Preserving and promoting a good relationship with your clients should be priority number one in any business setting. Whether you are communicating with those who have so graciously chosen you for their design partner, or you are having a first contact by phone or email, how you handle yourself matters. Once you have accepted a client, this positive communication should continue throughout the relationship. It will determine whether or not you receive residual work in the future and will encourage your client to refer you to others. The best rule of thumb is to resolve any conflicts quickly by coming up with a workable solution for both parties.
Since “word of mouth” accounts for over 80% of a company’s business success, this issue cannot be taken lightly. Here are a few suggestions which will provide the groundwork for a great working environment:
- Provide current samples of work online and allow the new prospective client to check references. By doing this, they will trust you and feel comfortable in choosing your design services.
- Once you have been chosen for the work, provide the new client with a cost proposal and terms agreement to clear up any misunderstandings that could develop later on
- In the proposal, spell out clearly, how much input is allowed by the client and how they can be a part of the design partnership. Most clients love being involved in choosing images for the site.
- Any information provided that you know to be “not web worthy” let the client know this before posting it online. Search engines require relevant content written professionally.
- For re-designs, ask the client to provide new and fresh content. Professional content writers are available online for this task and It is not a good idea to put old content on a new website.
- Anything received from the client that you feel may cause a liability issue (copied text and images from the web) and any content that would be deemed plagiarism should be reported to the client.
- For those clients asking for more involvement (those with graphic or design skills) provide a separate working agreement. If this is necessary, itemize their responsibility and your involvement in the process.
- During the design phase, answer client concerns quickly and efficiently. Stay on top of any issues which affect the client’s business interests.
Most conflicts can be resolved if you are willing to listen to a concern and are willing to accept any responsibility that could be yours. There are always two sides to any story and burning bridges in our business is never the best choice. Saying “sorry for the misunderstanding” will always be accepted in a positive light. It is true that we are not perfect for all, but it is our responsibility as a professional to do all we can for client satisfaction.
Work hard to become a wonderful and valued design partner. Contact us for your next design project. Our design wizards are looking forward to hearing from our online visitors and friends.
Happy Halloween … “‘Tis now the very witching time of night” William Shakespeare