Client relationships

Want to avoid soul crushing endless changes to your work? This post will tell you how to improve design client relationships and decrease the amount of rounds of amends and changes.

Understand your design client's needs

Start by really understanding the client’s needs and doing your best to resolve their problem. You’ll likely receive less rounds of amends if you actively listen to the client and aim to achieve their goals rather than producing a piece of design for Dribble.

Ask what they want to achieve with the change:
It’s our job to guide clients through the design process. Don’t expect them to instinctively know why a design choice works or not. When you ask them why they want to make the change you can understand their motivation and perhaps prescribe a better solution. 
At Bridge Studio we always make it clear to our clients that we’re here provide solutions to their problems. Rather than them wasting their time by trying to provide a solution such as picking an exact colour we ask them what they are trying to achieve with that change. Once we know that we can resolve the problem and sometimes we can create a better solution to the one prescribed by the client.  

Onboard clients properly

When the client sees you have a tight process, this increases their trust in you and they will be less tempted to give you subjective changes. Give them a clear structure for giving feedback. For example, “At this point in the project we’d like to know if the moodboard represents our brand values and its general style & tone of voice will connect with our audience?”. The client is much more likely to give you sensible feedback if you follow this path rather than asking them, “Do you like it, yeah?” similar to how your nephew Timmy would ask his mother does she like his latest drawing.

Set objective design goals

Following on from the previous point, feedback becomes easier to deal with if you have collaboratively set goals for the project. You can then have a sensible discussion about whether something achieves its goals rather than arguing if something is "nice" or not.

Set limits

Clearly state how many rounds of changes will be made for free for each deliverable, then after that sate how the extra changes will be charged. Also, make it clear how many changes have been made at each point so there are no surprise extra costs.

Improve your client relationship by being flexible

Use your common sense when charging for extra rounds of amends. Own up if you have made a mistake and change it for free. If the client makes an honest mistake and it’s easy to change, don’t charge them for this, a bit of good will goes a long way.

It’s the clients project and money

Sometimes you’ll be in a situation when you’ve applied the above tips and the client is still micromanaging you. At this point you can accept that this is how the client will always act and finish the project or return the client’s money and recommend another designer to them. At the end of the day it’s their party and they can cry if they want to. 

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