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Unfriendly demanding client with zero personality

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Old 04-09-2014, 05:08 PM
Shoku Shoku is offline
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Re: Unfriendly demanding client with zero personal

Originally Posted by shift studio View Post
why is everyone making excuses for this a$$hole! He sounds like an "Unfriendly demanding client with zero personality"

--Shift Studio.
Sometimes it's good to give people the benefit of doubt when it comes to remote communication.

Person #1 complains about person #2, and who knows, Person #2 may feel the same way about person #1.

Best thing to do in any relationship is to tactfully mention your concerns. If they come back like a jerk then your complaints are more than justified.
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Old 04-11-2014, 06:31 AM
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Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Re: Unfriendly demanding client with zero personal

I'm guessing that some are familiar with this site, but I was just informed of it. Puts problems like the one mentioned here into a certain perspective. You don't know either to laugh or cry or spit.
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Old 04-11-2014, 01:19 PM
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Repairman Repairman is offline
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Re: Unfriendly demanding client with zero personal

Here you go - a client to avoid. I'd like to do one of these for retouchers. Don't view if you're offended by strong language !
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:30 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Unfriendly demanding client with zero personal

Originally Posted by Repairman View Post
Here you go - a client to avoid. I'd like to do one of these for retouchers. Don't view if you're offended by strong language !
There's a simpler way. Just grow a beard. Then everyone will look up to you.
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Old 04-23-2014, 05:18 PM
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Nanls Nanls is offline
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Re: Unfriendly demanding client with zero personal

Originally Posted by FCP View Post
Any thought on how to handle this?
If he pays you, just ignore it! ;-) I have clients much like that.
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Old 04-23-2014, 08:33 PM
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seattle-light seattle-light is offline
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Re: Unfriendly demanding client with zero personal

I'm late in posting on this, but I have a few thoughts.

There's a waterbed effect. People who are good at one thing are often not very good at another. Some people are good at math and science but have no skills in communication. Some people are great at photography but terrible at retouching and vice versa. Some people are social animals, while others haveno social skills at all.

Repeat business and being your biggest customer are probably better forms of expressing appreciation than being gregarious but needling you on price and then taking forever to pay. He might just be thinking of you as a vendor. I know a lot of photographers who turn off their social skills when they're not interacting with a client or a subject at a shoot.

After a long day of shooting and sorting through takes, photographers are usually pretty frazzled and have lots of little things to take care of to get everything lined up for the just-finished shoot and for the upcoming shoot. Lots of logistics and details and equipment to deal with.

On a related subject, I worked with a guy in an ad agency who had terrible social skills. Everybody made fun of him behind his back calling him "stinky" or imitating his annoying nervous habits. I kind of felt sorry for him and didn't want to join in the teasing game. At that point, I didn't really like him, but I didn't think he deserved to be bullied.

He turned out to be a really nice guy who was under a great deal of pressure to perform in an impossible set of circumstances. When he was fired, he got a better job at another agency and called upon me regularly and ended up being one of my best clients for over ten years (until he retired). Don't be too quick to judge people on their social skills. Try to find a way to appreciate people's worth and to understand their limitations.

Don't ask "How come you're always such an asshole?" Tell him how much you like retouching his images, and ask him how he's doing. If he thinks you like his work and you initiate a bit of social interaction he might deal with you as a person.

Is his work generally with people or images of buildings and products?

But he may see retouching as just another vendor relationship, like getting film developed in the old days.

If you like the business and can do something to help make his work better and at the same time enjoy the work itself, then it's not a big deal to put up with his abrupt/succinct/taciturn communication style. You're not getting married, so it doesn't need to be a lovefest (not that a marriage needs to be a lovefest). Some of my favorite people in the world are socially stunted (and probably me too at times). I have a client that I call Rainman because of his inability to form a sentence -- an absolutely inspired photographer with the personality of a nervous soapdish.

If your client's work sucks, and it makes you unhappy to work on it, and the pay is crap, then you have real reasons to be looking for other better clients, so that you'll be too busy to work with him. In the end, we'd all prefer to work with people we like.

I once had a client who I didn't like working with at all, and at the same time I had a colleague who really grated on my nerves. In a busy time, I passed off the client I didn't like to the colleague that I didn't like -- and they got along famously. To this day, I'm still getting holiday cards from him thanking me for helping him to make that connection. Everyone has a soul mate.

You don't need to become close friends to have a good working relationship.

At a certain level, I thought they kind of deserved each other. But looking back on it I'm thinking maybe I was the problem in the mix. I was able to do the work needed, but I was never able to really appreciate the client. Sometimes it's just a matter of being a bad fit. And they turned out to be a great fit.

Hope this is helpful.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:01 PM
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John Wheeler John Wheeler is offline
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Re: Unfriendly demanding client with zero personal

Hi FCP - I am late to the game on this one too. Here are some thoughts

- Separate out the issue of clear communication from pleasant communication. If there is not clear communication limiting doing a good job focus on fixing that. If the discussion is just mildly rude that might be just the personality of the client. Focus on doing a good job that you are happy with and that retains the client (unless you can afford to dump them).

- Focus on developing new big or high volume clients so you are not dependent on one that is annoying to you and that you have more work then you know what to do with. This puts you in a sellers market position.

- With the last bullet in place, you can establish an "ASAP rate" where the costs compensate you to work with this particular client and not get so bent out of shape where they get priority handling (jump to the head of some queue). Just be prepared to lose that client which if you are overloaded would not create as much angst for you. If they value your work. If they really need it ASAP and value your work they will pay for it. If they really don't need it ASAP and still value your work you can use the work to fill out your schedule. If they really need it ASAP and don't want to pay premium scheduling rates they will go elsewhere and you continue on feeling your were fair and reasonable with that client (you don't get bad press) and have moved on to better clients.


Just for grins here are some other types of rates that I don't think would be effective

- The "monotone client" rate

- The "no thank you" rate

- The "I am going to hang up without saying goodbye" rate

- the "rude client" rate

- The "unrealistic expectations" rate

- The "no please" rate


Those are fun to think about yet of course not practicle

When I finally got to the position where I was willing to lose my job/client, I always made sure the the payment for the job (aka the resources applied) where commensurate with the requested scope and schedule. Then I just played the Gumby roll (yes that ancient flexible cartoon character). I would let my boss/client know that of course I am flexible to do the job of make changes to the job quickly followed by the business discussion of when it could be done or how much more it would cost to divert or add resources to get the job done. You would not believe how empowering that feels to be in the drivers seat and all based on standard business practices and also being fair and reasonable. It's often called managing upwards. I suggest if you are not in a position to manage bosses/clients that way, it is well worth the investment to get to that point.

All just my opinion of course.
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Old 05-11-2014, 11:26 AM
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paulafrog paulafrog is offline
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Re: Unfriendly demanding client with zero personal

I had one of these, my largest client. I put up with it for a bout a year his extreme yelling at me over the phone. He barely new how to use a computer and I was using InDesign and tried explaining many many times that his quick changes or not so on my end.

The last straw was when he ended up moving a few pages and in-turn moved half the layout to new pages and the headers weren't right then and this was 3 hours before deadline, I had been working on it 12 hour days for 3 days. Mean while he was sending me new pages to create from scratch so it was so hard to get the work done. So when he asked how long is it going to be, he imploded with large amounts of yelling and proceeded to tell me that most graphic designers only need 1 day to do the job (a 104 page magazine with 6 covers and a couple different back pages) I had most all done an saved. I just had enough --I couldn't take it any more --and I didn't --I finished up that magazine and sent a really good resignation letter with everything included on how I felt about his un-professionalism.
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Old 05-12-2014, 01:56 AM
AhmedR AhmedR is offline
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Re: Unfriendly demanding client with zero personal

A customer or client is always right- that is what should be motto. However if pain is more than gain, it is better to disengage politely. Life is too short!
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Old 06-17-2014, 11:23 AM
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Little Fisher Little Fisher is offline
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Re: Unfriendly demanding client with zero personal

You can put less effort into pleasantries... as long as you do the work he wants and are getting paid for the work in full, and expectations remain realistic. You don't have to be best-buds.
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