The one who pays me on time is good. The one who is late on payment or doesn’t pay at all is bad.
Kind of. That’s an obvious answer but thankfully, I’ve have not struggled too much with payment issues. There has been a random issue here or there, but overall, all my clients are wonderful about payment.
Everyone’s answer to what makes a good or bad client will be different but I’ve found that the common underlying theme on what differentiates good from bad is how much acknowledgement I get for the work that I do.
For me, a good client is someone who appreciates me as a partner in their quest for a successful business. They know when to say thank you and understand that my support is important to what they are trying to accomplish. It’s a small thing, but it speaks volumes.
I like it when clients respect my schedule. I started this business for more flexibility in my life. Though I am at my computer during standard business hours most of the time, I like the client who understands when I say, “I can’t get to that at this moment but give me an hour or two”.
My favorite clients are those who seem genuinely care when they ask me how I am. I like those that go a step further and remember small details of my life and ask about them.
These are all small things, but it makes a huge difference on whether or not you are a “good” client to have on my roster.
A bad client is someone who sees me as a stereotypical assistant (or worse, a secretary from the 1960’s). I do not like it when I’m thrown assignments with no acknowledgement of the work I’m doing. Or worse, someone who begins to see me as a lower-level employee and not an equal business owner. Yes, it’s my job to spend an hour on the phone with an airline to get you a new flight but that’s one portion of my job that I don’t like either. But I love when you give me a huge thank you and recognize what a pain in the butt it was. I don’t like when you barely notice it and just send me the next assignment. Not cool.
To me, that is the worst client. Email after email starts feeling like someone is barking order after order at me like a drill sergeant on an army base. The problem is that it’s an easier trap to fall into than you’d think. It’s hard (for me, I can’t speak for anyone else) to pick up on those signals in an initial phone conversation and my 30-day trial. In my experience, it becomes more prominent over time when the client begins to settle into working with you and true colors begin to show.
This is not a post to talk about how to let go of a client like that, merely a post to have others think about the way they work their assistants. Even if your assistant is in house, the more you treat them with respect and validate what they do for you, the happier they will be and less likely to leave for greener pastures. It’s easy to see us as “just an assistant” but we value the role we play in your success just as much as anyone else. A little gratitude and awareness goes a long way.
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