Who Pisses Your Clients Off More, You or Google?

Pissing Clients Off

OK, I suppose it was bound to happen one day.

You lost a client. And, no, you didn’t part ways in peace.

Here, let me remind you how it went.

It was a typical morning in the office. People were slowly arriving, one by one. The smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the air. Everyone was chatting, about nothing in particular really. Someone showed pictures from last night. Someone else sat down at their desk to check emails.

Then, your phone rang. Still not fully awaken you reluctantly moved to your desk, answered the call only to be greeted by a client cursing the heck out of you on the other end.

Sh*t!

Clients get easily irritated. Even the smallest thing can push them to dial your number to express it. Those reasons can truly be insignificant. Perhaps they misunderstood you. Or didn’t even listen carefully, missed what you said in your last report and now they are irritated by it. There might have been a technical malfunction on their end, yet they thought it was your fault.

Then there’s the industry itself. All the Google updates and all craze around changing keywords rankings, SERPs variations, lost keyword data and more can drive any clients nuts.

But, quite often it is you who is to blame. And, most of the time you don’t even realize how you keep on pissing them off, everyday.

1. You Make Small Promises You Don’t Intent to Keep

How often do you make a small promise only to please the client at the very moment, give them something that will show how much you care? Perhaps you promise to check their WordPress installation for something or see what could be causing some particular problem on a site.

All in all, it’s a tiny thing. You forgot about it almost right after you said it.

Unfortunately, clients remember those little promises and expect them to be done. You, however never even intented to work on them. Now you are irritated at being left with having to do something you have no intention on doing, and for free at that.

In the end you don’t do it. Or do a really quick job, thinking the client won’t notice.

Well, they do. And it pisses them off beyond belief when they realize what has happened (hint:they almost always do!)

2. You Create Problems Out Of Thin Air

Ever had a client roll their eyes when you mentioned a problem? Well, if you run to them whenever you stumble upon something weird in Analytics or GWT, then I am sure you have.

Here’s the thing with clients. They don’t care about problems. Most of the time, they don’t actually want to know about them.

Yet you might think that by showing them everything that’s happening with the site, you present yourself as busily working on their project.

The truth is however, that to clients, most of those small problems seem like out of thin air.

As a consultant your job is to solve problems. Your clients don’t have to know about tiny little development with their site. What they want to know is that everything is working and you are doing your job. Otherwise, you are wasting their time.

3. You Play The Blame Game

So your clients rankings sank, for one reason or another. But in the midst of the craze that follows, do you really think they care whose fault it was in the end? Perhaps it was Google, sure. It might have been you too. Or them, after all, they haven’t implemented all your recommendations, right?

Well, here’s the news, nobody cares. All your clients want to know is how and when this can be fixed.

You probably find it important to establish the guilty one first, ideally pushing the blame somewhere else. For a change though, next time you are in a difficult situation, instead of playing the blame game, try coming up with a plan of action and presenting it to client when you mention a problem.

Suddenly who’s to blame won’t matter anymore.

4. You Show Them Lack Of Interest

You know that moment when a client rings you to tell you that there is a problem with the site and you have no idea what they are talking about? It drives them nuts beyond belief.

Of course you have many clients. And some are more important than the others, sure. But none of them care about the others. Every single one of your clients considers themselves as the most important one and wants to be treated accordingly.

It doesn’t take much to do so too. Keeping an eye on rankings and other metrics regularly is enough. And, it’s something you should be doing anyway, right?

Conclusion

These are tough times for SEO. With so many changes in the industry the value of SEO has shifted and the practice seems to be merging more and more with other marketing disciplines. It is then highly important then to ensure your professional behavior does not ruin your client relations in any way.

Creative commons image by Saurabh Vyas

3 responses to “Who Pisses Your Clients Off More, You or Google?

  1. One important quality that everybody that works directly with customers should have is empathy. Working to achieve a greater level in understand your customer not just his problem but his perspective to is important in building a stronger relationship with them.

  2. Great points Alexandra, I totally agree. It’s easy to criticise customers but once you put yourself in their situation, you suddenly realise that it’s not always them who cause the problems…. And it’s a good exercise to look at things from their perspective.

    Cheers for reading and your comments! I really appreciate them.

  3. Great points Alexandra, I totally agree. It’s easy to criticise customers but once you put yourself in their situation, you suddenly realise that it’s not always them who cause the problems…. And it’s a good exercise to look at things from their perspective.

    Cheers for reading and your comments! I really appreciate them.

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