I can understand how depressing it is when your client comes up with an unfair revision request. What you need to remember is losing your temper is not an option. You can’t reply your client with the questionable vocabulary or tone he/she is using for you. You need to be polite – but that does not mean you are supposed to accept every revision request. My years of experience with clients have taught me some tactics to turn down such revision requests without making my client feel bad. I am sharing five of these priceless tactics that have helped me deal with many stubborn clients in the past without hurting their big egos. I am sure they’ll work for you as well.
1. Ask Them For The Specifics
Do not pay heed to general critical comments like “This is not what I was looking for,” “I can’t stand it,” or “It looks fine but it seems to be missing something.” Clients often come up with such messages because, being a layman, they can’t figure out exactly what is not in line with their requirements or why they can’t stand it or what is precisely missing. You’d have to ask them specific questions to decipher their message. It’ll help you spot the particular elements to be revised instead of being confused what’s wrong in the entire work. Also, there are chances, and it has happened several times with me, that when the customer fails to find something in particular to be revised he gets convinced that the work is fine and needs no revision at all.
2. Explain The Rationale
Being a professional, you must have reasons for everything you do on a client’s project. When your customers request for some change, explain to them why and how the change can be damaging to their business. Do some research and give them facts to back your claims. Keep in mind that you are the expert and your client, whether expressing or not, is aware of it. Giving factual reasons will not only save you from the revision but will also improve your image in the eyes of your client.
3. Make Them See It Was Their Idea Not Yours
Some clients keep on changing their mind and giving new instructions for revising the concept every time you send them the work. To avoid revisions from these troublesome clients, all you need to do is to show them what they requested in the first place. Quote their design brief and messages (This is why e-mail is the best way to communicate with a client). Stand your ground and make them see you have just done what they themselves asked you for. Of course, they can’t deny their own words, and will have to accept the problem is not in your work but in their demands.
4. Speak Their Language
Clients have a mindset different from yours. Put yourself in the client’s shoes and learn their language. Keep their objectives in mind – not yours – tell them how your work can help them achieve their targets. Use vocabulary they are familiar with so they can more easily understand your point of view. For instance, if you are a logo designer never tell your clients that their revision requests can affect the white space setting or orientation of design, tell them that it can affect its branding message or may lose them some customers.
5. The Last Tactic – A Tricky One
Okay, now you have tried all possible ways but no tactic worked for you. It’s time to turn to the very last trick – write a message to your client that you’re ending your business relationship with him/her. Yes, that’s what I mean: fire your client.
But, before trying this out, make sure that you have already made all efforts and have spent considerable time in trying to satisfy your client. Also, you don’t need to worsen your relationship with your client by making complaints about his/her behavior. Just write a clear and concise message explaining the reasons why you can’t continue the project. Give professional reasons and don’t let the emotions burn bridges. Your client might understand his/her mistakes, come back with an apology or a solution and ultimately you’d end up completing the project with success. In case the client never comes back, you aren’t losing anything. Your time is precious and you can’t spend your whole life making an ever-complaining client happy.