One of the most typical issues being faced by various web designers and developers today is over demanding, irrational and eccentric clients. At times their demands and requirement set is so out of the box that designers are left with no other option but to sigh in despair and throw their hands up in the air. However an efficient relationship between the client and service providers (web designer or developer) plays an important role in the long term growth and development of both the parties involved. It gets quite stressful and unhealthy when the client is so irrational with his demands and more often than not, it not only affects the business but the entire health of the relationship. In this write up we discuss the 5 effective steps you can take, as a service provider, in order to communicate in a better way with the clients and effectively manage the demands which simply are not feasible at all.
As unsettling as it may sound, but the fact remains, designers and developers hail from a different background altogether, as compared to the clients and though you both may stick together and try and develop a synergistic, symbiotic bond, the truth remains, you two are not the part of the same culture, same world! This is the basis of all the miscommunication and unfavorable forces which comes into the picture. Most of the clients have the irrational demands, simple because they fail to understand the other world altogether. And mostly when a clash happens, it is not the clash of the service provider and the clients, it is the clash of two different subcultures altogether. As a designer, you must understand that you are not just a developer or a designer but also a “service provider”. Take it as a task to get familiarize with the nature of the business the client is operating in. Perform a thorough background research of the client and start speaking the language of the client. You don’t have to completely change yourself for each of the clients, you would wither yourself out that ways, but what you can do is learn the corporate jargon of the clients and utter certain words which are sure to connect a chord with the clients. As they say, well begun is half done and if you set up a chord with the clients in the initial phases, you are sure to go ahead a long path of mutual success and benefits with the clients.
Most of the clients get irrational in their demands simply because they have over confidence in the designers. You need to explain it to them that building a website or a web application is not a magic show and you are just humans and not some magicians. If the demand is simply out of the box (and at times completely frivolous and irrelevant), demonstrate it to them that inculcating such a feature in the website will only cause the wastage of time. You must provide them with an example, either explain the same in a presentation / report or try using various platforms to demonstrate the same. If you do not demonstrate, the clients would only consider it as your fall out or incompetency. And even after the demonstration, the client still wishes to stick with the idea, then you would have to budge, or perhaps one of the following other points may crack the deal.
After all, your clients are entrepreneurs and solving issues is what they do all the day. When you are representing the flaw in the idea, through let’s say a Power-Point presentation, instead of totally negating the idea, you can offer another solution which somewhat delivers the same result and is more feasible and cost effective. Besides, treat your clients as friends and while perfectly remaining in the boundaries of professionalism, discuss with them in a friendly way, what all are the obstacles and how one can by pass them. Mostly, clients act irrational and over demanding, simply because they don’t have a clue that they are being over demanding. If you communicate effectively with them, the pitfalls of their demand, they might come up with a better solution. You might be a pro with designing, but when it comes to management skills, you can learn a lot from them, even if it means managing the design related problems.
Being though provocative, yet staying very much in the bounds of reality seems to be the mantra today. As designer you must realize it is imperative to dare to be different, be creative and out of the box, yet remain very much in the bounds of reality. After all, again – this is no magic show! What one can do as a designer is to create a folder of random ideas for their clients. Since they are completely random, there is no pressure and stress to follow each on of it. However, the random folder demands serious and rapt attention. Whenever your client comes up a random idea, a random demand or anything in that regard, he will put the same in the random folder and you can then view it and review it against your capabilities and potential, in order to see if it is a feasible option. This step works extremely well for an in house web development team.
There is noting more captivating and enduring about a working professional than the trust he has in his own capabilities. Be it any relationship – personal or professional, interpersonal forces play an important role. Whenever the client comes up with an idea, which is not yet tested and common, yet is captivating and anew, greet it with enthusiasm and confidence. Having self confidence in your own capabilities makes your clients trusts you too. They believe that if you say some thing is too irrational and a waste of effort and time, they will believe it. Thus they key obviously lies in having bundles of self confidence, walking that extra mile to ensure that clients are satisfied, pushing your boundaries far, in order to confound the varying needs and yet never being afraid to say no!
It can be an intimidating and daunting task to manage the clients and deal with their irrational expectations. And regardless of how oppressive it may be, it is important anyway. Practice the above mentioned points without fail and at the same time develop the attitude to give more value for the money to your clients, and if you practice that, you will be able to enjoy a set of loyal customers and clients.
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