We’ve all heard the adage that the client is always right. Of course, I think anyone who has worked customer service know that’s not true. Clients are wrong all of the time. In fact, they may be wrong more often than they’re right. The truth is there’s going to be a day in every relationship, good or bad, where you just don’t see eye to eye. The more experienced you become, in fact, the more frustrating the experience often is. You have a way you want to do things, and you have more distinct expectations about how things are supposed to be.
I just got an album request a couple weeks ago about retouching that had me pulling hairs out. Not because it was such an incredible amount of work that it couldn’t be done, but, simply that the requests were ridiculous. And there were so many of them. My knee jerk reaction was “forget it!” But, of course, I don’t listen to my knee jerk reactions, because my knee is often a jerk.
The real question to ask isn’t whether the client is right. That’s irrelevant, and it’s not going to stop the consternation. The question to ask is what you can do both to resolve the problem and prevent it from happening in the future. To some extent, you’re always going to get requests that will be frustrating, but, ridiculous requests can often be nipped in the bud. The fact that these problems arise should be setting off warning bells telling you to look at your business. Dig into the plumbing of your process and how you work with clients. Are you keeping them in the loop? Are you informing them ahead of time? Find out what’s causing their reactions.
As a business owner, who cares who’s right and who’s wrong? If it happens, take responsibility for yourself, use it to improve, and make the best of it. And be damn sure you have the happiest clients around. So, yeah, maybe clients are right after all.