Do you often have a difficult time retaining your clients?
Business essentially is all about dealing with people. When running a design firm or design business, your success largely hinges on strong client relationship.
Exceptional level of service coupled with excellent work and great client relationship are the primary reasons for success behind a majority of the design firms. If you are struggling to create and sustain a solid relationship with your clients, this blog post is for you.
Here are 10 keys to a successful Client/ Design Company Relationship
1. Be Patient :
When it comes to developing a client relationship, it is important to understand it takes time. Take time to learn about your client and also share a bit of your company and yourself. Again, you need to invest lot of time and effort in building a healthy relationship and give your client as much access to you and your business as possible. Besides, always remember, at the end of the day it is all about meeting work expectations as no amount of personal bonding or connection can substitute for good work.
2. Open & Effective Communication :
Clear and open communication lays down the strong foundation of the client relationship. From every aspect of your design project right from the first introduction meeting to your end project delivery, great communication goes a long way in forming a successful client relationship. Even tricky situations can be resolved easily when you have the ability to communicate your message clearly and effectively without any uncertainty.
In the present time, there are many ways to keep in touch with your clients from phone calls to social media, to emails, or even the traditional paper mail. Whichever way you chose to connect with the client, just ensure you have clear communications that build a friendly and communicative relationship.
Here is an example of Testimonial received by David Airey (a graphic designer specializing in brand identity and logo design) The idea is your design agency needs to treat your clients
with care and get under their skin to give them the best possible results. By investing time and money in a client relationship can give you repeat business and word-of-mouth promotion.
3. Meet deadlines as promised :
Delivering projects as per the set deadlines is essential to maintain effective client relationships.
When you quote a delivery date, it is good to overestimate than to give yourself lesser time. It will enable you to always meet your deadlines on time and fosters trust. On this Bonner ( an illustrator, designer who has won numerous international awards) stated: “ Successful client relationship is about communicating and delivering on your promises.”
By allowing extra time you open the possibility of delivering the project before the committed deadline which is bound to win your client and make him happy. Besides, your client will be satisfied with your work efficiency. In case, you find things getting delayed due to any reasons, then it is better to inform your client in advance rather than giving your client any kind of nasty surprise later.
4. Be Accountable :
When you are into branding and design, success evaluation is based on either subjective metrics or metrics that can be measured over time. For the design process to succeed, cooperation from both the ends is needed. Clients and design firms need to work together to achieve the desired qualitative and quantitative goals. According to Paul Rand ( art director, a renowned graphic designer) “ At its most basic level, a good client relationship means trust, communication, and accountability”.
Professional responsibility and accountability are essential to streamline work and to ensure the smooth functioning of the projects. Further, candidates involved in handling client account should be aware of their roles and responsibilities so that there are no accountability concerns later. Yes, it is essential that all relevant staff involved in client communication contributes towards the relationship building.
5. Respond promptly :
A great way to build a better client relationship is by responding promptly to your clients. This may sound like a no-brainer but lays the foundation of a strong relation-building. Whenever you receive an email from your client, it is good to always acknowledge receiving the mail.
In many cases, you may not be having the answer to their query and giving the right answer may take time but if you have acknowledged the receipt of their request then your client knows that you are working on it and will get back to them regarding the same in some time. Thus, giving a timely reply is a prerequisite and gives your clients a comfort zone while showing your commitment towards work.
6. Be Transparent :
Transparency is another pillar of strong relationship-building with the clients. Every graphic design firm should embrace transparency by clearly discussing every aspect of the design process. Both parties need to be transparent regarding what can be achieved and what is not possible, it ensures smooth completion of the projects at hand.
Transparency is needed right from the beginning of the process until the end deliverable, you need to be upfront about your work exposure, capabilities, pricing, any additional costs, etc. To ensure transparency, make sure whatever you promise your customer is delivered without any delay else customer might feel cheated and it results in the breach of trust.
7. Share your Knowledge :
Clients hire your design firm or company for your work expertise and knowledge. By sharing your knowledge and applying your skills to a wider area than your client expected you to be capable of can help you gain your client’s confidence. Besides, it also increases your possibility of having a wider scope of projects. Moreover, by sharing your wisdom or knowledge you go beyond being a professional partner and become a guide and advisor. This can help your client take more informed decisions and results in long-term relationships.
8. Keep your Client well-informed :
Mistakes are bound to happen. Mistakes are part of the process and when they do happen, admit it instead of hiding it. Address the issues occurred and try to fix it as quickly as possible. But in case, you are not able to remedy the mistake then you need to openly communicate about it to your client and give them options.
If your client does not agree to the provided option or solution then it is good to give them some concession to compensate or some added services to mitigate the situation. You can win your client’s trust by keeping them updated about the changes good or bad throughout the process.
9. Add a personal touch :
Adding a personal touch to all your client communication enables you in breaking barriers of any kind. At the end of the day, your client on the other side is also a human and will always appreciate any kind of personal touch added to the communication. You can be informal and still very much professional.
Acc to Katy Cowan (managing director at Boomerang) explains, having a friendly conversation with clients is also a way to strengthen the relationship. It’s nice to pop out for a coffee or lunch and chat over some sandwiches. She further said, “Business is about people, and managing this give and take always help in forming a healthy relationship.”
Besides, knowing a client’s personal interests and sharing relevant information regarding same can deepen your personal equation with the client. For instance, if your client is keen to learn about logo design, then sharing the latest information regarding the free logo makers that he or she can use is likely to be well-received always.
10. Thank your customers :
Lastly, thanking your clients for giving your firm an opportunity to work with them or connect with them is a good way to create a positive experience for your customers. Showing gratitude and kindness always helps in engaging your customers for the long term.
I am sure, the listed key tips will help you in forming an enduring relationship with your clients. And will make your transition from a service partner to a trusted partner.
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