Whether you work as a freelance or part of a team, at some point in your career, you should talk to the client.
Good communication with your client is essential to ensure the success of the project and obtain results with which both parties are satisfied.
Communication with your client may vary depending on the project and the specific client you are working with. With certain clients, it will be easier for you to work and achieve effective communication, while not with others. However, the goal is to achieve good communication with your client regardless of the project.
Since both parties must be involved, communication depends on both. But you must do everything possible to improve communication with your client, so it can be considered as if much of the responsibility lies with you. Depending on the client, you must modify your strategy, but here are some basic guidelines to improve communication with your client.
• Explain the design process in general terms
As a web and app developer and designer, you are familiar with the design process, but it is quite likely that your client does not. Unless you apply “Design Thinking” as a methodology in your business. And even then, there are certain peculiarities about the design process that the client cannot imagine. For this reason, it is an excellent idea to explain to your client what the design process entails and establish its participation throughout this process.
It is not necessary to explain all the details related to the design process, but rather to mention the different phases in which it is divided and comment on the main objectives and tasks that are developed at each stage. With a brief explanation, your client can have a clearer idea of everything that involves designing a website and app.
• Learn to communicate your ideas
You must learn to explain certain ideas to your clients and colleagues. It is in this way that a simple paper sketch can evolve to a more accurate representation of a website. However, you must offer the client some sketches to verify if they agree with the idea.
Otherwise, problems may arise in more advanced stages of the process and as a result, the design would take longer than originally planned.
When you are face to face with a client, it may be easier to explain your ideas because you can make hand gestures, as well as use a pencil and paper to represent your ideas. However, if you are working as a freelance and the client is geographically away from you and it is impossible to make an appointment face to face, then you have to resort to other means such as email, videoconferences, and calls. Currently, it is possible to communicate with your client using the internet, it is not necessary to spend more than necessary, you can use Skype to contact your client through calls.
Since you will not be with your client face to face, you have to use other means to explain your ideas. You can make sketches, scan them and send them to your client as attachments or record the screen of your computer in the video conference to be able to explain your ideas to the client using sketches and references.
• Support the decisions you have made
In careers such as web and app design or development, it happens very often that the client makes certain suggestions that cannot be right because they are not based on the client’s knowledge about end-users, but rather are suggestions made based on personal preferences. In some cases, the client may insist a lot on certain changes because he is sure it will look good.
The client may not approve of certain decisions you have made about the design and insist that the changes he has requested be made. If such changes are not suitable for the website, then you must guide the client and explain exactly why. You can also support your decisions by briefly explaining the reason why they were taken in the first place. In this way, the client can decide to yield on the changes that he wishes to make to the design or simply to understand clearly why certain design decisions have been made.
• Be willing to answer questions
In your career as a designer, you will meet a series of clients. The vast majority will likely ask questions about your design process or some other details about project management because they are interested. While other clients may not be encouraged to ask questions because they want you to take care of everything or they don’t know very well what their role is in the process.
It is normal for clients to have doubts throughout the project and as a designer, you must be able to answer them. Make yourself available to your customers to answer any questions that arise. Customers should be aware of your work schedule so that if they send an email with some late questions, they know they must wait until the other day to receive an answer.
• Specify the details of the process in the contract
While it is good to explain to the client about the procedure in general in the first meetings, the process in more detail can be described in the contract that you have prepared for the client. In this way, if the client has doubts, he can review the contract. It serves to avoid future problems because if the contract includes the process in detail and to what extent your tasks are extended, then the client knows that he will have to pay an extra cost if he requests another service.
The contract is extremely useful to specify all your responsibilities, as well as those of the client. In this contract, you can detail the hours in which you answer emails, if you will receive and accept calls without prior appointment, the number of revisions you accept in each phase, the cost of each additional review, etc.
Although you can find various types of clients and it is easier to communicate effectively with some of them, the advice we mentioned can be very helpful if you implement them in your strategy.
Ricky Brown is an energetic content strategist and marketer at App Development Companies, the platform that helps you to find best IT Partner for your app, web and software requirements across the globe.