How to Piss off a Client in 3 Easy Steps

At Hand Crank Films, we like to pride ourselves on the level of systems that we’re integrating into the company to assure everything arrives on time, on budget, and is a great piece of work. But there’s an old Yiddish saying that perhaps states it best:

“You want to make God laugh? Tell her your plans.”

Just recently, we had a project go sideways due to what I’ll call the trifecta of perfect storms: mediocre communication, a team that had been working too hard, and some technology failures. These three things combined led to a first round product that was, frankly, well below our standards – and the result was a deeply concerned client who literally said “is this the same company that I hired?”

Click below for the only three words that matter when you #$&! up:

So what did we do? We were quick to acknowledge the mistake, empathize with the client, and take a step back. This allowed us to come up with a new game plan that, yes, required us to bend over backwards – but in the end we got the project back on track.

But we’re not out of the woods by any means. The client has every right to wonder if this will happen again. When you make a mistake, it certainly dings your brand. Credibility that’s taken years to build up can be wiped away in a matter of minutes. But it also can be a great opportunity if you accept accountability, buck up, and get the job done.

We may never work with this client again. That would be a shame but we can’t always control that. But what we can control (mostly) is the output of what we do, help solve problems, and move past the bumps in the road with the best grace possible. That’s the most important brand equity of all, and a great learning moment if you can do it right.

That’s the goal anyway. But I hear God laughing now…..