We make our living by designing for clients. However, relying solely on your design skills to earn money will not guarantee you future projects. And that’s how you discover there is more to being a designer.
Keeping your clients happy is an art in itself, involving skills that you acquire with time and experience. It’s something essential to your business that will ensure satisfaction for your client and make your life easier. Follow these few tips to learn how to keep your clients happy while keeping yourself sane.
There is absolutely no need to make unrealistic promises to make this work. If, for example, a client needs something urgently in 4 days and you manage to complete the work in 2 days, that will definitely make a good impression on that client because you gave more than what the person expected from you.
Punctuality on your deadlines is a must, but completing work before the given time
is a bonus your client will learn to appreciate. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, you will be the one to benefit.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to burden yourself trying to over-deliver. If it is something possible just take it as a challenge and give the best in both quality and time.
2. Give advice
Sometimes what is written in a brief may not work for the best of a project. Do not be afraid to tell your client what could be a wrong step. You are a professional. Discuss and inform your client about any doubts you might have and offer your solutions, explaining why it will accomplish better results and positive returns for their business.
A client doesn’t just trust you to deliver files timely manner, but also to recognize what works and what doesn’t. You’ve been hired because you are the one with the design expertise. Therefore, you should not hesitate to give advice and adequate solutions, because it will only account for the good of your client’s brand. And, consequently, their loyalty to your services.
A design brief is sometimes not complete enough to understand your client’s goals and other crucial business information. That’s why you must ask questions to better understand exactly what your client is looking for. Some designers provide questionnaires, which saves time for both parties – but feel free to do this your own way.
During your career you will encounter clients that have no experience working with designers and they are often clueless on what they want. You need to guide them through the project and be clear about how you intend to proceed.
You have to communicate with your client regularly for feedback and make sure you are in sync with their goals. Take time to listen to feedback, because you might have an unhappy client if you don’t – and that’s the last thing you want.
You will need to learn good English, as well, if it’s not your first language. It is a very important tool.
4. Honesty and good manners
This should not be a hassle for you. Honesty is a quality clients value a lot.
You wouldn’t want people to be dishonest with you and it goes both ways. Therefore, be transparent with your invoices by informing your client what they are paying for exactly. Overcharging clients might seem innocent to you, but remember that there are designers that could do the job for a quarter of your fees.
Furthermore, your honesty should not be limited to money. Always notify your clients about stock images and clip-art when they are used (in the right context). Do not steal clip-art and ideas and then claim them to be your own. This could land your client and (mostly) you in trouble.
Remember that communication with your client should never come off as arrogant or disrespectful. Always show good manners and handle feedback and revision requests with maturity.
5. Follow up
Never disappear completely when a project is over. Send emails or call to see how your client is doing with what you provided them. You could have made a brilliant design, but it does not mean that they will know how to use it properly. That is why you should monitor how your work is used. The client will definitely value this and may recommend you to others. That can only be good for your business.
Keeping a client happy is not an exact science. There are some people who are very difficult to satisfy or simply want to take advantage of you. And sometimes you will have to refuse, because there is no point in working with no joy or interest when it comes to graphic design.
Always give your best, be professional and build your experience. If you manage to apply these tips, you will succeed in creating a good client base that appreciates you for who you are and trusts you with future projects.