The Art of Demanding
Last week someone told me I was too demanding. It's not the first time I've heard it, so I decided to share some of my experiences and let my readers tell me what you think. So here goes....
Case 1: I hired a PR firm. They didn't exactly get the message about Defy Gravity or me - but I worked with them for a bit and finally hammered out a reasonable first step approach. We booked print and TV interviews and placed a few articles. But there were bumps in the road all along the way - missed opportunities, poor communication, dropped balls. The typical kind of bumps in a new relationship - only many more of them.
The final straw was when, after filming, I called to let them know a very important TV show was going to run the following week. I asked them to get the time and date so I could promote the show. By the following Thursday I hadn't heard from them. I called to remind them to find out about the show date. The next day I received a message happily informing me that the show ran on the past Tuesday and they hoped it had gone well. When I called the head of the firm to complain about this most recent dropped ball - she told me I was too demanding.
I paid for a service, asked them to follow up, they didn't. So we didn't know the show ran, at all. Am I too demanding for questioning that service level?
Case 2: I hired a web developer - for web management, shopping carts and emarketing. The first work I gave him was returned a week late and 80% wrong. It took us three weeks to get 3 single product shopping carts and three new web pages up and correct. The 2nd task was to create a subscription page - that took three weeks and I had to finish it. The story goes on and on - with various states of late and poor work. When I finally told him I was looking for someone else - he told me that was good because I was just too demanding.
Three weeks for a subscription page and shopping cart? Tasks that are late and wrong, over and over again. Am I too demanding?
Case 3: I hired someone to with with SEO for my site. The person wouldn't return my emails, didn't respond to any request or questions, gave me mediocre advice and not much else - and yet kept telling me that for what I paid him I didn't deserve any more than I was getting. In the end - he did nothing of value.
We agreed to the prices and the tasks. Yet I'm too demanding because I expect that agreement to be fulfilled. By the way, my own SEO efforts since we parted company have done more for me than all of his reports and ego.
Case 4: I was working with an editor on a special project - all for free. I know this editor was busy - but I'd send email after email and get no response. None - for weeks on end. I'd dutifully send in my weekly work - sometimes it would be published incorrectly, often out of order or with changes that I hadn't agreed to. I'd try again to connect and get no response. This went on for a long time. Then one day I received this condescending email explaining how a writer thinks and writes - as a commentary on a recent piece of my work. I'll admit it - it was the straw that broke the camel's back. After being ignored and having my work mishandled for months - I sent an email back saying that we needed to change our relationship - that this was not working for me. The next thing I know - I'm "fired" from this free project because I'm being too demanding...after I put up with months of passive agressive abuse (In my eyes).
This one shocked me - but it also taught me a lesson. If I'm having that kind of problem again - I'll escalate it much sooner. I didn't do that until the very last straw - and by then I looked like the bad guy and the -ever-missing -editor looked like the good person. In this case - I know I looked too demanding. What was intersting was that the head of the company never even bothered to call to ask for my side of the story. And I thought we were friends.
I could go on and on. There's a single thread through all of the many similar stories. I know what it is.
I'm expecting the same level of service and commitment from others that I give to my clients. Delivering on time, responding to requests, following up and meeting my commitments.
By now, I'm beginning to wonder if I am expecting too much.
Maybe the new economy means delivering less services and value - and expecting clients to put up with it.
What's your take?