This post is the second in a series on pet peeves.
What do you do when a client refuses to follow professional advice? Do you get angry? Do you drop the client? Or is it more complicated than that? You make the call.
Here are three real life examples from my career:
The Short-Term Client
The short-term client hired me to write a biography for his website. He provided me with the current version as well as some additional information and his instructions.
When the project was completed, he complained it wasn’t in biography format. There is no such thing as biography format, which I pointed out to him. He also kept insisting on being called Mister in biography, even though this hasn’t been standard journalistic practice for most publications for decades. Generally, people are referred to by full name on first reference and their last name thereafter, although, online, being referred to by first one’s first name is increasingly becoming the standard.
How did I handle it? Changes were made to the scope of the project after it was completed. I would not make any changes without being paid for the additional work, and the client refused to pay until the changes were made. It was a stalemate and never proceeded further. I made significant changes to the way I present pricing and quotes to potential clients after that experience.
The Stable Long-Term Client
The stable, long-term client has been providing me with work for years. I was asked to edit all website copy that had been written by someone else prior to our contract commencing. This was time consuming, and I had a sense of accomplishment when it was finished. Later, I went back to the site and discovered two of the paragraphs I had rewritten had been changed back to the original wording. This client is an English as a second language client so the changes were noticeable.
How did I handle it? I was mystified – this had never happened before or since – and a little upset because of the time I spent on the project. However, I let it slide because of the otherwise good rapport I have with this client.
The micromanager had questioned nearly everything I did because that was her personality type. She also had a habit of adding sentences and paragraphs into blog posts I’d written. This would be fine – it is her blog after all – except her additions were full of grammatical and punctuation errors. It was very easy to tell the posts were written by two authors.
How did I handle it? To avoid an argument, I did not bring up the topic to my client. Instead, I went and edited the new material after it published to ensure clarity and flow with the rest of the post.
How do you handle a client or customer who refuses to listen?
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