When Tripp Co. Creative was formed, we did so with three priorities in mind — doing great work, treating people really well, and exceeding client expectations. I also made a decision early on that we would never work for bad people. They run rampid in our business and we all know them. We aren’t talking about clients that many agencies bitch about. Tight deadlines are part of the biz. Weird requests come with the job. We are talking about abusive, nasty people. Let me give you a real-life example.
We had a freelancer working with us on a pretty major account (for a small firm). The client contact started out much like any client does – eager, fun, chatty, etc. Everything was going swimmingly.
The freelancer was conversing direct with the client and I was allowed to focus on other projects. Little by little the demands of the client were getting more and more aggressive. She was sending pages of extensive changes (including redesigns and additions) and demanding them back in shorter and shorter time frames. Her treatment of people here was becoming more and more loathsome. It was getting to the point where we were going to fail no matter how hard we tried.
The final straw came when the freelancer had to rush to the hospital due to one of her parents having a stroke. The client called the freelancer at 8 a.m. that morning and emailed four new designs and massive changes that she wanted back by noon (the work was easily 9 to 10 hours of work). Of course the freelancer did not call her back right away due to the situation with her parent. The freelancer got the message around 10 a.m., called her back and explained the circumstances. The client proceeded to ream her for not answering her call that morning and then told her “next time you need to find someone else go to the hospital so you can be there when I need you.”
WHAT? How dare you tell someone the life of a parent is less important than changes to some marketing materials. I will say it here and say it now… WHAT WE DO IS NOT LIFE AND DEATH! No one is going to die if an ad goes out an hour late. No one will lose their life if a brochure goes to the printer a day late. Don’t get me wrong. We make every effort to meet deadlines, but when someone’s life literally hangs in the balance, how dare she lessen that life and rank its importance below a brochure. The parent died a few weeks later.
That’s what WE mean by bad people. Needless to say, I demanded she apologize to the freelancer (which she refused to do) and we resigned the account. It is never easy to let an account go, but I knew in my heart that a continued relationship with her was not possible. I no longer respected her and she obviously didn’t respect us. Sadly, this client is not unusual. There are many out there and there are many agency leaders that would let their team be abused and mistreated— all in the name of getting that check… hell I’ve worked for those agencies!
I firmly believe in sticking to the principles on which this company was founded and I will go to bat to defend them… and my team. I sincerely believe that it was a good decision to resign the business and that we will gain more work by staying true to our core beliefs than we will if we had just swept them under the rug.
And, just to go on record, all of our other clients are truly a joy to work with and are the epitome of the type of clients I hoped to have when we started out.