Plenty of web designers are consummate professionals who strive to do the best for their clients and provide excellent service. These are designers who rightly have pride in their work and love what they do. Then, unfortunately, you also have the other side of the equation: designers who don’t care about making their clients happy, and therefore don’t provide good service. These are designers whose standards are poor.
Worse yet, from the client’s perspective, you can’t really weed out who’s who until you’ve hired your designer and have worked with him or her for a period of time. Sadly, by then, if it’s a designer with low standards, it’s already too late.
1) Delay your first draft
To make your client begin to doubt whether he should have chosen you as his designer, start to really take your sweet time with your mockups as you set off the development process in earnest. If you’d really like to sugar coat it, keep giving your client excessively optimistic estimates about getting the project done in just a matter of weeks.
Go from ensuring your client that you’re highly excited to get the site design or redesign project underway, to taking several weeks before you email him your first mockups of the new design iteration. Then, to add insult to injury, drag your feet just a little bit longer when your client asks (and know that he’ll always ask) you for some tweaks and minor changes to the initial mockup you sent over.
2) Re-prioritise your schedule
Now that you’ve planted the seeds of doubt in your client’s head, you’re well on your way to getting fired.
If the project you were contracted for should last through holidays like Christmas, be sure to neglect the project for the entirety of the holidays. After all, your priorities during festive seasons should be on things like recreation and hanging out with your friends or family. Never mind the fact that your client already paid you a hefty retainer…which you’re already using.
Then, perhaps because you’ve experienced a small pang of guilt, finally send your client an update email raising his hopes that maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to get the project done by the holiday’s end. Of course, to stay consistent with your plan to drive off your client in anger, make sure that you break this promise, too, as it was only ever false hope anyway!
3) Make the site live with blatant errors
When my old designer finally had a “finished” version of my old site ready to go live, approximately four months after the project began, he presented me with a site that had obvious problems that he apparently didn’t notice. That’s because he couldn’t have cared less. If he would’ve given his final creation at least the once-over, he would’ve noticed glaring issues like:
- broken links;
- images with uneven borders;
- lack of responsive design.
Plus, my email at my then-new URL wasn’t working at all, even though we agreed that it was part of his job to set it up.
By now, your client will understand completely that you were the wrong designer with whom to go. You’ve delayed the project numerous times; gone way beyond the earlier estimates of how long the project’s duration would take; been unresponsive in communication; and, to top it all off, presented your client with a sub-par work that needs significant corrections.
Hold on, though. If you think that’s the worst that designers can do, think again. There’s still one final action that you can take to absolutely ensure that your client will be completely upset with you and never return (not to mention, probably give negative recommendations about you).
4) Refuse to correct the problems
By now, you’ve very likely angered your client, and he’s likely not to come back to you for anything. To put the final nail in the coffin of your professional relationship with your client, simply never reply to his emails or text messages asking you to fix the glaring problems with the finished site. It doesn’t matter if the contract you and your client signed, as well as follow-up emails, expressly stated that you’d handle minor revisions. Just go for broke at this point!
5) Overpromise, then under-deliver
Needless to say, after my old designer finally did what he was supposed to do, and got paid for it beforehand, too, he wasn’t going to work with me anymore. I cut contact with him right after that and began looking for a new web designer/developer in 2014. Thankfully, I did find a highly talented and extremely professional designer in late 2014. My current site design is his great work. He’ll also maintain my site through the years, as well as handle any necessary site updates to respond to SEO concerns going forward.
Looking back on this nightmarish experience that really tested my patience on so many levels, I can say that my old designer’s problem was overpromising to put my mind at ease and hook me in—and then completely under-delivering on so many occasions. To put it into perspective, my old designer took about four months for a redesign while my new designer took a couple of weeks. The difference between the two is work ethic (or lack thereof) and pride in one’s work (or lack thereof).
In conclusion, just follow all the steps my old designer took if you want to provoke your clients and drive them away for good. I’m sure that, after you do that to enough clients, you won’t have a viable design business for long.
Featured image, fired image via Shutterstock.