Did you ever wonder how you should treat your client when they are a friend first?
My guess is the initial response would be that you would treat your friend the exact same way, maybe even better.
That may be the initial thought, but it’s not always what happens. Let’s face it, sometimes friends and family can be our hardest clients because they expect a lot with a small price tag. But that too is not always the case. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes easy to place our friends and family on the back-burner. I mean, they like us, so they will wait or always be a customer, right?
If this has crept into your head at one time or another, then I challenge you to rethink it. Friends are your customers too! They are schedules and priorities, just as you do.
I ran into this not to long ago myself. I have a designer that I have been friends with for a very long time. There was a time when she would design things for me long before she was “official”. She ended up taking a position in the corporate world and was no long able to freelance. That was when I reached out to a client of mine to see if possibly she was interested. And she was!
I loved (still love) my new designer. She goes over and above and is the only one I have trusted since having my friend designed for me.
Shit happened. Not between myself and my new designer, but life happened for my friend and she reached out to me because she was going to try to build her design business again.
UGH! The internal battle of loyalty set it. You know what I’m talking about. When you have a great relationship with your current designer and feel guilty for using your friend and on the other hand…you love your friend but feel guilty leaving your current designer. However, friendships are friendships and I made the decision to go back.
Or at least I tried.
I was completely upfront with my current designer and luckily she understood my position and how I was torn.
When a project came up, I decided to reach out to my friend. We set up a time to get together to work on it, but she had to reschedule.
We tried it again and she had to cancel.
I’m all about giving the benefit of doubt, so I tried a few more times. Finally I made a decision. I was going to try one more time. IF the appointment that I would let her set was cancelled, pushed back or rescheduled, I would go back to the designer that was there before for me.
My fingers were crossed that the appointment was kept. It really was. I was secretly hoping she would follow through this time.
But…an hour and a half before the appointment I got a text asking to push it back an hour. ( I didn’t respond because I had not looked at my phone yet)
Ten minutes after that, I got a text saying that she had something important to do and that she would call when she was done running her errands. I’m guessing it may have taken her longer than anticipated.
I responded with a text explaining not to worry about it and to do what she needed.
Side note: I’m meeting my “new” designer in a few hours to work on this project.
My point is, friends and family are customers too. Treat them as such. There are several people who do what you do and are just as good. Always deliver A plus service regardless who it is that you are working with.