Dealing with clients from hell

Dealing with clients from hell

No matter what you do, if you’re creative or if you’re a business owner, you will come in contact with people. Hopefully at some point those will turn into users/customers (I’ll just call them clients) and they’ll come back over and over again.

In one of the previous posts I wrote about how at one point in my life I though of people being like ants, each enveloped into their own world. That’s actually not far from the truth. Humans are of course not ants, but we do live in our little worlds, and we do have different experiences of the world, which make us respond to other people in different ways.

As designers or business owners we are the ones that have to make our clients a priority. Everything we do is for them. We try to satisfy their wishes, needs, and demands. No matter what.

Now, let’s be honest. We have great clients, and we also have a not-so-great clients. We even have websites that prove that. Like the website Clients from hell. Sure, at first it’s really funny, but…

Let’s forget the fact that half of those “clients from hell” just don’t know better. How could they? Are you a specialist for everything? For me that tells more about the people posting there, then it does about the people those posts describe. It tells that they weren’t taught, that someone failed at explaining what we do… Those clients are probably experts in their own field. And the field they are experts in is usually the one we know very little of.

So if we forget about those clients and just focus on the ones that merrily give us “crap”, there is a personal trait that will help you survive every meeting and every project.


Empathy is an ability to understand, identify, or even experience, another person’s feelings, thoughts, or attitudes.

I don’t want to make this post into a long post of me talking about empathy. I want you to experience it.

Think of a client. Any client. If you have a particularly “bad” client, think of her/him. Have one in mind? Now, watch the video below.

Think of your client again. Would you talk to that client differently now? How would you treat him? Did your perspective change? Did your feeling toward that client change?

Mine sure did. Every singe time I did this exercise.

Your clients are people that live in their own little worlds. They each have a story. Have this in mind whenever you meet a “bad” client. And you know what, think of that also when you have an amazing client. They are in one way or another sharing a part of their story with you.

Try being emphatic. Instead of blaming, criticizing, and rolling your eyes, try to understand. The world and the work we do, becomes so much easier when we do.

Until next time … think of people’ stories,

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