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I know...I always have "odd" issues...

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  #1  
Old 10-21-2007, 03:34 PM
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grafx grafx is offline
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I know...I always have "odd" issues...

How do you tell a client in a nice why that you are a retoucher, not a personal assistant?

1.) They were notified in the beginning that my average turn-around is 2 weeks
2.) They know I have other clients and I juggle "first come, first serve" unless a rush is being paid for.
3.) They also know I work a full time job in addition to moonlighting in retouching.
4.) They are also being given a tremendous discount for the amount of time I am spending with them.

BUT:
1.) They send me numerous emails daily, call me while I'm at my day job.
2.) Insist that I "talk" to them via messenger while retouching for them
3.) Demand more even when I deliver photos earlier than the 2 weeks turn around.
4.) Do not understand that I can only work within the limits of the original photograph. (garbage in, garbage out)
5.) Get upset when I don't make contact with them within hours of an email or phone call, even after I tell them I am very busy and I will be in/out throughout the day.

I'm getting aggravated, but I don't really want to lose this client. I like the type of retouching I'm doing, but I just cannot deal with maintenance that is being demanded. Did I mention, that I am also tutoring in the basics of photography?

Advice?
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  #2  
Old 10-21-2007, 06:13 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Re: I know...I always have "odd" issues...

You can't "train" your clients. It sounds like this might be just a hidden cost to doing business with this one.
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Old 10-21-2007, 08:44 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Re: I know...I always have "odd" issues...

Just a few random thoughts:

Tell them every time you have to talk to them, it adds at least another hour to the amount of time it takes to complete the job.

"2.) They know I have other clients and I juggle "first come, first serve" unless a rush is being paid for." Why did you tell them this? How you run your business is your business not theirs.

"I'm getting aggravated, but I don't really want to lose this client." I have faced the same problem. But it appears that you cannot have one without the other. Most likely you will not be able to change their attitude without losing the work.

Remember that it is your business, you run it and you get to set the rules. If they do not want to play by those rules you have the choice of putting up with them and hating it or you can tell them to go somewhere else (called firing the client).
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Old 10-21-2007, 09:32 PM
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0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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Re: I know...I always have "odd" issues...

Just some thoughts from an Old Retired Bald Guy,

It sounds like you simply have a mind-set of respect and accountability where you do what you say you're going to do for the customer by empathizing with the customers, providing excellent service, understanding their concerns, and letting them know you care. It is your personal interaction that builds relationships, encourages repeat business, and gets the customer telling their friends about you. When someone gets treated like that, the interaction will be effective, efficient, and they'll have a more positive feeling about you, and the work you provided as a whole.

By going that extra mile, I think you have already trained your client by complying to their every whim and demonstrating that you can give them whatever they want, whenever they want. You have shown that you are conformable. You have been consistent and have shown that you are perfectly accordant with their requests. Why should they expect anything less from you? You have kept them as happy as you can.

Most customers are worthy of listening to, because they don’t know or care about all the intricacies and procedures of the job, they just want the work done properly for as little $$$ as possible.

1. As the client, they should let the experts do their job and keep out of the way. That's what they are paying for, after all!

2. As a business person, it's important to hold firm and argue against your client to ensure you deliver the best possible results, if that's what you believe in. To do anything less wouldn't be in the client's best interests.

Clients are usually in the same spot as we are, wanting the most bang for the buck or getting as much as we can for as cheap as we can and eventually attaining a win-win situation.

There are times in business when someone fails to live up to a win-win business commitment. It’s important in business to know when to accept a client and when to quit a client. Usually, if you have an unreasonable customer, they have you pinched so tight that you aren’t making money or enjoying your work and that’s not a relationship you want to have.

You have to weigh the cost of doing business against the cost of the relationship. Managing business relations — often gets back-burnered and, unfortunately, the relationship usually ends up getting burned.

Sometimes the cost isn’t always measured in dollars and cents. If a customer is picky and quick to complain or requires an extra amount of labor above and beyond normal business practices, it may not be worth the investment of time and resources. Other factors to weigh include late payments and if they treat you with disrespect. There are times when an in-ordinate amount of time spent on a client isn’t worth it. Sometimes, you need to let the client go. The energy spent on problem clients could be better spent on someone else.

Now finally to your question, "How do you tell a client in a nice why that you are a retoucher, not a personal assistant?"

In any case, try to solve the problem personally before dissolving the relationship. Have a one-on-one meeting with the client to fully explain the problem, "you are a retoucher, not a personal assistant," and offer suggestions on how to fix the issues. Look at the situation from your customer’s perspective and in a face-to-face meeting discuss the problems with your client. It is crucial for both sides to communicate their concerns. In your case, let them know that you can no longer put up with the behaviors as depicted at the beginning of this thread.

Don’t drop them one, two, three. Do everything to remedy the situation. Find the root cause.

If the situation can be worked out, then the client will more than likely be grateful, because they probably are already getting the best pricing for the services you offer. Strong communication between you and your customer will demonstrate commitment and dedication. However, the customer has to be open to resolving your concerns about the account.

If you decide to end a business relationship, don’t stop providing services right away. Instead, give the client time to find a replacement (if they can). Show some consideration to prevent damaging your reputation or the client’s business. You don’t want other clients to hear about bad relations. You don’t want other clients to know you didn’t try everything you could. Treat everyone with respect as you would expect everyone to treat you with respect.

Finally, remember this as a lesson.. to avoid the shaky moments in a business relationship, address any problems early on. Don’t wait until situations get to the point of no return. Voicing concerns from the start can keep a relationship healthy and productive. And healthy, productive business relationships can have a dramatic effect on the your bottom line and sanity.

If you go the extra mile.. they expect the extra mile as a given..
If you go the extra mile AGAIN,.. they expect TWO miles as normal!
ETC., Etc...

Hope everything works out well for you!

Last edited by 0lBaldy; 10-21-2007 at 09:45 PM.
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2007, 11:17 AM
Cassidy Cassidy is offline
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Re: I know...I always have "odd" issues...

I've been caught on this one too, you need to set defined limits and not budge from them, extra input = extra money and make it known, hip pocket speaks best, dont be too contactable either, many a love job often turns into a pain in the a, don't let it turn into a love job in the first place. Unfortunately you have to be tough, else you'll be married to it without consent or will have adopted another child

Last edited by Cassidy; 10-22-2007 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 10-22-2007, 11:35 AM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Re: I know...I always have "odd" issues...

A couple of careers ago I ran a small b/w custom lab. The work was good, and clients were coming on board, but I was having way too much trouble getting paid. After some investigating it finally dawned on me that I wasn't getting clients due to my quality (it was great quality, but there were competitors that also offered great quality) or price (I deliberately aimed at the mid/high price range), or service (again, there were competitors that were much faster, though I personally felt it compromised their quality). No, it turns out my primary draw was a weak credit checking system. So I was basically getting the customers that had been shut off by my competitors for slow payment.

So after all my careful planning, market research, stringent quality control, etc., I discovered that my customers paid late because that's the real reason they were my customers. As soon as I implemented stronger policies, the majority of my clients left, most of those left oweing me money.

Tellingly, almost all of those went to the same new company, an even younger company that had made the same error I did.

So you might actually have gotten the job because you'll tolerate his behavior. I'm not saying that's the case, just a possibility.
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Old 10-22-2007, 04:19 PM
ktg222 ktg222 is offline
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Re: I know...I always have "odd" issues...

Because of your situation with a full-time job and tutoring in photography and the amount of time you can devote to your retouching moonlighting, you may not have the time for a demanding client. You will have to decide whether you can work with them.

I have been in business over 30 years in photography, film and video production. There are, unfortunately, clients that one has to let go for a variety of reasons---just like Doug testifies. You may not have the time to spend with someone this demanding. And they may not be able to use a retouching service that can only be available "after hours" and cannot turn around a short time-line project and be available when they need help. You can either work with them or you can't. They can work with you or they can't.

I would caution that the frustration of this situation can and will effect the quality of your output with them; if it hasn't already. One cannot be angry at a client and serve them well.

I currently have a client not that dissimilar to yours. I have to decide whether it is worth it to me to service a demanding client. Last week, at a pre-production meeting to go over the images, the client gave me a big hug as I approached the table. I must be doing something right; I decided to hang in there for awhile longer.

k
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Old 11-12-2007, 03:20 PM
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grafx grafx is offline
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Re: I know...I always have "odd" issues...

Update!

I think everyone was right. I implemented firmer rules and boundaries (included a "no you cannot call/email me everyday, "no I will not teach you how to use photoshop" and finally a moderate rate increase). The photographer threw a fit. They have went as far as demanding that I not use any of the work I completed in my portfolio (They want to take the credit for it). I have the emailed agreement that allows use in my port. I offered to send it to them for their records and I was called a F-ing B*tch.

Nice.

My head hurts.
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:21 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Re: I know...I always have "odd" issues...

Quote:
Originally Posted by grafx View Post
Update!

I think everyone was right. I implemented firmer rules and boundaries (included a "no you cannot call/email me everyday, "no I will not teach you how to use photoshop" and finally a moderate rate increase). The photographer threw a fit. They have went as far as demanding that I not use any of the work I completed in my portfolio (They want to take the credit for it). I have the emailed agreement that allows use in my port. I offered to send it to them for their records and I was called a F-ing B*tch.

Nice.

My head hurts.
At my studio, calling me names like that means that you have just fired yourself as one of my customers. And I would sever all ties to them, if they treat you like that, how do they treat their own customers? You do not need any of their actions to come back on you.
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:57 PM
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0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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Re: I know...I always have "odd" issues...

I hope this finds you enjoying your newly found free time..

Here is wishing you the best in finding a new client relationship where they understand and respect that your endeavors during your OFF time are NOT your eight hour or more Primary job, at this time anyway..

It is not "Odd" to want to enjoy our leisure activities..

Good Luck in all your future Relationships..

May they all be pleasant and Prosperous..
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