Be A Good Client

   by Edward    10 Comments  →

Coming from someone who makes a living out of the service industry, how could I make such a self-centered statement?

“Be a good client you say? How ’bout you be a good vendor?”

Well, it is a bold statement to make, but why do I write it anyway? Because I know that being a good client and getting the best out of your vendor is always related. Always.

The common acceptable way of thinking is that when we pay someone good money to do a service, they need to have a hard time doing it. The designer needs to have a lot of revisions before they can get away with it. The masseuse needs to be sweating hard. And the photographer needs to wake up at 4 am. After all that money we pay them, they better feel some pain.

The common acceptable way of thinking is that when we pay someone good money to do a service, they need to have a hard time doing it.

But the truth, as I think everybody already knows but always failed to admit it, is that people will do a better job when they are having a great time doing it. Professionals will deliver great results, whatever attitude the client brings to the table, but if we want great results+++, then we need to do something on our part.

I wrote this post down because lately I have been exposed to this two very different clientele. Those who I presumed determined to make my days a living torture, and those who got me thinking, “Heck, I’m getting paid to do this?”

I got my share of difficult clients (if anybody say they never got one, they are lying. Sorry.) – experiences that I would rather not share in detail as it would be taken as finger pointing. But I also had some great-great experiences. One client checked me into one of the best hotel in town. Another one was making sure I had very satisfying meals when I was there. The other was acting completely loose and authentically goofy while we take the prewedding shots (never had the photographer laugh more than the client than that one time). And those who are just good, kind hearted, very easy to work with clients.

And you know what? I took darn better pictures with the latter group. Way better. My juices were flowing, the atmosphere was so relaxing you can see it in the pictures. I get to ‘see’ more, and willing to try new things more. New things are good things in the creative industry, in case you haven’t noticed :D

Being a good client is never about the money.

Being a good client is never about the money, regardless my mentions about the great hotel and food. It is more about trust, attitude, and being a person that people will enjoy to work with. If people like you and love you, they will go the extra mile for you. This is not just about wedding photos, it’s about everything. Now take one minute break, close your eyes and imagine your best client, people that need your service, whatever your line of work is. People that trust you, care for you, loveable, easy going and making it very easy for you to work with. It doesn’t matter if you are an accountant, shopkeeper, tailor, factory manager, whatever. Got those people on your mind? Wouldn’t you give them your best? Don’t you just love working with them, giving them your best? Longer hours, extra work, more efforts, greater results.

Close your eyes and imagine your best clients. Wouldn’t you give them your best?

My own take being a good client myself? Lots. But take this example here. I go through airports a lot. And I meet a lot of people before I finally sat on my seat on the plane. The check-in lady. The fiscal-free officer. The immigration guy. The security personnel. I know that my trip will be depended on each of those guys. In each of these stops, I always try to be a good client. I greet them, “Good morning Sir”, or, “Good evening Miss”. I put my bag on the scale one at a time, patiently waiting them to instruct me to put on the next one (they hate it when you don’t). I prepare my passport on the photo page, cover taken off, with the boarding pass facing them for easy reading, no flipping pages necessary. I put all my metal object in the carry-on bag on security screenings so the scanner won’t beep. And I smile a lot.

As a result? My trips have been minimized of bad experiences. They tend to smile back, give me a great seat, do a quick service, and turn a blind eye to my overweight baggages (I really like that last one there).

Countless times have I heard fellow vendors say that they have worked their asses off because the client is so great and loveable and ‘they deserve to get the best’.

I know there’s a danger in writing this post that some people might consider me as a egoistical snobbish brat, but really, the truth is that I want you my readers, presumably soon to be wed couples, can get the best experience and the best result in preparing and having your wedding. Countless times have I heard fellow vendors say that they have worked their asses off because the client is so great and loveable and ‘they deserved to get the best’. I know if they can, they would shout it from the rooftops, “Be like this client here!!! I will work hard for youuu!!!” Successful vendors, meaning they are the good ones at what they do, doesn’t need the money. Or to put it more fairly, money comes second, because they have *enough* clients. So when experiencing some bad clients, they say to me all the time, “I wish I could just return my fee and get it over with.” They prefer to have less profit but produce amazing results and have a good time, than getting more but feeling dreaded all the way through. Me myself included :D

Couple of weeks ago in our first meeting of 2010, we closed with a prayer that asked the Good Lord not to bless us with lots and lots of clients. We asked only just enough clients, but great ones, those that we could have good memories with, those that we would gladly give our best.

I hope you are the ones we asked for.


PS: I’ve drawn a little diagram to sum the essence of this post. As they say, a picture is worth a 889 words blogpost.


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  • @rini3pujiastuti

    Puasss banget cekikikan pas baca kalimat ini : ”Those who I presumed determined to make my days a living torture”

    I get you, Sir.

  • renny.halim

    hi edward,
    it was really nice to met you last week, and sure, hope to see you again soon!
    after our last meeting, i got so curious about your tripm and then i keep on reading on your blog, interesting :D especially this post, hahahaha… i’m sooo agreeee with you! keep on posting :D

  • Hendra

    Hahaha, I feel u my man… I do soo feel the same way like u just posted, it’s nicely written, wish this perspective can educates ppl…. :)

    Thanks for sharing :)



  • 3c

    i also working in the service industry,for bridal,and i through the same experiences with you..
    anyway,thanks God i read your blog..because sometimes i got very exhausted with my clients,just want to give up and never meet them again :P
    but i got some strength when i read your blog..its a bless!
    many thankss and God bless you! :D

  • sibebi

    Really like this post!

  • Ferry & Jane

    Nice and very edifying, bro. We had a great time while back when working with you and the band during pre-wed & Wed. Good food, good laugh & nice journey. All that will become one of the best memories knowing such a great time, great friends happened in our life. Raising starrr, Ed! :D

  • ms-loveridge

    good thinking and very well written! :) totally agree.
    when i want a quality work done, i chose people who love what they do and let them work their magic… and it works! :)

  • Kitine

    Love the closing line! spot on.

    It’s appalling to know nowadays clients still have the “master-slave” mentality (ok maybe not that strong… but still…) The mere idea of people thinking that they pay, therefore they have the right to squeeze everything out of you is just simply obnoxious.

    From a client’s side, we also do not want to trust our most important day to someone who merely works for the money, instead, we want someone who does it for the love of it.

    Copying you, I (also) hope your team is the one we asked for :)

    Please remind me of this post if I later become one of those bridezillas! *wink*

  • Roy Irawan

    I get what u mean brother…since I’m doing the music, some clients consider that our part is less-important (in a Wedding Party), they really push me hard, especially on the price…It’s not that I can’t give them a discount or something, but come on man, Having a Big Party at the most expensive hotel in Town, it’s non-sense…and they already payed the hotel like what…1/2 a bill IDR? Not to mention the hard times they’ve given us (the Vendors)…It’s just sometimes not Worth it…
    In the other hand, Clients that believe in us & understand the importance of music to bring the Atmosphere of their most important Event of their lives turned out to get the best performance from us…
    Well, keep the fire’s burning bro…U are doing a great job!!!
    For the Clients, when you’ve chosen a vendor (especially professional & experienced ones), believe in them…
    Trust me, we will do the best we can do to make your day Super Special..after all, Your Happiness is also ours….
    God Bless U all…

  • Kenny

    Bravo, Edward! Always enjoy your thoughts. One of my favorite posts you’ve written.