Over the last few months I have seen in social media a hideous trend where some businesses use "memes" to make fun of what they consider a terrible client. And I must admit, some of them are really funny and very relatable. But how would you feel if, for instance, your favourite shop posted on their social media an experience that they had with you and made fun of you as a customer? Would you ever go back to that shop again? No. So why are your clients less worthy of respect?
Don't bite the hand that feeds you. As businesses we depend on our clients for survival. Without them we wouldn't exist. And disrespecting clients, specially in tough situations, sends the wrong message to the rest of your current and potential customers. If you don't believe me, ask United Airlines. And I am not trying to be clichéd here and preach that "the client is always right" because I don't believe that either. Sometimes the client is wrong. But they deserve respect, and if you feel the need to tell them that they are mistaken, do it in a positive way where you both get something out of it. In the end, like it or not, we need them more than they need us: they can easily go somewhere else to look for the service that you offer and they will find it better, different, cheaper or just about the same but with a better customer experience.
If you find yourself catering for clients that continuously drive you insane, it's not their fault: it's yours. Maybe it's time to think about changing your strategy: try raising your prices to filter who can afford your services, or try changing target markets and attract a different type of client. But in the meantime, suck it up! At least you have clients! And if you don't want them, I am pretty sure that there is a long cue of businesses that would happily take them.
Remember: you are a business, but you are also a client. Don't treat your clients like you don't want your suppliers to treat you. Everyone deserves respect. It's basic human decency.
Photo credit: taken during one of the Freelancers Club's masterclasses.
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