Ode To Event Planners: The 5 Difficult Clients

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The business of event planning is not for the faint-hearted. We have seen them at work – impeccably groomed, socializing with attendees while working the premises like their home. But beneath this cool-as-a-cucumber facade lies quick-witted brains that have been adapted to think 10 steps ahead of everyone to manage all the hiccups.

What most of us would not see is the hard work and long hours leading up to the actual event. Ask any event planner – what their greatest challenge is amidst the chaos of coordinating an event and they would unanimously answer – The Client.

Widely known as ‘The One Who Call The Shots’, The Client is ultimately ‘The One That Needs To Be Pleased’ at the end of the day, as with any other industry in the provision of services. While accommodating and flexible clients can make your event planning process a breeze, it is always the other polar extreme that will drive you crazy from point of quotation till event tear-down.

This week, we present to you 5 types of difficult clients that make up every event planner’s nightmare.

1. The One Who Wants More For Less

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The unpredictability of things on The Client’s side always keep an event planner on his/her toes.

“We just recently discussed and our budget for the event got halved.. Are we still able to maintain the current inclusions?”

If you have heard this before, you must have already met this client. Indeed, budgetary changes are the bane of every event planner’s existence. The catch: a client’s expectation hardly ever goes down even after a budget reduction. For $20 per head catering, this client would still expect 5-star hotel food standard.

The most commonly encountered character in the trade, The Client who wants more product for less cost often present an event planner with the trickiest of situations – fierce negotiation with the suppliers, or upfront rejection of The Client. The bad news is that nobody ever likes to hear “no”.

2. The One Who Never Decides

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Also referred to as the one who is licensed to change their mind anytime, most event planners would have come across this client. It is one thing to be fickle, but another to alter a decision at the very last minute at the most inconvenient time. This is the client who will change the setup 5 times with you (and probably 10 times in her head) and add/drop menu items 3 days before the event. Just when you think she’s done pulling every stunt on the list, the lighting on the day of the event is suddenly not right.

In short, The One Who Never Decides will make you realize one thing. What previous agreement? The contract is irrelevant.

3. The One Who Works 24/7

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Some people work 9-5, some commit overtime, some nocturnal ones work through the night.

But unfortunately for you, a handful work round the clock.

Being 24/7 operational, this is one of the most high maintenance clients who will make you forget what your working hours really are. Expect loads of scheduled appointments, after-hours calls and texts on your cellphone and a continuous inflow of e-mails to your inbox titled “Urgent” even on weekends. And because you are working alongside her, when she doesn’t rest…you work too.

4. The One Who Sweats The Small Stuff

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Why is our logo on the top left of the signage?
Don’t you think the function room is too brightly lit?
How come the tea is only lukewarm?

There is nothing more pressurizing than having a client who is a perfectionist. Sometimes you just can’t decide if your client is being controlling or obsessive with the tiniest details.

But being a top notch event planner means you should try your best to empathize and understand why she is micro-managing.  This means that you will have to tone the lighting down, even if deep down you suspect it doesn’t bother a single soul in the room.

5. The One With Endless Demands

Some clients overestimate what an event planner can do, you can’t make up your mind if it is flattering or unreasonable.

Can you make sure I have at least 90% RSVP for this event?
Do you think you can get the hotel to throw in a free glass of wine for all my guests?
Can you ask the emcee to sound a bit more upbeat about the product?

While ‘demanding’ makes up the general behavior of any consuming party, this particular type of client may even surprise you with demands so ridiculous, you don’t even know how to start fulfilling them.

If any part of the above resonated with you, you probably have already encountered that client. In fact, a client can sometimes be all 5 types at the same time. Having said that, as an event planner it would be great to keep in mind that both parties are working towards a common goal – the overall success of the event. Once that has been established, a positive working relationship will surely help in planning a corporate event!

Event planners, have you had any experiences with that client before? Share it with us below!

Featured Image Credit: www.bnibelgique.info

Marketing Executive (Editorial) for We Are Spaces. Economics/finance student who crunches numbers by day and stays up to write by night.

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