Keeping your client happy is way more difficult than keeping your spouse happy. It takes patience, respect, love, discipline and most importantly, tolerance. A client is very much like your child. If you don’t give him what he wants, he will throw a tantrum. But the sad part is that unlike a child, he does not depend on you. He will go knock another door to get his work done.
Although it sounds like a difficult task to keep the client happy at all times, it is a fairly simple practice. That is if you follow some rules in your organization like being on time or setting priorities. A lot of our clients have mentioned time and again that more than the final output, they have loved our service. So we decided to share some golden tips on how to keep a client happy.
A short note: We are writing this from experience, not just making things up. We like to call ourselves a client-first agency (if that is a thing).
#1 It’s not about pleasing
Don’t become a client-pleaser. Just make sure that you don’t give him a chance to shout, storm off or get pissed at you.
More than keeping him happy, focus on not making him unhappy.
It is actually very simple. Just requires some interpersonal skills. When you start a project with a client, make things clear as water. Talk about the problems that may arise in the future. It’s like having a roommate. You have to set some ground rules if you want to live peacefully.
#2 Listen first
You are selling a service and your client is buying it. So, basically, he is your customer. And you should always listen to your customer patiently.
How many times have you called the customer care office for a product that you bought? Have you ever noticed how politely they speak to you and listen to your problems (or sometimes your complaints) patiently? Even if you are bloody rude to them, they will suck up their dignity and solve your problem with a smile (mostly fake) on their face.
Anyhow, we are not telling you to suck up your dignity, because we don’t think you will ever screw up the client that bad. The point is to listen patiently to whatever he has to say.
Put yourself in your client’s shoes to understand where he is coming from.
Sometimes he might have unreasonable demands like make the logo bigger or deliver 50 illustrations in a day. At such times, take a deep breath and remind yourself that he does not know a thing about graphic design, that is why he has come to you in the first place. And it is your job to make him understand that quick work is cheap and full of faults, great things take hard work and time and a logo can’t be bigger than the main message.
#3 Set priorities
The client’s job is to assign you the work. He does not care how you do it. That is your headache. Don’t expect him to understand things like your designer had a medical emergency or something urgent came up. He is not your friend. He is paying you money and he will have a problem if you don’t deliver on time.
Just like you don’t give a f*** when your cable is not working. You paid the damn bill and you want to see your favourite show right now, no matter what.
So, set your priorities. Make a list and assign deadlines to tasks.
Set yourself a deadline which is earlier than what your client has given you.
Tell your team what is to be done and by when. Even if takes your precious weekend, do it. Commitment always pays off in the end.
Don’t instruct your team like they are your slaves. Tell them why it is important. The more you include them in management, the more they understand and cooperate. And don’t put a stick up your employees’ a** if they are sick. Instead, find a way to get the work done.
#4 Don’t resist change
Clients are best known to ask for changes. Make the color a little warmer, make it look more professional or this is not what I am looking for.
You might be making the design, but your client is the one who will be using it and seeing it every day. At these times, use your own discretion. We are not saying that you should do everything that he says, but do not reject his suggestions right away.
Try to reach a middle ground. He might not be using the right words to convey exactly what he wants, but all he wants is to make things better. Just like you do.
If you feel his demand is totally unreasonable and contradicts the principles of good design, then educate him. Tell him why you think your version is better and why it will work.
You don’t tell a doctor to change the medicine that he has prescribed just because you don’t like the taste. The doctor always wants the best for you. So tell the client that you want the best for him and this is your final decision. But if he still insists, give him his version.
Let your client have multiple options as he wants, tell him which one you prefer, and then leave the final decision to him.
There might be a little more things to ensure your client’s happiness, but we are sure you will figure them out on your own. After all, it’s about trial and error. With time, you will know what kind of behaviour brings back your clients and what kind makes them bitch behind your back.
Now, go finish that project, will you?