Clients ‘want to be challenged’

Our article ‘five things clients hate about you’ makes for interesting reading.

Collated from research carried out by business consultancy Up to the Light – and supported by the Design Business Association – the report highlights client opinions about the design consultancies they work with.

And the five things they dislike most about their consultancies, which are (in no particular order:

• ‘They’ve become a bit comfortable’;
• ‘They could be more proactive’;
• ‘I don’t really know enough about them’;
• ‘They don’t challenge me enough’; and
• ‘They need to be stronger with us’.

With the exception of ‘I don’t really know enough about them’, which you could argue is the fault of the client, all the points focus on clients wanting to be challenged by their agencies.

What’s interesting about this isn’t so much that most of the ‘hates’ are broadly similar, but that clients are at least paying lip service to the fact that they want their consultancies to be stronger and more opinionated.

Obviously this cuts both ways, and to be in a position to challenge their client, the consultancy has to receive a certain level of trust from them.

And if you were being cynical you could also say that what this research really demonstrates is that clients are asking for more for their money from consultancies.

But it’s heartening to see clients acknowledging the fact that most designers are well aware of – that for the best work to be created, the relationship has to be collaborative and dynamic, rather than the consultancy simply acting as an unquestioning and passive supplier.

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