I try to be a great client. I want to pay my invoices on time. I want to be flexible, fun, and easy to work with. I try to think about all of the things I’d want as a business owner from my ideal client, and try to be that person.

But sometimes, I’m not.

I give, what I get

When I have a vendor or service that I use, where my time is respected, my individuality acknowledged, and my problems treated as important, I’m an amazing customer.

When what I bought is the same as what someone sold me, I’m thrilled.

When a company puts people over policies, and customer service over their short term gains, I’m elated and loyal.

When those things don’t happen, I am a full-on nightmare.

I try my hardest never to enter this state, but it does happen.

When I call your company, and I get a voicemail system that requires me to wade through 15 minutes of voice and button prompts, I will steadily get angrier and angrier.

When I consult the help or support section of your website only to not find my answer, see abandoned forums, or get redirected into an infinite loop, my blood pressure rises and I begin to boil.

This is when I go bananas and start ranting on Twitter. It’s what happens when I feel helpless and trapped inside of an awful customer experience. I’m a child throwing a tantrum.

What kind of client do you want?

After I’m done thinking about myself as the client, I think of myself as a business owner. What type of clients am I getting and what type of customer experience am I providing?

Once I started doing this, I started getting amazing clients. Every one of my clients has been amazing so far. They are exactly the types of companies and people I want to be working with. Part of this is how much thinking I’ve done to try and make working with me easy, fun, and valuable.

So here’s the lesson…

As a business…

If you want to get better clients, start being a better business.

If your clients are acting out and getting angry, put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself why they might be angry.

As a client…

If you’re not being a great client, can you really expect the business to put up with your nonsense, just because you’re a client?

But at the same time, if the business isn’t treating you right, do you need to be a good little customer and take their abuse and/or negligence?

Let’s all try to be better businesses and clients. Wouldn’t that be nice?

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