Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How do you treat your one-off clients?


In an ideal world, a creative in the marketing/advertising space lives in a sort of Lake Wobegon of clients--everyone's smart, loyal, pays well and has above-average products and services for you to work with. Alas, we don't live in that world.

So I think back to a day on my cross-country drive, somewhere in Nowheresville, Texas. I'd stopped at a little diner for gas and lunch, and was astounded by the friendliness of the crew--big smiles and hearty howdoyoudos as if I were a long-lost cousin whom they'd been expecting all along. The chicken sandwich, fried okra, and shake were splendid.

Realistically, though, what's the business benefit to acting like that? I have to imagine 99.99% of their traffic is from passers-through who'll never be back, and who couldn't possibly offer word-of-mouth benefits.

Anyway, my reason for bringing it up is that they taught me a simple, elegant lesson that stuck with me: Even a one-off client is worth your best effort, just for the sheer principle of the matter. I feel obligated to pass this little diner's story along. Maybe that's why they do it.

The photo is our dog, Bagheera, posing in the wee hours in front of the trailer we towed from Phoenix to Fredericton. I bought it from a farrier, but have since removed the upper lettering so that it reads "Experienced * Dependable"...because I'd be unable to shoe someone's horse if asked.

7 comments:

  1. Jake, you do good work. I am so jealous and envious of your myriad abilities. Pretty good to make me a proud brother from another country.

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  2. Thanks for the kind words, man. But I still ain't gonna trim your horse's hooves, OK?

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  3. How about a three year old's attitude?

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  4. Just wait till he's a teen...

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  5. Would be interested in your thoughts on treating clients like gold in terms of services provided, and then having to deal with slow payments, underpayments, etc. Many freelancers in the Phoenix market are running into client issues.....

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  6. Absolutely. Do the right thing because it's the RIGHT thing. I'm not a religious chick, but seems to me every industry would be better off if the Golden Rule was the ONLY rule! PS I like your dog.

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  7. I agree 100% with adchick. Treat people well because it's the right thing to do--it's the human thing to do. We all get annoyed and pissed off at people from time to time, but showing a smile and saying please and thank you costs nothing, although it sure makes someone a nice person.

    If advertising treats clients according to potential income, then shame on the agency. I've seen what goes around eventually come around, and it was a mighty nice day, lemme tell you.

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