A Unique Project Experience Leads To a Happy Client

Illustration by Raff Marqs

Every new project is exciting and we’re all counting the minutes for a new client to arrive and a new project to start. Different clients, goals and ways to do the work always bring different results.

Like us, you probably can’t wait until you finish your work and share to the world the great results you achieved in this new project. Even though a good project result makes a client happy, their happiness is usually part of a bigger experience.

Experience X Results

Results are what you show to the world. It’s what you showcase in your portfolio and what you deliver in the final files for the client. Your client will be satisfied with the results if they are around or above what he expected, but what they will most remember from you is the experience they had.

The client reached you looking for a result, he paid you to deliver this determined result and you delivered it as he needed. Looks like a happy ending story isn’t it? Not always. That’s why you must always ask yourself:

– How was the experience this client had with you? — How did you handle the expectations, the milestones and deadlines of the project? — How were your communication and your relationship with this client?

– Was he open about his business and did he found you as a solution for his problems or did he order things with a narrow mindset?

The Result is what the client is paying you for. The experience is what will make your work remarkable for them.

Developing the Proper Experience

A client will always remember how good or bad it was working with you, what will result in referrals or not in the future. Because of that, the experience you offer to your clients should be part of your work process. Have you ever thought how often you should communicate to your client? How will you present a proposal, an update of the project or even the result of it?

Everything in your process is related to that experience. Since the first contact until the follow-ups you do after you finished the project, all of them need to empower your brand and your work.

To develop a great experience with your clients, you should start by putting yourself on their shoes. Imagine you are hiring yourself. What would be great to have on each step of the development of the project? Imagine how impressed you would be if you received a detailed proposal instead of a single number inside an email response. How would you like to view the results of a project, how often would like to know how the project is going? It always starts with an inside reflection of what you’re doing, how you are doing and how you can improve it.

We can easily compare this experience with a restaurant experience. Imagine you went to a restaurant, ordered the food, and received the food as expected or even better than you imagined… You should probably think it was great, right? But this was the result. You paid for it, and you should, at least, receive your expectations. But, how long did you wait until the waiter come to your table? Did he saw you when you raised your arms to ask for something? Was the place clean? Were the drinks could enough? How long did you wait until your food arrive? And to receive the bill? Was it a noisy place or as noisy as you should expect? Where the chairs comfortable enough?

Boom! Lots of things are involved in that Experience. You can go to the restaurant and eat a great food, but you can’t guarantee you will come back.

We can go even deeper and say that, imagine that you paid the same amount for a food a little less tasty than the first one, but the place was beautiful and clean. The waiter was gentle and was always there whenever you needed, with you an eye-contact of distance. And if your food took a little longer to be done, but you won a free sample of another item in the menu? I can guarantee without a doubt that if the final output is really similar, the overall experience will count more for you than the main result — the food, in that case.

Clear Communication

In the design field, most of the experiences your clients will have with you are related to communication. Especially if you’re a freelancer and do remote work, communication is the key for building a great experience because it brings security and helps build trust.

  • Start by communicating you process. Let your clients know what are the steps, the limits and each one role so you provide high-quality work and deliver the result are looking for.
  • Create the right expectations. Communicate clearly about what you should be delivering to your client in a certain week, how he can expect to receive something for feedback, how he should provide a good feedback that will help you to improve the work and how you will keep him updated about the progress of the project.
  • Solve doubts. Client’s aren’t usually from our field and therefore, they may have some questions or they can be unclear about certain aspects of the project. Listen to him, and solve any doubt he has. Make him feel safe with what’s going on. Security is vital for your client’s happiness.
  • Speak their language. Nothing is worst than talking to someone that assumes you know some words and expressions that you may never have heard before. Don’t go too technical when talking to your client. Try to use the same language he used with you, to explain a concept. If this isn’t possible you can also teach him by relating something he said to the proper term, but always try to be clear and as understandable as possible.

Build Relationships Based on Trust

A good experience makes the client more likely to trust you and your work. You must develop an experience where your client can feel safe all the time working with you. There’s nothing worst than hiring someone and not knowing if this person will be able to meet your requirements or what the results of the project will be.

Your Client’s fear is your worst enemy and your job is to eliminate any chance of that feeling.

Start to think how your experience with your client can be built since the beginning. It’ll make your clients trust you and you will see great relationships being created around it.

The experience clients have with you, will be what they will be talking with their friends, and most of the time, the reason to refer a new potential client for you. We trust brands and professionals we had a great relationship before. People are more aligned to buy from someone they trust and someone they had a good experience before. This overwhelming experience not only guarantees you a happy client but also new and recurring ones.

Originally published at mowestudio.com on December 23, 2015

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