Defensive Design for the Web: How To Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points
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When I speak at design conferences I’m almost always asked this question: “How do you deal with bad clients? How do you make them get it?” My answer is always “We don’t work with bad clients.”
And I don’t use that to squirm out of an answer. I mean it. Who you work with is your choice and has a huge impact on your happiness, productivity, quality, and the future of your business.
Working with the right clients is absolutely critical. The trick is knowing when to say no. The wrong client can kill morale, force good employees out, and cost you big opportunities. Working with the right client isn’t work at all — it’s a pleasure.
Saying Yes or No to a client is a business decision just like any other business decision you have to make. Should we rent this space or that space? Should we buy this computer or that computer? Should we host on a virtual server or a dedicated server? Should I hire this person or not?
And that last point is critical: Should I hire this person or not? Just replace person with client and you’ll start to see the connection. Even though a client is really hiring you, in many ways you’re hiring them right back. You have to work with them. In many ways your future is tied to their performance. The relationship is tighter than you may think.
Would you just hire anyone because you needed help? Even someone that you can’t stand being around? Even someone that doesn’t have the skills to get the job done? If no, then why would you just take any job? Even a job you can’t stand doing. Even a job that won’t let you flex your skills. Even a job that will embarass you when it’s all over. What’s the point? To stay in business just so you can take on another job that you don’t want to take on?
So, give as much thought to the clients you work with as the people you hire and the spending decisions you make. You’ll be better off in the long run because of it. Don’t sell yourself short — you can find the clients you want and the clients that want you.