Educating Your Clients…

Have you ever thought, why an uneducated client is also an unhappy client? What brings in this dissatisfaction in clients coupled with unreal expectations?

How it all began…

One beautiful evening, while sipping my coffee and thinking about my experience with my previous client; I received a call from a long-lost friend. My new client was a friend from the college who was always on good terms with me. But, I never got any positive vibes from him though.

He hired me and quickly handed over all the designing part to me. It all started with sweet words and praises for me. I wasn’t sure if he meant them. (You’re likely to face similar situation some or the other time in your career.)

Without talking much, we agreed on working together. Mistake #1.

The Project…

The specifications were pretty clear and easy. I thought I could do the work in a jiffy. Mistake #2.

The Change…

There was something definitely not right between us. There were very little communication and no planning at all. He left me alone in the middle of the project and showed no interest. He held me responsible for every little thing. I felt like a personal assistant to him more than a designer.

His expectations started to grow unreal and unreasonable with each passing day. I, obviously found most of his expectations, unreal and out of my scope of work. He thought that we were friends and I was bound to do everything he wanted me to. I started defying his unprofessional attitude.

But, neither of us had thought it would all go this way.

Reality Check…

When these differences grew between us I started avoiding him. I felt like giving up the project and setting myself free. I wasn’t sure of what I was doing. Neither was my client aware of anything.

One of the main reasons for this dissatisfaction and all the unreal expectations is the wrong approach towards the work. A designer and a client must be clear about their parts and their roles and responsibilities. The designer must treat his client professionally. There should be no confusion regarding the work.

At times, the client is unsure of what he wants. Until a client sets up his mind, he will not be able to get his work done in the right direction. A client should keep in mind, his needs and requirements before approaching a designer. The designer must have a proper modus operandi in order to proceed with the project.

Also in the due course of the project, a designer and a client must develop a rapport which makes them understand each other without much to say.

Why do you think it is important to be transparent with your clients?

Even though your client must be your friend, you must never take anyone for granted. Neither you should let them take you for a ride. At times, people also ask for free work and free design which is totally not acceptable.

Having a professional attitude and maintaining transparency at work is very important. Be it your friend or any relative, professionalism helps to maintain a healthy work relationship.

What to expect and what not to expect…

Due to lack of planning and undefined modus operandi, there was an ambiguity regarding the tasks. Mistake #3.

Then, one day, I got a call from my client, he was upset with my work.

My client was an unhappy client.

I was alarmed and shaken.

The Lesson…

When we called off the project, I went into frustration and depression for I was careless for some reason, and I could not forgive myself.

I thought to myself as to what I could have done better to make this project work out.

  1. Communication is the key: There was a lack of proper communication between me and my client. If I involved him more in the project, we would have made it work like it should have otherwise.
  2. Proper planning: Since my client was my friend, I somehow did not work sincerely which reduced my productivity at work.
  3. Definition of roles and responsibilities: Since the roles and responsibilities were not defined well, there were too many unreal expectations which were becoming a burden for me.

Therefore, understanding the client expectations well is like a feather in the cap of a designer. Thus, an uneducated client is an unhappy client because he does not know what he wants. Also, a client who has unreal expectations somehow does not succeed. And as a matter of fact, both the client and the designer/freelancer must work together to achieve the goals.

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