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Customer Isn't always right - providing great service in the digital industy

 

The client always comes first…
but isn’t always right.

Our job is often to create something new almost every day. I am not always sure that customers or even those around us appreciate how difficult it can be to create something from nothing nearly every hour of every day of your life.

For us, as artists, that can be both thrilling and terrifying all at the same time, and it can also be draining.

One thing is certain is that designers, writers, videographers and producers all inherently attempt to make something great each time. And that too can be as much trouble as it is worth sometimes.

Especially when those for which you are making things for (we’ll call them clients) are often not necessarily trained nor geared to think or do what we do.

Now this article is not to place us on some pedestal, nor to belittle clients, after all what we do exists 99% of the time solely for you, but it is an article designed to offer some perspective and perhaps seek to help clients better understand the process we go through for you.

So let’s role play here a little:

  • You’re a client and you need a logo, a brochure, a video or something…
  • You brief your designer, now there are a few key phrases we hear almost daily:
    • “I’m not looking for anything fancy”
    • “Don’t spend too much time on it”
    • “I need it quickly”

Each of these phrases is the beginning of the exact same process, effort and compromise as someone saying, “really make it awesome, invest as much time as you can in getting the right result, but the deadline is X”… You see the only real difference is the mentality the client brings to brief, because from this point on a client’s expectation is generally the same, but ironically, the one who suggests any of those first phrases I mentioned, are likely to be the most difficult client to deal with.

Why?

There are a couple of key reasons, the phrases themselves reflect a lack of appreciation of the time, effort and inherent skill the designer and design process entails. It also generally shows a lack of genuine personal investment in the achievement of the outcome which is distinctly different from their desire for the outcome itself.

When a designer (or, a design firm, or agency) present a client with something or a range of options, one of the most difficult aspects of our job is the flippancy for which customers either dismiss ideas, overlook the thinking that went into the work or again underestimate the skill that went into its creation.

Now, I am not insinuating that we are always right, but at the same time I am insulating that customers aren’t either.

If we have selected a certain image, or left s p a c e in a design it’s generally a considered approach to a design problem, it has been worked on and tested in all matter of ways to get to the end result – a result that attempts to blend the aesthetic requirements of the task with the need to showcase and clearly display or convey information.

Now all the words in the world can succinctly showcase my point so I thought these short videos might help.

Don’t get me wrong, you are the client and your opinion matters, but if the logo is a certain size, or the designer has left space for words to breath, it is not some sort of attempt to frustrate you, but rather it is years of education, thousands of hours working at their craft and an eye for aesthetics that make them specialists in their field being provided to you as part of their service to you.

As a designer, they will always put you first, a business we will always do the same, but the creation of all the work we do, we are always open to suggestions, but before you make them, take some time and consider if your feedback reflects the best interests of the project and if it may go against the approach your design or agency partner has put forwards with the best interests of your project, your message and your audience.

Enjoy the videos.

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Written By: Michael Menzies