Is there no good customer? Customer is the worst part of the job? You need to know some truths about the other side of the force.
If you are a designer, you know you are not alone in your job. To carry out your work you need an audience and, fortunately for some or unfortunately for others, a client.
But is the customer this boogeyman so feared by the creatives? Or is part of the problem also on the other side of the coin, that is, the designer himself?
Truth be told, the contracted and contracted relationship is practically the same in any business transaction. And in the field of Design is not much different. The relationship in the creative field has its peculiarities, but it also depends on common sense and balance, as any human relationship.
Therefore, this article comes to demystify this distorted view on the client and give some tips on how the work can flow in a much better way.
And before you think this post was written by someone who works in the care and is pulling sardines to your side, it was not. I’m a designer (yeah!), And incredible as it may seem, I’m not going to defend the client, but help you defend yourself and maintain a healthy relationship and put on the street a great job.
Let’s go to the tips:
1 – Leave the laziness aside and put everything described in the budget and contract
Has a legal proposal arrived for you and the client asked for the budget? Hold your anxiety in responding and write down a very detailed budget. Your client needs to know how you work and what may or may not affect the costs and deadlines of the job. Tell him what his responsibilities are (costs for image purchases, content submission, deadlines for approval) and break the work down into steps so you’ll avoid surprises if your client has not been able to express himself well at first.
After the approved budget, create a valid online agreement.
2 – Set limits
Make it clear that each work step has a limit of changes, and all of them within the scope. Changes that extrapolate this limit may instead have an additional cost (after all you have calculated your working hours) to combine. And “changes” that are in fact a complete project, with a change of briefing, deserve to be considered a new project. But always make this VERY CLEAR in your budget and in your conversation with the client.
You will not want a customer upset with a professional who did not make it clear how the creative work system worked. Not everyone is used to it.
And this also avoids customers who come with bad intentions from the beginning.
3 – Your client is on your side. He is not your enemy.
From the moment the customer orders some Design service he is saying the following:
“Please help me find a solution.”
That is, your client knows the problems and difficulties that are facing. And yes, he probably knows his audience better than you do. And you are responsible for taking that information and shine in creating visual and design solutions.
Your client may even look a little square, but trust me, your information is valuable. Do not ignore them.
4 – Talk to the client like a good doctor would talk to you
You have a nuisance on your feet, an ugly little thing on your skin. Go to the doctor and receive the following news: you have a dermatophytosis of the Tinea Pedis type.
You open your eyes and ask the doctor if you are serious and how long you have to live, until you find out that it was a simple chill.
No one likes “technicians”. Excessive use of technical terms outside their natural habitat frightens rather than impresses. Try to explain to your client the design nomenclatures and do not expect him to already have this knowledge beforehand.
5 – Your client needs to understand the value of your work
Do you know what will happen when you are clear with your client? He will understand the value of his work and will recognize that the budget he approved really paid off. And will remember you in the next projects.
This is not to say that the world of client-designer relationship will turn the colorful world of the first approvals, but it will make, after the approved and published design, everyone will get satisfied, from both sides. Oh, and the final audience, too, preferably.
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6 – Not every customer is worth it
Defend yourself from fake customers. If the project looks stuck since the proposal, skip out. Did that “do before I pay” competition look strange? Reject. Did the customer say the other designer paid less than half the amount? Explain the reason for its price and tell us what’s next.
You, like every professional, must defend your work and recognize its quality. Make use of your years of experience, your faculty, your creativity and technique. Get away from the traps.
7 – Be fair
Not just the whining customers is the market. Designers who charge quite irregular values without a pricing criterion (value-hour, value per project, size of the client, quality of their projects) also has to the hills. Of course there is a variation in the time to give values to the jobs, but believe me, it is not random.
The bad thing about creating a random price is that sometimes you can get along and sometimes you can get hurt by going out of your way. And on the other hand, by charging too much, you may lose the opportunity to have a legal customer paying well, just because you have charged so much above the market that you have been discarded.
8 – Do not complain about the past. Perfect the future.
This topic is not a self-help book name. But it’s advice on the issues you’ve had with clients in the past. Instead of crying, notice what the problem was and protect yourself in the next few times.
Was it excessive changes? Put a limit on changes in your budget. Was it a default? Divide the payment by 50/50, with half the pay to start the job and half to deliver the final project. Have you been a designer? Defend your creations by explaining the whys of everything (okay, it sucks as hell defending why the font is light or the paper is white), but it helps your client understand that you are not a pixel valet.
Simply observe the problems and turn them into solutions. You already do this yourself as a designer …
9 – You are also someone’s customer
Just remembering that already makes us rethink some attitude.
10-Always do your best
Want to make a good customer come back? Work well. That simple.
But working well is not just about creating a nice project. It is to think of the details, how to organize the files, meet deadlines, talk with the client, get feedback from the project (ask if the result was legal with the public).