On Client Happiness

Through out my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve often heard people say “keep your clients happy.” I’ve often read articles of a contract where it states that the work needs to be to the clients satisfactory, but never their happiness. The two may sound similar, but happiness and satisfaction are two different concepts all in all.

The problem with trying to keep clients happy is that you’re dealing with human beings and all their faults and baggage. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just how we are. We’re flawed. But trying to make everyone happy is a sure fire way to make no one happy. Happiness is a fleeting emotion which will ebb and flow throughout the duration of a project. And sometimes the lack of happiness has nothing to do with what you or I are doing, but has to do with external factors beyond our control.

Over all happiness has to do with the way people feel, while being satisfied is more about fulfillment of expectations or needs.

Sometimes you have to do things which will not make the client happy, but will fulfill the needs of the contract. And sometimes you’ll have to keep your client happy but it might come at the expense of a contract’s needs not being satisfied and there are consequences to choosing one over the other. You may fulfill the contract but lose repeat business, likewise you might keep the client happy but default on the contract.

For me, my primary objective is to deliver the project on time and on budget. Not make the client happy.

The objective is to fulfill the needs of the contract. Not make the client happy.

Contrary to popular belief especially in the business of art and animation; I’m not here to be my client’s best friend or confidant. You’ve hired me to do a job and to do the job to your satisfaction. Friendships develop through interaction and repetition, not after I’ve signed a contract.

But, treating the client with respect through customer service, helping them to understand the process, helping them to feel secure and comfortable, going the extra mile to make a really nice delivery… That’s how I help make my clients feel happy.

Making you — the client happy — is a bonus.

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