Why we hurt our business over-servicing our clients?

Why we hurt our business over-servicing our clients?

The world is going in one direction, and the artists - quite another.

While we're generally normalizing mediocrity of products and services, there's one island where things are different — creative services.

Creatives are quite a rare breed, and often they show this weird drive for excellence. Which is great.

But, does a great craft translate to a great client service?

Not always so.

Being great at craft, not necessarily means being sufficiently business savvy to confidently handle the client and the process - which is a prerequisite to delivering a great service, on demand, and hit a healthy bottom line.


While worth another episode, it's not exactly the highlight today.

Let's focus on where great craft goes hand in hand with decent service.

Checking in with a client following our previous diagnostics. For the context — in a quick, casual call, we were able to pinpoint the issue making them a bit stuck in the hamster wheel, not realizing it. Blind and obvious from outside, and not so much from inside the jar.

I'm hearing something along the lines of:

"As you said, we are probably over-servicing, which is a difficult one, because it is rooted in confidence, and that is something that is difficult to flip the switch on."

And in the adjacent thought:

"I guess deep inside i have a little voice that keeps saying, if you just serve massive value 100% of the time, you will never face rejection".

That made me stop in my tracks.

I certainly get the first one:

We're young, ambitious and want every client engagement to follow our model one, — a service executed thoroughly, as it should be, great results, aiming for a marvelous case study.

We know what it should look like.

We know how to get there.

We want it so badly!

And we'll do anything to drag our clients there.

Even if they are not invested in it as much as we are, and often if the budget is far from what it should be.

But we're good, we're creatives and we strive for excellence.

"Rooted in confidence".

There's certainly something in it!

Feels good.

But hurts our business.

And the market, in the long run.

Let's look at the second one — if we give our best, we'll never face rejection.

Fear of rejection.

And often, tightly related imposter syndrome.

Isn't that the exact opposite of confidence?

It takes some beating to develop a thicker skin.

Like in dating.

What struck me, is the co-existence of two, perfectly contradicting motivations, both being at the root cost of overdelivering.

But I understand both, and who said they can't co-exist.

They often do.

So, let's get that straight:

1/ Embracing rejection

It's like dating.

The more you embrace rejection, the more freedom and power you achieve.

Realize what other people think and feel about you is out of your control. You may influence it with your behavior if you like, but don't freak out about it. Be fine being rejected. Be fine being disliked. You're not for everyone.

You're selling a service, not your soul.

Some work ahead of you.

2/ Redefining confidence

Let's redefine confidence, so it serves you a bit more.

What I learned over the decades, is that confidence changes over time. Not in size, but in substance.

What serves us better, is having it rooted in clarity of what we offer, how we define the boundaries of the engagement, and what the outcomes are.

If you need to confidence-wing it each time, it most likely means your service offering is a bit unclear, processes are weak, and boundaries a bit too fuzzy.

Time to get some serious work done.

Hint: it's fine to seek support.

3/ Profitability at any budget

Creative firms can and should be profitable at any budget!

But most often they are not.

Our task on the selling side, is to squeeze every last drop of budget from the client, and then deliver best possible results for it.

Here's the catch though:

It does not mean you spend 125% of the budget.

Because that's killing your business.

But that's all we keep doing.

For the sake of excellence, better portfolio, or feeding our egos.

You develop various systems and methods, that allow you to make profit every single time, deliver what clients pay for, keep them satisfied. You'll need a few things along the way, to control the engagement and prevent scope creep or dissatisfaction.

No hacks here — it's not easy, not quick, but certainly doable.

And most successful companies I know, did it with external help.

Just because you're creative, it does not mean you should be reinventing the business wheel!

I’m quite sure that reading this you can think of a peer that probably could relate and learn from this insight. Why not share?


Well, that's a bomb.

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Stay prolific.

Till the next one.

Thinking bigger, seeing farther, making impact. Insights into building and evolving creative businesses and B2B brands. Coming at you from "the fast thinker", Patrick Kizny. #b2b #branding #marketing #creative