Designing can be a frustrating job especially if you’re just getting started. From getting appropriate equipment and space to gathering clientele you might find that it is harder than you originally thought. Other than being a great designer you also need to be a great people person. In other words you need to know how to communicate and learn how to adapt because not every client will be the same.
Luckily there are things that you can do as a designer to make your clients not only comfortable but confident in their choice when it comes to you. It takes more than a smiling face and a nodding head to keep your clients coming back and recommending you to others. While today’s list covers some common sense courtesies, you will find that they can make all the difference between a content client and one who is extremely grateful. Get out your pen and paper for today’s quick tips on how to make and keep your clients happy.
Stellar Customer Service
First and foremost, your clients need to know that you have the right attitude. Nowadays customer service is like a lost art. Society is on such a demand and acquire basis that oftentimes manners are thrown to the wayside. Just because this seems to be the case the majority of the time, it doesn’t mean that you have to pick up the bad habit. Smiling is a good idea but make sure you don’t overdo it. You simply want to give the impression that you are an amiable individual who is willing and able to assist the client in their plight. Because you want to maintain a good impression with your client you will also want to have a well-kempt look about yourself. Now I know that most designers do not sit around in a suit and tie but making sure your t-shirts, jeans, dresses, skirts or what have you are clean and pressed is all the difference between looking casual but professional compared to looking unkempt and uncaring.
Aside from your outward look you must also be genuine in wanting to help. Most people will know whether you are being sincere or not so it is best not to fake it unless you are a top notch actor. It is necessary to have an overall good demeanor when working with other people. Small talk in between projects is a great way to keep your clients feeling comfortable with you plus it is a great way to establish a working relationship and give a glimpse of you as a person. When it comes to good customer service you must remember that a good impression goes hand in hand so remain friendly, professional and treat your clients the way you want to be treated.
Be a Compromiser
A good designer understands that not everything can be their way and if they are effective with their communication then it will be an understanding on both sides that there must be a compromise whenever trouble arises. It isn’t anything new that sometimes when a designer presents something that they are shut down by the client and vice versa. When this happens and you find yourself in a deadlock then it is time to compromise in order to get the project finished and keep both parties happy. If you are unwilling to compromise you take the risk of losing a client and possibly any other potential clients.
In order to compromise you must be able to reach a middle ground with your clients so that the project does not suffer. Let’s say that your client comes in for a meeting with all different types of requests along with the requirements that the design must have bright colors, thick lines and five large shapes to compromise their logo. You as a designer know that such a design won’t be as effective or appealing as the client wants. Naturally, because you want the best for your client you take a day to create some designs to show. While you think you have designed some great logos your client says otherwise because the design isn’t what they initially wanted. So how do you get around this? You simply compromise. A great way to come to an agreement is by combining both your designs together until you reach an agreement.
Trouble does arise when you’re in the middle of a project and a lot of times it is out of your control. That doesn’t mean that you have to go back to the client with bad news and empty hands though. You want to keep your clients happy and a good way to battle such issues is to be resourceful. Being a resourceful designer can come in handy especially when you are in a tough spot or on a short deadline. Not only that but it will assure the client that you are a go-getter and really sincere about helping.
There are various ways to be resourceful. The first is what we already covered in compromising. Being able to come up with a solution for your design problems will keep you from struggling when you should be designing. Even before you actually start working on your project you should already start gathering up your resources. The resources aren’t just for you. These items should be used to stimulate the client’s imagination. Sometimes designers will have clients who bring in designs that other businesses are using to give an example of what they want. The designer should do the same thing because there are indecisive clients who are looking for you to lead them in the right direction. Resources can be anything from textures, to typefaces, to icon sets and more. Just make sure you have some on hand or are quickly accessible because you never know when you’re going to need them.
Most people like options because it doesn’t leave them tied down to one thing especially if they are unsure of what they want in the first place. Options allow for both you and the client to explore possibilities they may not have considered in the beginning. There are many times where a designer will have a client or two who have no idea where to start and require a little hand holding. Clients like these do tend to be difficult because they just don’t know what they want but know that they need it so that’s where you come in to offer options.
There are various different ways you can bring up options to your clients. These options are effective tools in creating a process of elimination. One option that you as a designer could offer is color palettes. Colors are extremely important in graphic design so much that they can break the final product. Presenting your clients with a choice of colors can be a gateway to developing an amazing design. Another option is giving examples. These examples can be pulled from your resources. Make sure however that when you are giving options that you explain how these options can be effective and the strengths and weaknesses of each option. The more options you offer the more your clients will realize that you are really there for them. Do know that too many options can leave your clients even more indecisive so when you gather your options and resources make sure that they are the best possible choices to use.
While it is not recommended to dedicate your every waking moment to your clients because it can lead to burnout and not to mention give the client the idea that you are always available no matter the time, you should be as flexible as you can. Flexibility takes the shape in two areas when it comes to working with clients. The first is to be flexible in your time. When you take on a client and design project you need to be able to plot your availability. You don’t want to find yourself crunched for time and neither does your client. Being flexible generally means that you will be reliable and being reliable is always a great characteristic to have. Even if you don’t have all the time in the world to have constant meet ups with your clients you can remedy this by being flexible in your ability to be contacted.
Other than your time you can make your clients happy by being flexible with your skills. You never know what a client will request from you but don’t expect that your clients will want what your past clients wanted. Your flexibility in your design work should also carry over to your flexibility in taking on assignments. Staying open minded will make it lot easier to work through your design projects with your clients.
Though last on the list, communication is certainly one of the top ways to guarantee that your clients are going to be happy with you and hopefully your work. No one likes being ignored especially if they are paying for quality service. You learn at a young age that you must communicate in order for people to know what you want and what you think. When you communicate you must communicate effectively. You don’t have to be the best public speaker in the world but being able to express clear and concise ideas is a must when you’re working with people.
When you communicate make sure you keep a friendly demeanor. You should stray from “telling” the client and lean more towards “explaining”. Adding idle conversation to the mix is also a great way to make sure that both parties are relaxed and able to get things done. Even after the project is over with you should still stay in communication with your clients. Checking into the success of the design after delivery and your client’s satisfaction is always a nice touch which you client will appreciate.
Remember that when dealing with your clients you’re not only dealing with another human being but also creating a professional relationship that will hopefully make you subsequently more successful. With these six tips you will definitely leave your clients not only happy but satisfied with you and your work.