same knowledge?

We’re all guilty of it to some extent, myself included, but if you think about it’s a bit harsh. We’ve all had clients request silly, impossible or just outright disgusting things, but we’re professionals. This is where we educate, explain, justify and reason to the best of our abilities, using our knowledge as a tool and not a weapon.

If the client is still adamant they want x when you think they want y–and you have done all you can to convince them otherwise–just comply. They’re paying you after all, and would you rather have them remember and recommend you as ‘the agency who went that extra mile for me and did everything I asked’, or as ‘the agency who wouldn’t do what I wanted’?

Not all clients understand design or the web, and that’s good, because if they did we’d all be out of jobs.


Now, these opinions are entirely my own and you might not agree, but I’d like to hear some thoughts…


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Hi there, I’m Harry. I am an award-winning Consultant Front-end Architect, designer, developer, writer and speaker from the UK. I write, tweet, speak and share code about authoring and scaling CSS for big websites. You can hire me.


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