It is natural to have demanding and very annoying clients when running a website design studio. Hence, you may not find it easy to maintain a great relationship with clients. Here are some lessons you can use to educate your clients and make the job easier:
Most web designers tend to go out of their way to please their clients. They’ll do it all to exceed their expectations. Many make endless edits, also add unexpected features that were never a part of project discussion, etc. Some even give in to every whim of the client just to make sure they are happy. Although it is good to keep customers happy, trying to fulfill unreasonable expectations can leave you feeling disregarded or wronged.
To avoid this situation, make sure the client approach and treatment is simple yet respectable. Let the client approach you for developing the site and you make the website as discussed and agreed upon. The client pays you and the deal is ended peacefully.
However, in most cases, web designers face serious issues wherein the client approaches them with strange and unreasonable web design demands. Then they review the site numerous times, rejecting it and requesting endless changes. Also, the payment is done only after a tiring series of annoying negotiation. Many times, the payment gets delayed and the follow-ups are more than exhausting.
So what is the best way to avoid these situations? Well, this starts with educating clients. The education should happen before you both sign the contract. Here’s how you educate your clients:
Let them Know who You are!
You are a creative professional. There’s a huge difference between a professional and a laborer. A creative professional possesses the degree, talent, skills and valid experience. That’s the reason people don’t dictate what’s to be done by a doctor. However, designers are often underestimated. Most clients believe that simply surfing the World Wide Web qualifies them to make their own design decisions. Hence, they take creative professionals as laborers born to do their work.
The idea is to educate them about your qualities, time restrictions, and other commitments in life.
You are More Knowledgeable
Let your clients know that you know about the web more than anyone else does. And make this clear at the very first meeting of yours. Establish yourself as an expert. Your clients might assume it is an easy task, especially if they can operate Photoshop and Microsoft Word. So you need to build your credibility. Do not allow clients to show your computers or let them interfere with each major decision. Try showing research or data that support your decisions. Also, show examples of other successful sites that have been using a specific technique that you’re also using. To establish your credibility, you need to be punctual at meetings, dress appropriately, meet deadlines and even write professional emails.
NO Last Minute Changes
This is a strict no-no. And you must mention this in your contract. In case, the confusion arises, ask them to review the contract.
Set Practical Deadlines
Clients will want their project done at the speed of light. Most web designers have problems setting deadlines that they can actually meet. Also, they are unable to explain these deadlines to their clients. Once you make a time estimate for a website, spare at least 1-2 hours to go through each step of the project. Thereafter, you need to fix a time estimate for each step.
Although it is possible to work faster, problems occur. These may delay project unnecessarily and the moment you run into a delay, problem, or a life-emergency, clients may get seriously frustrated.
So set reasonable time and explain to your client why need that amount of time for the project. Educate clients about what you will do at each step in the project.
Follow the Terms
All terms mentioned the contract must be strictly adhered to. Unfortunately, most freelance web designers tend to overlook this rule. It is crucial to have a detailed contract which needs to be read through with the client. A well-written contract follows certain norms. It is designed in a fashion to inform clients about the realistic work hours you can devote, needs for feedback, milestones for the project, rules for payment, licensing rules, and budget (this section may also include costs for any overtime requests). If you wish to remember anything else to your client, it can also be mentioned prior to preparing the final agreement.
Most importantly, you must brief the client about this contract. Signing a contract that has been left unread can be a problem for your client and your credibility in the long run. The relationship might turn sour. So read the contract with your client so that they can fully understand what they are getting into.