Dealing with last minute change requests is tough, especially if you are a web designer having to deal with a fuzzy client on the other end.
It could be a simple change in the web design color or maybe they have a whimsical idea of having an audio clip play over the website during Christmas. Whatever it may be, this could mean a huge list of changes that you know will never reach the deadline. It also means that your holiday is ruined.
Big Mess Ahead Right?
Wrong! There is still time and you can fix it by being a little bit smart. When it comes to dealing with client requests, every situation is unique. Here’s a list of guide that can come handy for you if you are a freelance designer who needs a little bit of help in situations like this.
- Explanation is the Best Solution
For situations like this, it is always best to stay calm and positive. Explain to your client why it is not possible to make the changes and what solution you have in context to the situation. Make your response solution oriented so as not to complicate your business-client relationship.
It is more than likely that the client will value your professional input and will agree to what you have suggested.
- Factual Data in case if the Client is Stubborn
If your client is a hard headed person, then it is best to show the client why you think your solution is the best. You can also provide reputable sources such as use of proper white space, the layout, design to name a few. Ask them to spend a few minutes to go through these sources so that they can be assured that your decision is completely understandable and genuine.
- Being Pretty does not often Count
Most of the customers are concerned about how a website looks. Well, designing a good looking website will not always help them. Why? That’s because the ultimate aim of a website design is to guide a customer to what he or she is looking for. If you need to explain this to a stubborn client then it is best to design mockup and use it to explain to your client why you think your decision or opinion would be better.
There is Another Way you can Prevent Unnecessary Revisions
- Clearly articulate What Revision is All About
It is always better to articulate to your client what a round of revision is. Now most clients are unaware about it, especially those who are unfamiliar with design jargons. Therefore, take the time to specify the initial estimate and legal contract to your client.
This would help to keep the client feedback in control after the first design version had been sent to the client. So once a design mockup is sent, the client will have a certain number of days to send in their feedback. So once their ideas, comments, questions are consolidated, the designer or the design team will close the first round of feedback.
- Clearly specify the Number of Rounds
It is important to articulate the number of rounds of revisions that a client can have. This should be articulated both in the legal contract as well as in the initial estimate. This is an important step to building a good client relationship. The more transparent and upfront you are in business, the less confused or disappointed would your client become.
- Keep the Client Informed about Each Design Phase
It is always important that you keep the client in loop in every stage of your design process. This will prevent any kind of misunderstanding in the design process.
This may turn out to be a little bit of a lengthy process but following an iterative process is comparatively faster than the process of completing the entire project and then having to retrace back to identify any need for change.
Besides, apart from keeping the client informed at every step, it helps the designer to structure their work and manage revisions.
- Inform how each Change Request would be Considered Extra Work
Your client might not be aware of the major revisions that you as a designer will have to go through. That is why, you need to give them upfront examples in order to make them understand. For example – if you are asked to change the position of a text or the images, then that also means change of layout. Any kind of change could be a major revision.
Include the specifics in both your legal contract and in the initial estimate before sending it to your client. Of course, sometimes it is impossible to include any of these change requests somewhere in the middle or major. As a designer, it is your job to educate the client along the way.
- Admit if You are Truly at Fault
Design is a truly subjective matter, which we as designers often tend to misunderstand. Incase if your design does not meet the expectation of the client, then it is your responsibility to apologize for it. Ensure that you get it right but do not count that as part of the revision round.
The revision could be hard or costly, however, it will help to protect your client-business relationship. You know how that really matters. It is therefore best to ask the client the right questions. You can use a visual brief to understand what the client is expecting or wants from you. Adjust any kind of discrepancies before you come to the conclusion.
- Put a Stop When Needed
There are times when enough is enough. If a client does not comply with what they are agreeing to the already agreed contract, then it is time you need to start protecting your legal boundaries. As long as you have clearly communicated your message upfront, you have a basis to stop calling for endless revisions.
Managing client relationship is very delicate matter. Your ultimate goal should be to do the best of your capabilities in order to ensure that the client remains happy and to create a piece of work that you could be able to showcase in your business portfolio. It is up to you know whether to take queue from these ideas and develop good client-business relationship.
Image Courtesy: Pixabay.com