However you choose to phrase it, the “Golden Rule” is something many of us learn as children. Part of it has to do with teaching us manners, but it’s more about how we choose to treat our fellow man. Your parents were trying to show you how to be a nice person. These same lessons can easily extend into your business relationships too, of course.
Equal Treatment for Everyone?
By following this rule and avoiding unfair discrimination, it follows that you should try your best to treat everyone equally. You need to be fair and just. If you bring candy to class, so to speak, you should be sharing that candy with all your classmates. You should treat everyone the same, right? Well no, not exactly.
“Treat them all the same by treating them differently.”
This quote comes from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It was offered in the context of parenting and how you treat your children, but the concept is just as applicable to the business environment.
How to Approach Client Relations
In your efforts to treat all of your freelance clients the same way, you may be doing them an injustice and you may not be providing the best possible service. This is true of both “good customers” and bad clients. You should do your best to be ethical and fair, but that doesn’t mean they should all be treated exactly the same way.
Some clients prefer a very hands-off approach. They want to give you the basics of the task and they want you to run with it, never really communicating with them all that much until the final product is ready for delivery. Other clients want to be much more involved with the creative process, frequently providing feedback and input along the way.
If you’re the kind of person who’d prefer as much feedback as possible, you’d be doing the first client a disservice if you were to email and phone him every day. The second client, on the other hand, may appreciate that level of contact.
The Best Course of Action
Everyone is different. They have different preferences, they have different ways of approaching tasks, and they have different expectations. As such, it wouldn’t be fair to treat everyone exactly the same. That’s why the only way to treat them the same, as it were, is to treat them differently.