How To Understand Your Client’s Demands

By | October 28, 2013
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Client’s Demands

If business relationships have to work, clients have to like you. If they feel comfortable with the company, the company shall be on solid ground; a good rapport reduces the likelihood that you’ll get into difficult client situations. When we invest in a relationship — any relationship — the value of that relationship increases and it becomes more likely to bear fruit. So, once you’ve found awesome clients who are fond of you and your work, go the extra mile to ensure their loyalty and esteem. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Presentation is Key-Be on the same page as the client
We need to give the client what they’re asking for. You might be surprised at how much clients will allow you to get away with creatively. The key is how you present your work and your ideas.Spending a few moments to get inside your client’s head would be really helpful.The research should be done and the case should be presented clearly. It’s better to support the design decisions with data. One could, for example, use usability research results to back up your choices. Yes, this takes a bit of extra effort, but it’s almost always worth it.

2. Be clear about the Can’s & Cant’s and out-of-scope work:
There’s an easy way one can mitigate the problems caused by bad clients in a project. Some of the most frequent complaints given about design clients have to do with time. Designers gripe that their clients expect them to be time wizards, completing an impossible amount of work in the space of a day, or even mere hours. Though the client wants a rush job or extended labor, but doesn’t want to pay you for your extra time.

So, what do you do? In your project contract (there should always be a contract between you and the client on any project you work on), include a clause which breaks down your expected compensation in the event of a rush job or any overtime work.

Make it very clear to them what they’re asking for and how difficult it is to accomplish, when they want you to redo the web page layout of the site to a two-column layout from a three-column layout, for example. If you’d rather not be stuck doing revision after revision, include a set number that you’ll allow each client to have.

Be specific about the project’s deliverables and outcomes, and protect yourself by having a solid terms and conditions agreement in the event of out-of-scope work.

3. Regular updates
You may not know at what point of time your client realizes that he would have wanted a different design and interface. Updating them from time to time and getting their ‘go ahead’ can work on your part of the obligations in the contract.

4. Be innovative
Most clients prefer a unique output on their project. Garner your talents and experience to create a new idea. While sometimes this may be a risk, it sets a higher standard on your credentials in most cases. However, you need to work closely with the client and understand his thought process.

5. Make Sure Your Portfolio Represents Your Business
You want to make sure that every single piece of work in your portfolio is tailored to the needs of your ideal client. In a lot of ways, this helps in making sure that you work with people that best matches the way you work, acting as a sort of filter and preventative medicine against clients that you might not work well with.

If you’re trying to attract a higher-caliber client, you’ll need to adjust your portfolio accordingly. If you work well with programmers/coders, have a portfolio that caters to this group of people. If you prefer dealing with small-sized businesses or startup companies as opposed to Fortune 500 companies, build a portfolio that is attractive and focused on the needs and wants of these businesses.

6. Always be open to change
When it comes to making changes in your project or design, do not be rigid. Keep your project fluid so that new ideas or last minute changes can be introduced. Keep them in loop by sending a quick email to update them with any new changes and feedback.

7. Predict Their Needs
Large companies have their own analysts to predict marketing needs as well as CTOs and IT managers to make sure their technology is up to date and scales with their demands.

Small and local businesses, on the other hand, rely a lot on their own experience and usually don’t have the luxury of having expert assistance from specialists. For example, the restaurant next door might need an advertising leaflet and know it, and their current design might look unprofessional or lack certain things that would attract more customers. The same goes for their website — if they even have one.

8.Grant Them Privileges
Awesome clients should be rewarded for their cooperation and constructive criticism. If you’re interested in establishing long-term relationships, inform your clients of the ongoing benefits that come from collaborating with you.Offer discounts to those who choose your services a second time.

Be understanding and flexible with your pricing and payment methods for clients who have always been punctual with payments and trusting of your ideas.Let them know they’re at the top of your list and that you cater to their needs first. Appreciating good customers will benefit your relationships, build trust and serve as a marketing gesture.

9. Don’t Neglect Them
No one likes to feel forgotten. Your clients want to know they can rely on you, now and in the future. Upon delivery and during the first stages of CMS troubleshooting, communication between the web professional and the client usually fades. This is less of a problem when you are maintaining the website for the customer, because you have to be in touch about every update.

Be in touch with your clients a couple of times per year at least, regardless of the type of work you did for them. Holidays provide a good opportunity to show customers that you remember them, and you can combine a couple of work-related matters with a friendly “best wishes” email or phone call.

And finally…

10. Stay calm
Being calm means that you maintain your rationale and help the client to remain calm also. They do not we want to appear unreasonable, some however just won’t care and will disagree or complain, but you can at least conduct yourself in a professional manner. Don’t take it personally; it’s business.

Key points

 

  • Adopt a professional manner at all times
  • A positive attitude goes a long way, see the demand as a challenge not an obstacle
  • Managing the perception of the demanding client enables you work within the constraints
  • Being motivated leads to better productivity, higher energy and greater enthusiasm
  • Always communicate even if there is no news – be diplomatic
  • Stay calm and in control when dealing with pressure or disagreements
  • Reserve surprises for birthdays and festive periods
  • Anticipate the needs of your client
  • Never make assumptions, work with facts
  • Really get to know your client
Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
Hussain Fakhruddin
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