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g_urgeghe
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Difficult customer

Hi, what do you generally do when you have a customer with confused ideas that don't let you understand what he wants? I have to create a logo, the customer gave me a very generic briefing, with some styles that are not suited to his lettering. I have proposed several alternatives but his only comments are that we are far from what he would like. I try to kindly ask for his help to make me understand how to help him better, but he tells me to read again the brief and that I am the designer. I don't know how to go on anymore. I accept suggestions.

16 REPLIES 16
petra_r
Community Member


Giacomo U wrote:

I have to create a logo, the customer gave me a very generic briefing, with some styles that are not suited to his lettering.


So the client has poor taste. Give him what he wants, whether it offends your personal sense of esthetics or not. If he wants the styles he showed you with the lettering he has, let him have it.


That will either make him happy because he has no taste, or he'll become more open to your suggestions.

I agree with Petra.

I've had clients ask for things that don't make sense. They're the ones paying, though, and they can do whatever they like with their money. As long as I get paid for my work then so be it. Don't forget also that taste is subjective. They might LOVE something that you and I think is terrible. 

Usually if the customer insists, I satisfy even if he asks me for rubbish, I care about my mental health. His lettering is very long and used the kind of font he likes obviously we don't get the same result (he gave me examples with very short naming). I try to him understand that we need to find alternative but now I'm in quicksand. He doesn't help me in any way to make me understand what he would like, hi ask only something awesome ... more or less like "I would like an epic logo like  nike"

Ugh. If a customer gives me a generic brief, then I'll insist on asking questions until I have a detailed brief - it's the only way to avoid feedback like "make it pop" or "it needs more of a WOW factor".

 

If I were you, I'd do a Skype call or chat and ask him about his business strategy and target market until he starts speaking in complete sentences. 

 


Petra R wrote:


So the client has poor taste. Give him what he wants, whether it offends your personal sense of esthetics or not. If he wants the styles he showed you with the lettering he has, let him have it.


That will either make him happy because he has no taste, or he'll become more open to your suggestions.


Yes, First send him/her the design you made and then send him the design  that you made according to his direction.

Sometimes, clients don't agree untill they don't realize that they are wrong and the freelancer is right. After comparing both He will choose what he really wants.

Once I told my client that the design will not look good if I will add his concept. he didn't understand, so I changed the design. Then he said you were Right & I was wrong. After that he always says you can choose whatever layout, design or image you think is best for the (said project).

 

I did something very similar to what he asked me, his comment "too feminine". I tried another alternative on his indication "too bold". Then I tried different alternatives ... I don't think he has clear ideas, he can't explain what he wants. I ask him at least to show or describe me a style that he likes,  and he replies that he doesn't know how to draw and that the designer is me.

I proceed with a moodboard and ask him where we can start, find an aesthetic line he likes ... even if honestly I would like to close the contract

Did you discuss in advance how many concepts and revisions were included (assuming that this is a fixed price contract)?

Yes, I usually offer 3 versions but rarely when between 3 versions I see the customer not convinced I offer other free.  almost never happens to me to find these difficulties with the client ... I am stubborn and generally want the client to be always satisfied. But this project is tiring me

I see two potential explanations that do not presume client incompetence. First, your English is excellent and far better than my Italian; is it possible that the client's native language isn't either English or Italian? Second, I have all the visual abilities of a corpse. When requesting something visual, I tell the freelancer I have to rely on his or her visual skills. The client may not have the requisite visual skills to do any better, and he's doing the best he can.

Hi Bill, thanks for your comment. The customer is a native English speaker, there is no misunderstanding between us. I think he's just confused and doesn't know what he wants. He just tells me he wants his logo to look like big brand names in his field. I tried to get closer to what he wanted and then offer my own alternatives, nothing to do. Another thing that makes me laugh is that sometimes customers come up with examples of big brands, asking you for something similar (costing hundreds of dollars) with ridiculous budgets : /

Confused customer = hourly contract 


Bill H wrote:

When requesting something visual, I tell the freelancer I have to rely on his or her visual skills. The client may not have the requisite visual skills to do any better, and he's doing the best he can.


The problem isn't when a client says that they'll rely on the designer's visual skills (that would be my dream client!); the problem is when clients expect you to read their minds.

 

If I were faced with a situation like this, I'd tell the client that I'll be happy to continue creating multiple options until they see something that they like, but they'll have to switch to an hourly contract. If that doesn't suit them, then I would apologise and politely say that it seems like I'm not the right designer for the project, and ask for a reduced payment to settle up and close the contract so that they can hire somebody else. I know that it's hard to give up, but sometimes it's necessary to save your sanity.

 

Thanks for your suggestion Christine, it might just be my case. Give me an example of reduced pay that you would ask for. When do you propose the customer how he reacts?


Giacomo U wrote:

Thanks for your suggestion Christine, it might just be my case. Give me an example of reduced pay that you would ask for. When do you propose the customer how he reacts?


Yes, it's tricky, and it would also depend on whether your client is 'merely' dissatisfied or whether he's also getting angry/irritated/frustrated as well. I would say that I'm sorry I wasn't able to come up with the right design for him, but I hope that he received some value from the process and that now at least he'll have a few ideas to discuss with the next designer. (I mean, now he knows what he DOESN'T want, right?) Then ask him what he thinks is a fair price for your time and efforts, and say that you'll refund the rest.

 

Obviously, this is only my opinion and I'm sure that others will jump in and say that you should hold out for the full amount and go through the dispute/arbitration process, if necessary. But personally, I would never be comfortable charging full price to an unhappy client.

 

For what it's worth, I think that you've got one of the best portfolios that I've ever seen on Upwork. Your client must be crazy if you've done multiple options and he doesn't like any of them! ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Christine, your advice is awesome, I don't want to charge the cost, I just want a small remuneration for not closing the contract without remuneration (it could hurt my jss). I am so sorry that the customer is not satisfied, I really care a lot to see them satisfied. Thank you very much for your compliment! I'm really glad you like my portfolio ๐Ÿ™‚
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