Keeping all your design clients happy and be a daunting task. If you’ve ever lost your mind trying to keep all of your clients happy, keep reading for a few tips on keeping everyone happy without losing your marbles.
Making clients happy is hard. After all, clients are way to needy, picky, irritable, and all-around annoying. Right?
I beg to differ.
Actually, I disagree whole-heartedly. There seems to be a lot of complaining in the design community about clients who demand too many changes, ask for ugly designs, don’t pay on time, and the list goes on.
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But the real problem is most designers have no idea how to manage their clients. I believe ninety-nine-percent of all your client-problems can be solved by working on your project management skills. Let me explain:
It’s all about managing expectations
Have you ever had a client that just expects way too much from you? Perhaps they have unreasonable deadlines, call you in the middle of the night, or expect you to be available for every problem or concern they might have.
Believe it or not, they act this way because you allow them to. It’s your job to help train your client to act like they should.
Sure, some clients come along who are perfect. They never have a problem, communication goes perfectly, and they pay you on time. But it seems like those clients (the ones that act like they should without any added help from you) are few and far between.
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For the rest of them, you need to help them understand.
From the get-go
It’s your job, as a designer and business person, to explain to your clients how things need to work. Extablish guidelines like
“As we’re working on the site, please maintain a list of all the changes you would like to see. Once we are finished, you can submit the list and we will review the changes together.”
Or something else like
“I am very busy with your project and other projects. If something is urgent, please feel free to call me. If you have a question or concern that is less-than-urgent, however, please send me an email and I will do my best to respond within 24 hours.”
If you find yourself facing these sorts of problems frequently, you may want to include phrases like the ones above in your legal agreements.
I, for example, have decided to include contact information in my legal contract. My clients know that unless they call or email me at the phone number and email address found in my contract, I am not legally obligated to respond immediately.
They have no problem contacting me the way I hope they will because they know about this stipulation from the get-go.
Tackle foreseeable problems
It’s always good to tackle other potential problems that you anticipate at the beginning of your relationship. If your first client meeting is full of unreasonable demands, explain the design process to your client so that they don’t continue to act inappropriately.
My happiness disclaimer
Even though you may work very hard to keep all your clients happy and manage their expectations, some might still be angry or annoyed with you. Always do your best to keep each client happy, but don’t sacrifice your personal happiness to appease a client’s unjustified anger.
Not everyone will be happy all the time.
But with this little piece of advice, I hope you can keep your design clients happy without going completely crazy.
How do you keep your sanity?
In order to keep my clients happy without going b’zerk, I manage their expectations from the get-go. What do you do to make sure all your design clients are satisfied with your work? Share your tips by leaving a comment.
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