Being at the helm of a digital marketing agency for 9 years has given be fair bit of perceptive. From the years gone, amidst numerous pitches and glitches, I have come to realise that we agency guys (listen BDEs) need to be more selective about our clients than vice versa.
If you have worked long enough in the Indian market you’d be privy to the fact that Indian clients claim themselves to be demigods (not generalising here) and we respect them duly and fairly because we want to create an excellent customer experience, a positive journey that makes a client feel good about working with us. Only for this, do we bear their irrational behaviours, payment delays, numerous arguments and so on. That’s a discount made to continue this beautiful marriage alive.
However, in my family long entrepreneurship journey (11 years) on a handful of occasions I have encountered clients that have been outrageously rowdy, mocking and commanded to be the elephants in the room. They take your time, energy and patience for granted. Sometimes I have given them the benefit of doubt – thinking it’s pure business and egos can be pushed aside. But some clients are ruthless on all accounts – they murder your time, assault your self-respect, and mock you as they were your enslavers.
As an agency head, I refuse to work with such clients. I have been fortunate to work with some of the most brilliant and best mannered people who have made me feel good about my chosen profession, but then I was compelled to write this as last week I bumped into a group of people who took pride in disgracing the agency, were outrightly dismissive and mocking you on the face. As it built up, I remained calm, gave rational explanations and ignored the stiff upper lip demeanour. Eventually, I gave in and asked for myself to leave, but making my point clear that I would not be party to work with a client who has left basic etiquettes outside the room.
Later, an official from the organisation tried explaining to me that their behaviour was ‘valid’ and ‘correct’. Then I got the point. They must have been so used to being humiliated by their clients, hence they were passing it on further. For them it was normal. The fact is they might find someone else with a thicker skin, but then is it worth it?