We've all had bad, good and great clients. What sets them apart?
I think it's more about the relationship than about the client. A great client for you can be a nightmare for me.
Other than that, there are some basics: a great client gives you material (texts, photos,...) on time and in a convenient format, he shows up at meetings, he pays you on time,...
This is spot on. A great client is nurtured into becoming a great client. Your job as a designer/agency is also to educate them on for example the web design process.
They hire you for your expertise and have trust that you will use it.
To me it's:
- being friendly, approachable and open-minded people
open to the interaction being a relationship, not servitude
understanding the value of the contributions we can make to the project and compromises they may have to make
having enough budget to warrant the time to do things properly and appreciating that investment
- paying invoices on time
- being willing to refer you to other potential and equally great clients
I think one thing to consider here is that, sometimes, ‘people who don't understand design’ and ‘people who are difficult to work with’ get unfairly grouped together.
In the case of the former, if a client is frustrating because they, for example, send image assets embedded in a Word document – yes, that's a problem but it isn't (necessarily) their job to know about hi-res images and a designer’s workflow. A bit of friendly instruction and this problem should disappear. That, to me, isn't a bad client.
In that sense, being friendly and enthusiastic goes a lot further than having the perfect understanding of the project from the start.
Someone with shared vision, passion and values.