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Advise needed - Impatient Customer

Hello!
This is not really a beware, but I do take commissions over FA for many years.
And a few times I have encountered rude or impatient customers like any other artist.

However, a returning customer lately has been very unpleasant to work with.
Note that it's a Concept Art means...a Reference Sheet, which a quiet large commission and it has been less than a month since he paid for it. But he persistently asks for updates and uses "how are you?" or "how do you feel?" as a scapegoat to ask for updates every, single, day. I had urged him to stop asking not once but twice. I want to let you know as well, that I am very open to answer anything to my customers and will do ANYTHING to assure their satisfaction. But now I get guilt tripped that he has depression and wants to see the commission done today every time he asks for it, or makes analogies that he is my friend to receive a pat in the head to forget what he is doing.


I honestly do not know what is the best approach for this.
Few friends mention the Silent Treatment or tell to stop asking much rougher.


I am feeling a little sad myself now, that this person fell on my commission list and have to deal with it. And since I am very passionate on my drawings to make them look spectacular to make my customers happy...it left me with tied hands.


Any help regarding this circumstance, would be deeply appreciated.

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Comments

bornesb
Jun. 27th, 2017 04:50 pm (UTC)
If you do not want to deal with them, cancel the commission and be done with it. It is really this simple.

It is likely this repeat commissioner thinks you have a friendly relationship instead of a strictly professional one. You should remind them that the relationship they have you is business only- and that if they continue to ask for updates daily, you will cancel their commission (and give them a full refund, of course).

If you still want to give them a chance, you might want to say you will give them updates once a week, at your discretion, and if this is not satisfactory for the customer, they should seek another artist-- give them their refund and cancel the commission if they don't like your stance on this.

I am coming at this from the commissioner point of view. There is nothing I hate more than being pulled along because of something I did (even unknowingly) that makes the artist not want to do my commission. Then, instead of the artist cancelling the commission, they string me along and never complete it because they have no drive.

The last line in your post seems to suggest this is already happening-- you don't like the customer, so you're procrastinating on the commission. Please, do everyone in this situation a solid, and cancel the commission.
naaura
Jun. 27th, 2017 04:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the reply Bornesb.

The current commission stance is that it is almost finished, so about up to 70% done.

If it persists, then I will indeed resolve in giving a refund for the remaining work and the file of the progress.

You do bring valid points when comes for best suited type of communication. And since I am quiet inexperienced to conflict, I usually panic and then give in to the demands, ending up with quiet a lot of burnout and stress. So I appreciate the suggestions given. I will consider once the matter requires to take action.
bornesb
Jun. 27th, 2017 05:11 pm (UTC)
In that case, depending on what the art looks like right now, I would finish it up to something acceptable-- like if they had wanted fully shaded but you're almost done with flats, finish up the flats, give the customer the file and a partial refund for the "downgrade" in commission type.

Interestingly, I've been in this situation before, where my commission was almost done but cancelled. It was a comic, and had about 2 panels missing. I got a partial refund but trying to work around the 2 blank panels was sort of difficult.

If your commission has a good "stopping point," whether that be by adding a couple things, or taking away some stuff (for example, everything's inked but you had only just started colors. Take away the colors, customer receives linework only now), then do that.

If you're in some weird middle area that can't be cleaned up well, it is your choice where you want to go-- don't give them anything and take the loss with 100% refund just so you don't have to deal with them. Or give them what you have with a partial refund (which might leave the customer kind of boned since finding people to finish other's work is really hard).

You could also, if you can find the motivation, quietly deal with this customer, finish the work, and simply refuse to take any future commissions from them to avoid another situation like this.

Best of luck to you; I hope it works out.
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bornesb
Jun. 27th, 2017 06:28 pm (UTC)
They went silent on communication mid-commission and I initiated a paypal claim before the window closed to force them to start talking. I was told they took on a commission too large for the time they had to dedicate to it.

But, even if the artist just didn't feel like doing it anymore (which has *also* happened to me before), I would not hold it against that artist anyway. I would MUCH RATHER have an artist who is responsible enough to realize they cannot finish the commission (no matter the reason) and thus cancel it with refund, rather than the alternative (artist does nothing and runs off with your money essentially), which unfortunately seems more common.

There are artists who have canceled my commissions that I would still recommend to people. Crap happens. That's business. How the business owner deals with it (and in this case the business owner is the artist), will tell you how reliable and responsible that business is.

You should not begrudge a business for realizing it made a mistake and rectifying it.

Edited at 2017-06-27 06:33 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
teekchan
Jun. 28th, 2017 04:16 am (UTC)
If you cancel you owe the commissioner a full refund, even though you've done work. They arent breaking your TOS (unless you have 'dont talk to me' in it).

Commissione cancels - partial.
Commissioner breaks TOS or is actually doing something WRONG not just annoying - Partial refund.
You cancel because you want to/cant do it/commissioner is merely annoying - full refund. (granted they cant use the art, and you can repurpose it, or offer them the art and a partial IF they want it)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
sbneko
Jun. 28th, 2017 06:27 pm (UTC)
Why would the client not know it's not acceptable when the OP states they've told them twice to stop?
(Deleted comment)
sbneko
Jun. 28th, 2017 06:46 pm (UTC)
We don't know how OP told them though, so the client could be more then aware of it, but doesn't care, which happens a lot. That's also assuming the client would even bother to read the TOS.

I completely agree that it should be added, you want things on your side. But I don't agree that the client isn't aware of what they're doing, especially since the client is guilt tripping the artist.
celestinaketzia
Jun. 28th, 2017 06:58 pm (UTC)
It may be best to simply put in a "Artist reserves the right to cease the commission and issue a refund at their discretion."

What people constitute as harassment can vary. Setting too many scenarios in a ToS can be very off-putting, and make the artist come off as defensive.

With that said, some of this comes down to common sense. It shouldn't have to be in someone's ToS that a client shouldn't pester them day in and day out. Part of this job is customer service, and knowing how to deal with difficult customers.
magedragonfire
Jun. 27th, 2017 05:10 pm (UTC)
"If you still want to give them a chance, you might want to say you will give them updates once a week, at your discretion, and if this is not satisfactory for the customer, they should seek another artist-- give them their refund and cancel the commission if they don't like your stance on this."

Yeah, I agree with this. It sounds like you have to firmly establish a line with this customer, and then stick to it. He sounds like he's either very impatient, or have gotten the idea that your relationship is more as friends than as a professional one.

You may want to remind him that answering repeated questions about when the work is going to be done takes time out of your day from actually working on commissions, and it's not helping him get his art any faster. Perhaps you could tell him that you'll only provide progress updates on a weekly (or even two-weekly) basis to cut him off from contacting you about the status, as well? This doesn't necessarily have to involve sending proofs or in-progress shots of what you've been working on for him, but it could if you do that kind of thing anyway.

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