Every designer has run into “that” client. The one who dissects every aspect of your work and asks you to change the same thing a dozen times. It’s as if there’s no way to please them.
They can be incredibly difficult to deal with. In some cases, you may be tempted to fire them altogether. This seemingly endless cycle of revisions is bad for your mental health and bottom line.
In the short term, it’s pure madness. You spend too much of your time trying to mollify one client while other projects fall by the wayside. Who would want to be stuck in this kind of situation?
We hear you! However, it’s not all bad news. There are some big-picture benefits of working with picky clients. Today, we’ll explore a few things you can gain from an otherwise-frustrating experience.
An Eye for Detail
In web design, sometimes we take the path of least resistance. When pressed for time, it’s easy to forego a certain feature because it requires too much effort.
That can make sense in low-budget projects. In those cases, you have to dedicate your resources to the most important things. For example, it’s wiser to focus on making your designs accessible and responsive, rather than focusing on a fancy CSS hover effect.
But it’s often those little details that make a website stand out. Things like microinteractions, spacing, and typography are game-changers. They can turn a ho-hum user experience into something compelling.
Oddly enough, it can take a client who focuses on the minutia to make us aware of this. It teaches you to approach design differently. You’ll find that what may look “just fine” on the surface could be made that much better with a little extra creativity.
This is something you can carry along throughout every project. And, even if you don’t think a client will consciously notice the effort, do it anyway. You’ll know it’s there.
Improved Communication Skills
If there’s one thing that picky clients understand, it’s the need for communication. That’s not to say they’re gifted experts. But they do know the importance of staying in touch to keep a project going.
And it’s an area that can be challenging for many designers. Some of us are more reactive than proactive, in that we assume everything’s fine until we hear otherwise.
These clients can teach us a couple of important lessons when it comes to communicating. The first is that unleashing a barrage of emails or phone calls isn’t a good strategy. It tends to make the recipient want to hide.
The second is that we need an adequate amount of client feedback. The information we gather helps to inform the design and build processes. Without it, we’re left to guessing games about what a client wants. This can lead us down the wrong path.
Thus, solid communication skills are a must. And working with picky clients is one way to improve them. You’ll learn to stay in touch regularly, ask the right questions, and effectively explain your design decisions.
More Keen Judgement
Whether or not you find the experience to be a joyful one, working with a picky client will give you plenty of insight. You’ll see what makes them tick, along with any warning signs you may have missed in the early stages of the relationship.
The benefit here is that you’ll start to become more perceptive about people and projects. That could be all the difference in avoiding undesirable situations.
And that doesn’t only apply to choosy clients. It also helps you spot bad ideas, shady characters, and projects that don’t fit your niche.
On the other hand, it provides some clues on how to work smarter. Learning, for instance, how to address potential issues before they become major problems. Or protecting yourself from scope creep.
These are incredibly valuable lessons – ones that will save you countless headaches.
Picky Clients Serve a Bigger Purpose
Sooner or later, we all run into a client who challenges our every move (and our patience). They don’t make it easy on us. But they also offer an opportunity to learn.
Without these clients, we may not pay quite enough attention to detail. And our communication skills could be stuck in neutral. Worst of all, our awareness of what makes a good client or project might not be as sharp.
Yes, there are challenges. Producing a successful outcome may feel more like an act of survival than an accomplishment. But beyond those struggles is valuable real-life experience. That’s something that can serve us long into the future.