Clients from Hell may sound like a character from a Hollywood sci-fi movie but in today’s corporate world it’s a truth. A screenshot of clients from hell website sums it up. Many might feel that the major reason for rise in such issues may be because of lack of required skills in vendors or freelancers but if we see the other side of the picture, un-realistic demands also make it a tough journey for any vendors/freelancers. Although many clients would not agree but this is the bitter truth at the moment prevailing in the market. In this blog, will discuss on Clients from Hell: Issues in Online Video Industry. Our discussion will be largely limited to issues in the Online Video Industry only.
Potential/Market Size of Online Video Industry on a Global Scale
The dependency on videos for promotion or content generation purpose is on rise every single day and with various online video platforms offering multiple monetization opportunities, this is slated to stay on the rising trend. According to Market Watch Blog, online video platforms market was valued at $780 Million in 2017 and is slated to touch $2200 Million by 2025. The industry is slated to grow at a CAGR of 18% between 2017 to 2025.
After the launch of the LIVE feature on Digital Platforms, competition has surged up between Television & Online video industry. Going LIVE on digital video platforms not only helps in better engagements but also helps in better audience retention rate + brands now can also monetize LIVE videos on Digital platforms.
With so much potential and market value to capture, the scope of work and demand for the right talent is also on rise. With the right knowledge, one can surely earn a handsome figure by just freelancing in video industry or become a long-term vendor for any client. But All That Glitters is not Gold, with better opportunities also comes more bargaining and gap in demand & supply.
Clients from HELL- Issues in Online Video Industry: The Problem Statement
Outsourcing has been followed by many leading MNCs as well as MSMEs worldwide as a cost-cutting measure as well as to get temporary work done faster with less headache. But in the maximum of cases, conflict arises between the two parties due to unavoidable and also avoidable or silly reasons.
Whenever people see a good opportunity in a particular industry they tend to migrate from a different industry to leverage a better-earning opportunity. The result is a rise in supply in comparison to demand in the market. The excess supply helps clients bargain for service and set unrealistic demands. This may just be the one reason out of many for rising conflict between vendors and clients but is one of the most prevailing ones.
The gap in supply & demand forces freelancers or vendors to take up work from unreliable clients. Many a time clients with no or few knowledge in their business domain can be a big pain. Lack of knowledge makes them set unreal time frames & goals and supply-demand gap bags them a hefty bargain.
Now let’s see it in perspective of an Online Video Industry. People who have been or working in the video industry would understand that the video creation process is not only about shooting and editing. A lot of other processes are also involved in a quality output. But a client who is new in the video industry and his/her requirement is for an online ad, would take it as a 2 days project, 1 day shoot and 1 day editing. This is where un-realistic goal setting starts due to lack of knowledge of clients thus leading to hardships for vendors and freelancers. Owing to the supply-demand gap, many vendors or freelancers never say NO to any client even if they are aware that the client’s requirement is fully unrealistic. When it comes to the online medium, the requirement is always for multiple ad outputs as unlike TV, where limited ad slots are available. In an online medium, there is no limit of slots. This is where Clients from hell come into the picture and the mentioned scenario is one of the most common issue prevailing in Online Video Industry.
In the Past agency people and freelancers use to mint a lot of money with minimum work but with the digital medium the limitation of slots has vanished thus adding up no free time for Vendors/Freelancers.
Clients from HELL in Online Video Industry: How to Spot such Clients?
Like a true predator, it’s very hard to spot a client from hell. But you have to stay alert for the slightest of mistake from client side to spot them. Good News is that they do give warning signs initially!
- Check Reviews & Past Record- Work is now available on various freelancing platforms with detailed information related to the client’s business, past record with other vendors & freelancers. Multiple firings with lesser time spent with every vendor are signs of suspicious activity one should keep an eye before finalizing the work.
- Hefty Bargaining- Online Video Industry is normally a high investment-centric domain. The industry carves for a high level of creativity with shorter duration. Though bargaining is a very Indian thing and no one can escape this phenomenon, but hefty bargains is a sign of suspicion and should keep an eye for this.
- Avoiding Interactions- This is an initial sign of filtering clients from Hell. It’s a good practice to document every interaction for future reference but any party reluctant in doing so clearly has evil intentions. It’s time you start showing such clients the door.
- Over Night Turn Around- Clients who often use quick, instant and miracle words in their interactions are signs of future conflicts. Avoid such clients because such words clearly show their lack of knowledge related to their requirements.
- Client Donning Expert Hat- While listing the work in freelancing platforms, clients often do research related to their requirement so as to sound knowledgeful in front of the vendor. Clients should understand the vendor takes years to expertise a skill which cannot be mastered by reading a 2000 words blog on the internet. Clients who tend to give small doses of expert opinion while work in progress are a big pain while making the final payment. Such clients who tend to wear the expert hat should be ignored.
The above-mentioned points also stand true for spotting clients from hell in the online video industry.
How to deal with Clients from Hell or avoid conflicts in the Online Video Industry?
When there is a will there is always not one but multiple ways.
When we look at solutions for freelancers/vendors on How to deal with such clients from Hell, the whole industry would have many common solutions but when it comes to online video industry, few other points should also be considered. Below are common solutions on How to deal with such clients + Video industry-specific solutions.
- Spot & Say NO- During the initial days of interaction with your client spot for suspicious activities and have the courage to say NO. A no means a NO and once you say no, do not engage in any further communications.
- Document Everything- Any update in work order or issue of new work order should be properly documented for future reference during payment or any conflicts. Any communication without a formal request through post or by email should be avoided specially requests made through phone related conversation or any informal form.
- Communicate- Communication solves everything. That’s the reason why companies nowadays put more stress on communication skills rather than technical skills. Establish a frequent contact with one representative from the client side and ensure the communication is clear and not with multiple representatives to avoid confusions.
- Genuinely Care for their Business Growth- An honest dedication will always be visible to the client which would definitely call for appreciation. While making the video ad or any sort of video communication, do extensive research related to requirements and work on your behalf on How you can give them a better Video output for the best results.
- Have a First Mover Attitude-
To Err is Human and Forgive is Divine.
- Mistakes do happen from every normal human being. While you cannot expect forgiveness but if you have a first mover attitude you can surely be appreciated. Suppose you made a small mistake in the digital video go un-noticed and after rendering it you delivered it to your client and also received the payment. Later you realized the mistake but fortunately for you, the video is still not uploaded in any digital video platform, have a first mover attitude and convey the mistake to the client and rectify it before it’s noticed by the client. This would build a trust factor between you and your client and help you bag more projects from the same client.
- Send Proof of Your Work- The fact that even Kasab faced a court trial and evidence was taken into account to announce the final verdict, speaks of the importance of evidence or proof in the 21st century. So whatever work you do send in a report of the progress by end of every week so ascertain the client that work is going on. This would also ensures there is a level of confidence from the client on your work. Divide the video project into stages and inform once each stage is complete.
- Delivery Method- The limitation of working in the online video industry as a vendor is that your idea is the only thing that sets you apart from the crowd. While delivering ensure you have taken a minimum of 60-70% of payment because even if you deliver a final output with a sample watermark, the idea can easily be replicated. So all your investment and energy in shooting and scripting is not wasted.
- Know When to Say NO- Most important thing in today’s corporate world is Learn to say No when you know it’s beyond your capabilities and not get fueled by money offered. This ensures smoother project delivery and lesser interference by a client, overall a win-win situation for both parties.
- Invoice Upfront- Initially this might be tough but with time and experience this should be easy. Many experienced freelancers and vendors ask for a 50% advance, payment after completion of each stage or full payment before starting the work. This ensures work completed doesn’t turn out to be a free cake for the client.
- Focus On Quantity- People say focus on quality not quantity but in online video industry you should also focus on quantity. Digital Video production is a onetime process for every client/ project and is not a recurring one. Having quantity ensures vendors have work throughout the year, unlike quality where one may earn a hefty amount instantly but will remain jobless for the rest of the months.
History is a witness that running after money never pays up. Set guidelines for taking up work and only engage with clients who have a clarity about their requirements and respect others experience. Rest with time and patience the numbers will surely rise.
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