Working on WordPress websites and blogs will give you a fair idea of the different types of clients that exist out there. In your career as a web designer, you’ll have to encounter and build relationships with different types of WordPress clients. Some will give you a bad time, some you’ll form a lasting bond with. Let’s have a look at the different types of clients that exist and how best to manage each type:
The ‘in a rush’ client
Contrary to what their name suggests, these people aren’t really in an actual rush. They only want you to be always there for them, available at a moment’s notice when they’ve eventually decided on what they want from you, how you need to go about it etc. Mostly, people who claim to be in a rush are inherently anxious personalities and lack clarity on what they want from their WordPress designer. As the old adage goes, they’d like to see you spin gold from straw. They want the perfect website, done in the shortest time possible.
They are also unaware of the research and work they have to do on their part to build a website. They are secretive about their goals, what they’d want their website to say, their competitors etc. They expect you to deliver as soon as they have made their mind up.
Ideally, you shouldn’t guarantee a timeline to such clients. You could promise to speed things up as much as you can. Let them know their homework for the website. When they realize things aren’t going to move forward unless they do their bit, reality will set in and they’ll get a sense of things. Usually, these clients will take quite a lot of time.
When they have finally sent you their part of the work, they’ll try to rush you through. However, don’t be anxious and focus on doing your best.
Let them know, in no uncertain terms, that if you are rushed, a sub standard product could be delivered. Quality takes time. Always keep in mind that you are not to blame if they delay their project. Focus on doing your part and make your timeline clear.
The ‘can we change this a 100 times’ client
This is one of the most common types of clients. In fact, each client has a little of this kind of client hidden in them. This client will want everything just perfect. They’ll ask you to make several modifications in the colour, layout and so on. They have a really tough time making decisions. In short, they waste a lot of your time.
In order to tackle this client, don’t give him too many options. Present a couple of options for them to choose from. The more options you present, the more indecisive this client gets. Ask them their specific needs and deliver your part of the job. This is the trick most sales people swear by.
Also, don’t be casual and generous with change requests. Let them know it takes time and energy to modify designs. Ensure that he understands he has only one chance to make his requirement clear and that extra requests would cost them money.
The ‘I will make you rich’ client
Sometimes you will come across clients who have an immensely high opinion of their ideas and their path in life. They’ll casually ask you to give them a discount because you’re about to get pretty rich when your link will be on their site. Stay far away from these clients.
Ask yourself why an able, profit-motivated businessman deserves a discount that is typically reserved for non profits. These people will do anything but make you rich. They are not going to appreciate your hard work, because they simply don’t see the profit in paying for it. If they knew what it takes to get rich, they’d appreciate hard work in the first place.
Since you have a business of your own to build, you shouldn’t go around doing ‘discounts’. Some of these clients will tell you they don’t mind paying for your services if it’s going to get them more money later or something like they have contacts in the industry and would refer you to a lot of them. However, only people with real businesses do that and more often than not, they pay you for your effort.
You should handle these clients by making it clear that you have minimum standards when it comes to prices and you’re going to stick with them. You must also let them know that your focus is on doing your job well, and not entertaining thoughts of riches in the vague, distant future.
Don’t be rude but don’t be too generous. Stay professional.
The ‘can we have this and that’ client
This client hasn’t the slightest clue as to what goes into the making of a website. He’ll often say he wants something simple, but what he really wants is far from simple. They’ll present you with a whole list of tasks to be done and then go on to tell you how it’s really simple. So what do you say to this client? You tell them it’s certainly possible, but it’s only a matter of cost. Then let them know the real costs involved, down to the last dollar. Another important thing to let this client know is that when the scale of the project gets large, it slows down while if you take it in tiny pieces, the overall efficiency improves.
When it comes to WordPress, it’s possible to add frills and extras later on. While it’s a good idea to plan for the future, trivialities like forums and extensions shouldn’t affect the real work.
Some clients will insist they want the frills early on in the project. They’ll be ready to pay you fair wage since they are the ones who’ll be experienced in the field and know what it costs to get what they are looking for.
If you are certain you can handle a big project like that, go ahead. But, if you haven’t worked on something large before, tread with caution.
The ‘it’s cool, whatever’ client
These are one of the best clients to work with. They often end up with the best websites, since they follow the policy of minimal interference, letting expert developers do their job.
While they are great to work with, they could be too easygoing and laidback sometimes. You might need direction at times, to perform to the best of your abilities. If everything you do is pre-approved, it could potentially put a lot of pressure on you to take major decisions on the clients’ behalf.
However, it’s not that extreme usually. It boils down to honest, open communication. Hang on this client when you get hold of them. They are hard to find.
The ‘it’s not perfect’ client
These clients will ask you to fix and make changes to practically everything, all the time. There’s not much you can do once you’re engaged with these clients. But, you must try to gauge this propensity beforehand and prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
While perfection is excellent in web designing, web elements can’t be perfect all the time. They are dynamic and thus change. To tackle this kind of client, work on your imperfections till a reasonable point. Ask your client to officially review your work. Post this, close the project. Tell them you can’t be fixing little things forever.
This type of client is also likely to check their website on different browsers, on power save mode and with several variations. Then they’re likely to complain how the website looks different. To tackle such demands, try building responsive sites. Put a clause in your contract saying you will make efforts to standardize the website but can’t go on fixing things here and there.
The client who never reads anything
These clients don’t open their mails, don’t look at the examples you send across and try as you may to work out a solution to their problems, they just don’t have the patience for it. The best they can do is answer in a Yes or a No. They’re often confused about what they want, so they’ll find it difficult to answer your questions.
If you give them too much to read, they’ll get impatient and give it up altogether. To handle them, shorten your mails and feed them information in tiny chunks. Before proceeding with a task, get a clear green signal from them. Later, they might claim they aren’t pleased with your work and could possibly blame it on you when they were the ones who weren’t paying attention.
Another important thing is to make sure they appoint sensible, responsible people to make decisions on their behalf. These clients aren’t always a pain to work with. Since they don’t interfere too much, they can be easy to work with. Your focus should be on avoiding misunderstandings with them.
The ‘I know more than you’ client
These clients are assertive about their superior knowledge of your field. It usually is a result of having had some sort of an experience in the industry, on a similar job.
Or, this client might not claim they know more than you, but will do their research to make sure what you’re saying is true or to make sure you aren’t taking them for a ride. At times, they are so insistent on what they have learned or claim to know that they’ll start asking you to take actions that are inherently wrong.
To manage this client, be purely objective while you are communicating. Talk facts, numbers and substantiated data. Get appropriate case studies to prove your point and let the client know that you are knowledgeable when it comes to your field.
Be prepared for this client to underestimate your knowledge and effort. If they want you to do a project that you’re going to look back at with regret, choose to do what feels right. You could either drop the project completely or please the client and get paid for it.
Arguing with this client is going to be stressful. Always assert your expectations and knowledge.
The ‘missing in action’ client
This client will disappear on you. He initially seemed interested in getting a beautiful website and then maybe realized he didn’t have the time for it. So you’ve basically been abandoned.
He’ll show up months later and ask you to resume the project. Now this is a problem for a web designer because you are uncertain about the payment for the work you have already done and you’ll have to update the old work owing to the dynamic nature of the job. This essentially increases your workload.
The best way to handle this client is to lay down the period in the contract. State how long you are willing to have a dormant project before you can officially shut shop.
The ‘can you do this for me’ client
This client loves to add to your workload by constantly asking you to update your work. As simple as operating WordPress is, this client will not remember how to change links, put up blogs and so on and will ask you to do it for them. This should be a payable service but the client doesn’t treat it so.
If the client is constantly asking you for favours, especially when it is something you have already trained them to do, don’t take the ‘’I forgot how to do it’’ excuse. Let them know you’d be happy to help them remember, and this would come with a cost. Don’t give the impression that you work for free.
If you are always generous with your clients, they will keep adding to your work, without even paying for it. Keep in mind that time is a precious resource, especially if you are a freelancer and it must be used judiciously.
Moral of the article? Communication is the key to healthy professional relationships. Be clear about what you expect as compensation and ask your client to present a clear, specific view of what they are looking for.