Treating different clients differently

November 02, 2015

Parenting books will tell us that we should learn to observe the uniqueness of each of our children, appreciate their differences and adapt our parenting style to suit each child individually.

This same philosophy can apply to the way we treat our clients. Your "client" is not only the faceless company who pays your invoices. Your client is the one or more people within that company that you deal with on a one-to-one basis. Employing a one-size-fits-all approach to client service just isn't going to get the pay-off that you would hope for.

For example, you really like building client relationships via phone calls. You enjoy the interaction, the immediacy of response and the warm fuzzies you feel after finishing the call. Your main client also appreciates being kept up-to-date via a phone call, so you've made the easy assumption that phone calling is the best and most logical way to keep in touch with all of your clients.

You take on a new client and promptly make a call to her mobile. You get a voice message which goes something like "please don't leave a message because I won't answer it. If you need to get in touch, please send me an email or text." Hmmm.

How about your client who seems to get annoyed each time you speak with him on the phone. You think he's just an unpleasant person to deal with, until one day he tells you, "you know, I really don't have time to talk with people on the phone. Can you just please email me? If I need to, I will call you back when it's convenient." Your theory about phone calling just opened the window and flew away.

It's really important to get to know each of your clients as well as you possibly can. Here are some important points to remember:

  • Your clients are not the same as you. They won't think like you. They won't act or make decisions like you.
  • They won't think, act or make decisions like each other either.
  • They all have preferred ways of doing business.
  • Their creative tastes are different.
  • They all demand something different of you.
  • Their business-drivers and needs are different.
  • They offer differing amounts of value to your agency.

And that is precisely what makes the world of client service so exciting! No two clients are the same.

We can use our past experiences to form a framework of how to approach clients and projects, but the way we fill in that framework needs to be different each time. The business of advertising and design is the antithesis of cookie-cutter solutions...or at least it should be!

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