Without communication, there is no relationship. Without trust, there is no reason to continue.
The relationship between a client and a designer is no different from that of a husband and wife. They fight, they sort it out. They trust and they annoy. The difference between the two is the intention of said relationship; the client-designer is based on a give and take formula. Each relationship forms from a few generic principles that are narrowed down to the specific nature of a relationship. In the case of a client-designer relationship, the steps below should allow for a healthy and productive connection.
How often have you seen companies making attractive claims regarding their services? All whilst never fulfilling them when the time comes?
Committing to a client when you can’t deliver can be a hazardous act. Of course, it is necessary for a designer, to keep the client satisfied. It just might not be completely possible. If the work provided by the client is difficult to accomplish or the time spent in meeting the client’s request is way more than estimated.
Remember: It takes months to find a customer, seconds to lose one. Giving false hope should never be the agenda of a designer. Therefore; if the work appears to be difficult, it is fine to say No than regret it later.
Also, every designer wishes to obtain a high profit in the minimal time required. Hence, putting all yours eggs in one basket is not a good concept to consider. Rather than spending a good amount of time in fulfilling the requirements of a single fussy client, a designer can always try working with several clients while building strong relationships with them without prolonging the projects.
Therefore: Saying No to a client can be the best thing a designer could do to avoid several problems from arising in the future.
Communication is key
Nobody is a mind reader. Many problems occur in a relationship when the two parties do not utilise their communication channels. It is through communicating the purpose and details of the design process that a client and designer can strengthen their relationship.
As per the common saying, ‘Ask and you shall receive’ there is no harm in initiating a conversation. A client can kick-start a discussion by sharing the purpose of the design, the target audience it would reach, where the design will be used, and how much amount he is willing to spend. On the other hand, a designer can also initiate the chat by asking for an in-depth understanding of the project. No matter how well a designer thinks he understands the client’s brief, it is always a good idea to listen to it from the horse’s mouth. But don’t leave it there – converse on a regular periodic basis and your relationship will definitely improve.
Make things clear
An ambiguous method of working is something which never goes down well with a client; hence a designer should always keep things clear by mapping a process to ensure uniformity and clarity. The client should be made aware of the phases through which the design will go through and to know the exact phase the work stands, at each point in time.
A generic process consists of the following steps:
- Sending a creative design guide to the client.
- Provision of the filled design guide by the client.
- Brainstorming and sketching the ideas.
- Giving the concepts a digital form.
- Provision of the concepts to the client.
- Feedback and revisions.
- Incorporating the changes.
- Provision of the final files to the client.
Of course, a designer may be catering to several different clients at a time which may make it difficult to keep a track of all the separate phases. In order to aid this problem, the designer can prepare a checklist. The checklist needs to be timely updated for the sake of keeping track.
Getting feedback is the most important thing a designer should opt for. A good feedback can provide important insights with respect to the preferences of the client. Though the client can be the richest source of advice, feedback can be obtained from other sources too; including fellow designers and people outside the company.
Example: The classic Coca Cola case that spawned in 1985, where Coca Cola was reformulated, was a result of the feedback obtained from the wrong segment. The reformulation hence, resulted in a storm of criticism, washing away the expectations of the loyal customers while causing harm to their relationship.
Getting feedback from the right people is the key. Fellow designers may be able to point out flaws in the design but are unlikely to be able to comment on the likes and dislikes of the market. For that, a designer needs to approach people from outside the company. Research like this is optional to the designer, but can be fruitful for the client-designer relationship.
Keep track of time
Being timely is an essential step towards a successful client-designer relationship. Each client is time-bound and hence expect a deadline to be met with their desired outcomes.
Providing the final files before the deadline can also help restore a strong relationship. Unexpected surprises prove positive in this kind of relationship.
Though time should always be at the forefront of the designer’s mind, it should be made sure that work provided to the client is of utmost quality as well.
Let go of your ego
Thought: Ego is just a small three letter word which can destroy a big twelve letter word called Relationship.
Often clients try interfering in the designer’s work while appearing as superior. This may make designers feel invaded since they tend to know better than the client. However, it is extremely significant for the designer to keep their ego aside while obliging to the client’s requests. That way if the designer feels that the client’s requests are not viable or would make the design a mess, a polite confrontation can help set things straight.
Every relationship thrives when both parties compromise on certain aspects. In this case, it is the responsibility of the client as well to understand that the designer’s a professional. You’ve gone to them for a particular reason. In case if things do not turn out as expected, the client can share with the designer their feedback in a polite and constructive manner – helping to ensure their relationship is not harmed.
Put it all together
These steps to a successful client-designer relationship will only work if implemented together. The lack of even one of these steps has the potential of ruining the relationship altogether.
If you’re looking to start a new relationship with a transparent agency, then look no further. Simply contact us here and let us know what you need and we’ll be happy to offer some assistance.