The life of a web designer can be one of stress and uncertainty. On top of things like deadlines and the need to constantly push the boundaries of creativity and innovation, the professional designer with multiple clients has to be able to satisfy often wide-ranging expectations from different clients at the same time. And that doesn’t even begin to touch upon the labor-intensive process of building the site itself, a procedure which can go on for a long time, as a website is always going to be a continually evolving entity.
With that in mind, here’s a list of a few dos and don’ts that will help you organize your design business and maximize your customer satisfaction rate:
DO: Find out as much as you can about the client
This is the first step in any design process (after securing the business itself, obviously), and it is arguably the most important. Going into any new project clearly requires significant research about the subject matter, but in order to give your clients something above and beyond, you have to dig a little deeper beyond the obvious information.
Ask as many questions as you can about what the client wants to get out of the site, who their target audience is, and what sets them apart from the other companies in their field. Bear in mind, too, that the answers they give you might be more about what they want to be seen as rather than what they really are. This means that you’ll be expected to do additional research to figure out all you can about them, and apply that knowledge accordingly.
DO: Go into initial pitches with a multiple fully-formed ideas in mind
This doesn’t mean that you have to have finished products, but at least have a clear vision for what you think their site should be, and a plan for how to achieve that vision. This is where Webydo can make such a difference, because with their codeless design format, the implementation of your plan is made exponentially easier without the burden of HTML coding for everything the site involves.
It’s also important to have multiple ideas in mind going into a pitch meeting. Even if you think you’ve got a brilliant idea for the client’s site, they might see differently, and won’t be impressed by a lack of any other ideas on your part. Webydo’s community led Participate page is a great forum for brainstorming and bouncing ideas off of other designers in order to give yourself some more ammo going into a planning session.
DON’T: Try to impose your will
This might be the hardest of any of the items in this list, because so often when we’re going through the creative process, it’s easy to look idealistically at the ideas you come up with. But even though you have experience and the creativity that your client doesn’t (after all, why else would you have been hired?), it’s important to keep in mind that vital aspect of business relationships: the customer is always right.
That being said…
DON’T: Be afraid to speak up when you’re right
Again, you’ve been hired to do this job because you’re an expert in the field, so make sure you put that expertise to good use. When you know that a client is clearly wrong in their strategy for implementing their new site, it’s your obligation to educate them about why your plan is the better one. For example, if you want to incorporate Webydo’s responsive design capabilities, but the client wrongfully thinks that they’re better off with a mobile redirect, you then have an obligation to help steer them down the right path.
DO: Give yourself enough time on deadlines
We all want to be the superstar designer or developer who can turn a project around in record time, but the ultimate way to garnering more business is to meet reasonable deadlines. As in any business or even personal relationships, managing expectations of the people you work with/for is what makes them coming back to you and sending referrals for new business your way.
DON’T: Focus exclusively on one project
The surest way to let your design business grow stale is to put all your eggs in one basket by getting wrapped up in one or two projects and neglecting acquisition and development of new business. Here, too, is where Webydo comes in so handy, because of its user interface that allows the designer to toggle back and forth between the different projects that he or she may be working on at the moment.
Obviously every design project you encounter over the course of your business will invariably come with its own unique set of challenges. The most important, aside from keeping all of these dos and don’ts in mind, is to simply be as flexible as possible. A designer who caters to the needs of his or her clients and manages to satisfy them under a variety of different circumstance is one that will continue to get more new business.
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