What’s the difference between a £1,000 client and £10,000 client? A $1,500 one and a $15,000 one? A ¥200,000 client and ¥2 million client? Absolutely nothing.
Clients are wonderful creatures, the love blood of our industry and we should treasure them. Yes, they pay our bills, but the relationship between service providers and clientele goes so much deeper than that and is often very complex. To produce something truly great involves a huge amount of trust, mutual respect and a shared vision. Underpinning all of this though is budget.
Some agencies charge a lot, some not so much, some clients have huge budgets, others smaller but, no matter what, regardless of how much a client pays they will always still expect:
- excellent service
- quick responses
- tangible results
- iterations, alterations and tweaks
- complete satisfaction
We can all agree on deliverables and tailor functionality to cater to budget but something no one is ever willing to compromise on is service. No one ever willing accepted poor service as a result of a small budget – they still expect to be treated well, to a high degree of satisfaction and rightly so. No one goes to Ikea and accepts poor service as a result of their low prices. Same goes for McDonald’s. Even though you’re only paying £2 for a hamburger, you’d still complain if it took 20 minutes to arrive or didn’t taste as you expected. It doesn’t matter how much you pay for something, quality of service is irrelevant.
even though you’re only paying £2 for a hamburger, you’d still complain if it took 20 minutes to arrive or didn’t taste as you expected
Thus, when working in an industry where time is money, compromising on budget can be risky and hugely detrimental if you’re not prepared to accept that your client will still need stellar service. You can push back on scope creep, influence timescales and guide design decisions and functionality all based on budget but you can’t just shut down account management or start paying less attention to someone because they’re not paying as much as another guy. Doing so is not only aggravating to your client but potentially harmful to your business as a result.
So what’s my point to this article? I guess it’s that even the smallest client matters and that they deserve and require as much attention as anyone else you work with. And, perhaps more importantly, is to make sure that you charge enough in the first place and have a proper budget with enough time in to be able to provide the quality of service your clients expect without becoming frustrated or resentful. After all, having happy and satisfied clients is most important aspect to any service oriented business.
Photo credit: Lars Plougmann