How to keep your clients happy?
This is an age old question, and many web designers have some interesting takes on this subject. Some designers feel as long as the project is launched on time, and no surprises for the client. Then the client should be happy. Other designers feel as long as what you promise is what you delivered, then the client should be happy.
My take is a little different.Good clients really want three things. Communications. Honesty. Feeling that they are important. Theses three concepts/strategies should be the foundation of your organization, at least in my view. Having an open line of communication is super important. Being honest goes without a lot of discussion. Making sure your client feels important will be the difference in a referral or a bad review.
Communications is more (at least in my mind), than just a brief conversation in the beginning stages of the project. Communication is a two way street. Having the ability to communicate with your clients about the where the project is and where it is headed is so critical. Using Asana, as my go to communication tool. Being able to outline upcoming task and allowing clients to discuss concerns or happiness is so important to all of my projects.
While strongly believing in picking up the phone and making a call is so important, most client vs. designer’s time schedule does not make this always possible. Avoid email trails, many emails are stuffed with emotions, which can be viewed in a negative state. Pick up the phone, when you have a concerns…or you feel like your client has a concern. Explain what is going on. If you have had to make a shift in your process, then explain your decision to your client. Remember you are the expert and the client should trust your judgement. However make sure your judgement meets all the client’s needs and wants.
Be honest. If your client wants something outside of the scope of the project, then do the research and if it is not a major ordeal…communicate that this is outside the scope, but you will change the project in exchange for a time change or price change. No change should be done, without the client understanding how the scope is very important. So if the change add more design time (o your end), then you need to reflect it in the project cost.
If you make a mistake, then relay the mistake to your client. I remember a couple years ago, a new client of mine wanted an event calendar added to the project. The plugin (of choice) had a huge conflict with another plugin. Once added, the site went down. Having to hire a developer for a fix, this added a couple of days on the project. A quick call the client, and full disclosure was meet with “so when do you think it will be fixed”. Estimating a couple of days, but letting the client know that keyword research will be done…while the developer works on the work around. Client was happy, that I was in front of a major issue.
Feeling that they are important
One of the most valuable lessons most happily married individuals will tell you is…always make sure your significant others feels like they are the most important person to you. The same can be said with clients. Making sure you are ahead of schedule deadlines. Creating something maybe mentioned, but because of cost or timing, was not possible…well created it and add it to the project. Go above and beyond for your client.
Lastly smile and be humble for each project (is something that I preach to myself for each opportunity). There are many options for each project. The client selected you. You should feel special, and why would you make sure your client feels like they are your most important projects. Just make sure you have outlined boundaries…being special is not about doing task outside of your boundaries. Good clients respect you and your business.
Image courtesy of Frank Busch.
JDS WebDesign is a Web Design and Brand Marketing Agency located in Marietta, Georgia. We create AWESOME on line presence for Faith Base, Non Profit and Influential People/Organizations. To learn more about me or how I can help you and your organization, let’s schedule a 15 – 30 minute coffee. I can be reached by clicking here..