To run a successful business it is essential to understand the importance of feedback and communication with a client or customer. Sometimes it is easy, other times it is challenging, it is not usually the same with every client, so one rule fits all doesn't really apply.
One thing that I have learnt being a Designer, is that my clients have always wanted to share their thoughts and input with regards to their project - Too right as well as they are, after all, paying for a service and will receive a product - branding, a website or both!
In today's post, I want to share 5 helpful tips to improve your feedback and communication with your client or customer.
1 | There is no emotion in email
There are a number of ways to communicate with your client, I use email and skype a lot. I find that these are the 2 main methods and they suit me and my clients very well, esp as my client may be in a different timezone to me. It's always important to remember when communicating over email there is no emotion - unless you use emoticons, which can be hit and miss really. Plus, your personality and tone of voice can not be translated in an email it can be very easy for words to be read in a different light. It happened to me only recently and I was a little unsure of how to deal with this. The solution was simple, though. Instead of misinterpreting the email I arranged for a skype call with my client to discuss the points in question and iron out any misunderstanding that could have risen. The bottom line is, it's always better to talk it out.
2 | There will be revisions - listen and take it on board
Every project is different, sometimes there are no revisions to a design concept, other times there are more than you initially anticipate. The key thing to remember is feedback is imperative, not only for the project in hand, or to keep the client happy but also for personal and business development. Listening to my clients and discussing concepts, revisions, and feedback is key to progressing. I give all my clients a number of revision rounds during the process of their project and I make a point to discuss their thoughts and input. This really helps me understand their needs and we work together to achieve something really great.
3 | Thoughtful design - provide reasons
Following on from working together with my clients, another way I better my communication and feedback are by thinking about the design I am creating with their requirements in my mind. That is one of the key aspects of creating a successful design. I then always discuss and talk through my chosen route, and provide a detailed explanation as to why I have "placed X in that position" and why "Z is displayed like..." - This helps a great deal as my clients are then able to better understand the design, placement and layout.
4 | Be clear and confident
When it comes to client work I have learnt to push myself out of my comfort zones and that has not only improved my communication but it has made me more confident when discussing my designs. Being able to speak clearly and confidently about your process, your work, your design decisions can have a great impact on your working relationship with your client. If you are clear and confident you are more likely to portray a positive feeling and that will encourage 2-way feedback and communication. This then leads me too...
5 | Ask questions
..my final tip. Ask questions. You are not a mind-reader and neither is your client Unless you ask questions and find the answers to what your client wants you will not be able to deliver something you are proud of and that is right for your client. The worst possible situation can only be when you continue to design, without input or discussion with/from your client and present something that is not in line with their thinking and their thoughts. It has happened to me in the early days so speaking from experience it is an awful position to be in. To prevent that from happening again I ask questions! Lots of them. That's the only way I have learnt that I am truly going to understand my client's design needs and requirements.
Do you have any tips or tricks that help with client communication? How do you handle feedback?