Last time, we talked about ways video customers frustrate video producers (suppliers). This time, the tables are turned.
Here are ways to alienate your video clients (customers).
5. Don’t understand your client’s needs.
This is not to be confused with “end client” needs. The end client is the person or group your client represents. Let’s say the person you’re working with works in an in-house communications department. He answers to the head of PR. We know the head of PR wants a great “Welcome to Corpco” company overview. You’ve done your research and you know the points to be covered.
But your direct client- the guy in the communications or video department- has his own needs. Call them turn-ons. He may define a great video as one with slo-mo emotive pictures of faces, or fast paced aerial fly-overs. He likes smokey-voiced, female announcers. Well, as long as these don’t conflict with your vision or budget, you’re a fool not to include them as best you can.
Also remember the client’s unspoken needs- survival, promotions, bonuses and the corner office. (see the last article.)
4. Don’t communicate.
Clients don’t like surprises. If production dates are slipping because of late delivery of materials or approvals, you need to have the guts to tell your client. If it’s your fault, even more so.
3. Don’t show up.
I had a client many, may years ago that I grew to hate. He / she was a real screamer, who motivated by fear.
This was a big, prized account and we had a lot of deliverables for a big trade show- interactive kiosks, a major multimedia meeting show, and more. We delivered all of these on time and they were pretty nifty. The show traveled well, the trade show was a success, and that was that.
But the client had worn me out and totally demotivated me through bad attitude and poor interpersonal skills.
There was one show left, at company HQ, where the client would take a victory lap. The big multimedia show would be shown to the assembled masses- the internal people who had worked laboriously (under under the threat of verbal abuse) to make the project a success. It was expected that I would be there to show the show. But I was a writer / director, not the show’s programmer. If something went wrong I couldn’t fix it. Besides, it was Christmas week, I had a four year old at home, and I was running a company. At least those were my excuses. So I sent the guy who had traveled with the show instead.
The show crashed and no one could fix it.
Had I been there, I couldn’t have fixed it. But that didn’t matter. I wasn’t there, that was insulting to the client, and therefore it was all my fault.
And it was. For the money we had received, and despite the aggravation, I should have been there.
Always show up.
2. Don’t meet deadlines.
The key word is dead. You’re dead if you don’t, and so is the client. See point 1.
1. Don’t give it your all.
If you or someone on your team says “Close enough for government work,” fire them or yourself.
Producing video for major and emerging companies is a privilege, and one that’s harder and harder to obtain. Exceed your own expectations, surprise (positively) the client, and you’ll get hired again. Yes, it will take sleepless nights, Red Bull, coffee, junk food and sugar (well, maybe) but you will stay in business and that’s something in itself.
There are plenty of other things not to do, and you will learn them by doing them- once. This is a case where “lather, rinse, repeat” doesn’t help.