Horror Stories of Design Clients and their Solutions

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I need my dose of laughter at the weekend and my friends know that, so they keep sending me funny stuff on the internet. Today I received a link for this site. I found nice funny stories and experiences of IT professionals when they had to deal with stupid clients. Very stupid I might add!

The stories were very funny alright but while reading them, an idea flashed in my head. These kinds of clients are destined for all the designers and they are the reason why we consume so much aspirin. So why shouldn’t I write an article with those funnies and tell you the tackling methods.

Before the design story, you’ll see the username of the person who shared his story. After that I’ll write the solution. Let’s begin…

Saying no to Clients

Image Stolen from Official Documentation Tips for Design and IT Business Owners

by peterp

Telephone call received this morning:

Caller : “Hello, can you tell me how much a website would cost?”

Me: “Well that depends on what type of website it is you require and how involved it would be. Could you tell me a little about what the purpose of the website would be and your business/company?”

Caller : “I want a website that would be on the internet. I didn’t know there were different places? What do you mean?”

Me : “I understand that sir, but would you want to sell goods online, or use it purely to promote your company without selling products or services on the internet, for example?”

Caller : “Oh I don’t understand, forget it.”

He then hung up.

SOLUTION

By “forget it” he meant you should forget it that a client called you. Let me tell you something, these clients can pay you a double fee if you are able to provide them the appropriate support, and they are not stupid at all, they just don’t know how internet works. So never ever talk in bookish language and technical terms. For example if was talking to him, my reply would have been something like this.

Me: “Well Sir! the normal website can me made in [price] but if you want a ‘big’ website, there are additional charges for that.”

Caller:  “What’s the difference in big websites?”

Me: “Normal website is like all your publicity brochures, catalogs and other advertising material in one place. A big website does has all of that but in a big website, people can order you from their home. It’s like your outlet on their home.”

You can see how I changed my terms. Technically I’m not sound but I nailed these clients and earned good.

by htcpto

We’ve come into the office this morning and were just starting to think about the week ahead when a client called and asked us the change a graphic on their website so that was ‘brighter’. When we said we’d try to look at it straight away they insisted we do it whilst they were on the phone. Not wanting to get into an argument we did so and pointed out to the client that the graphic was actually very bright already and fitted in with the rest of their website. They said it used to be bright, they agreed, but it was now very dull.

several minutes later when we’d managed to get to the bottom of the problem….they changed the brightness on their laptop back to what it had been before their 3 year had meddled with it and they’re now happy. God help us.

SOLUTION

The problem with this kind of clients is that they are having trouble when you desperately need some rest, on vacation or sleeping. So need to ruin your activity without making sure that the problem is not with the client’s PC.

by jamesDesign

Last week I was asked if it was possible to get visitors telephone numbers from Google Analytics. When I said it couldn’t be done the client said ‘what use is that?’. This same customer has previously asked me why they can’t see the CVV code of customer credit cards so they can charge them more if supplier prices go up in the time it takes since taking an order to shipping it.

SOLUTION

I should also remind you that it’s’ not just Google they find faults in, YOU are the first target. This is the only kind of clients that stumped me but I realized something after a couple of years of practice. If you give them brief to-the-point answers, they don’t leave. You’ll feel that they don’t like your tone but that’s the only way to deal with them. Trust me on this!

by BobTheBrum

One of our clients had an admin clerk who we had to train on how to use the website CMS. We spent hours repeating ourselves but the information just didn’t seem to be sinking in.

We finally went to see the senior contact at the client company when the clerk asked what time the Internet closed each day.

SOLUTION

When you face such a situation, it’s time to get your hands dirty. Try to avoid that you are the person calling the clerk’s administrator, it should be the clerk. Make him never ever to come again. You can teach him in heavy technical terms and teach him everything very quickly. They can’t bear being the idiot for many days, they’ll leave within a couple of days.

by peterp

One of our clients must be a world record holder for questions that 2 year olds wouldn’t ask.

She has asked why the web won’t work when her broadband is down. She has also been known to ring up 5 or 6 times a day and demand to know why no one has placed an order on her website. Everytime she gets visitors she wants to know why they don’t all place an order. Telling her that her prices are three times more than her competitors doesn’t work.

Then we have today when she sent an email asking if we could answer her emails whilst she was on vacation because she paid us for hosting so she thought we would do this too.

If anyone wants her as a client, let me know.

SOLUTION

Just say a loud NO. If you say “Yes” to a stupid request, next time they’ll ask you if you can make them the president. Things don’t work like this.

by chris

Today I was asked what the ‘e’ in ‘e-mail’ stood for.

Despite the urge to say exciting, or elephant, or enormous, or elongated, or maybe even ‘exaggerated’, I resisted.

Instead I said ‘easy’. To which they replied ‘Oh yeah, of course it would be!’.

SOLUTION

Never ever tell them a false-fact. Sooner of later they will know the reality. They’ll either think that you don’t know or you fooled them. They will leave you and will become a hurdle to many clients coming your way. Never ever play with your clients, that’s what friends are for.

by orangecreme

Customer sent us as email, the contents of which are:

Hi,
Why hasn’t the news on my website been updated? We have a whole range of new products that I want mentioning in news but you’ve not written anything about them.
Thanks

Our answer was as follows:

Hi,

We don’t maintain your news content, it is entirely within your own control from the CMS. You have previously listed a variety of news items but seemed to stop doing so around Christmas 2010. If you’d like us to talk you through how to do this again, please just give us a call and we’d be happy to talk through it with you.

Their reply to the above was this:

Hi, thanks for that. I have never put any news on the website, you must have done it.

Our reply to this is:

Hi,

No, we have no maintenance contract in respect of administration or publication of news item, and we’ve never listed any news items on the site. We’ll give you a call to discuss.

Their reply, within about 60 seconds of the above, was:

Hi, sorry, you are right. I’ve realised it was my wife doing the news but she left me in January and hasnt been doing it since.

We haven’t replied to the last email. What do you say to that?!

No solution here, I just wanted to show you this 🙂

Conclusion

For us, these clients are stupid just like we are stupid for a space scientist. Our basic problem is that we are unable to speak their language. In my 5 years of experience as teacher, one reason students like me the most is that I tell them examples from their world, sports and films mostly. Just try to do the same.

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Comments
  1. krysten October 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Stories like this are funny when you know they happened to someone else. I’m sure my fellow freelancers can relate when I say it’s not nearly as funny when you’re living it. Frustrating, sure… irritating, definitely.

    If only we could give our clients a guide to working with freelancers before starting a project!

    1. Tayyab October 18, 2011 at 6:41 am

      Very well said @Krysten 🙂

  2. Explainafide October 18, 2011 at 3:58 am

    Four of my first 10 clients fitted the profile of the clients above. I’ve learnt to spot bad clients from a mile away.

    1. Tayyab October 18, 2011 at 6:33 am

      Hmm… So what do you do after spotting them??
      Our focus was to give everybody an idea for tackling them and earning from them.
      Thanks for commenting, your comments have suggested me to shift my focus from the intense business articles to these light humorous ones.

  3. Venus Brown October 18, 2011 at 5:28 am

    OH…these were really Funny.The clients many a times become hard to tolerate and digest.But they are our clients off course..So can’t help.

    We at Open Source Development are waiting for your next interesting post.

    1. Tayyab October 18, 2011 at 6:24 am

      Thank you miss brown. I think I’ll be back with another funny yet informative post in the next week.

  4. Johan October 18, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Im not much of a designer but I really enjoyed this post. Couldnt agree more with:
    “these clients are stupid just like we are stupid for a space scientist. Our basic problem is that we are unable to speak their language.”

    1. Tayyab October 18, 2011 at 6:26 am

      Thank you for the appreciation Johan!
      And you are dead right that we should feel for the clients as well. They can’t understand us also…

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