The key to having the best clients is communication. Here are some things to always keep in mind:
- Many clients have little or no experience doing the work they have hired you to do. In other words, development may as well be sorcery.
- Most people don’t work in collaborative environments and have no idea how to offer constructive feedback.
Actionable tips on communicating with clients
- Set boundaries early. Let the client know your workflow and when they’re invited to contribute. Managing expectations is key.
- Communicate early and often. Taking the lead on communication with good info is a huge way to keep clients happy. They just want to know things are going well.
- Be receptive. When it comes time, take a step back from your work and be open to your client’s feedback.
- Use feedback as fuel. Use your client’s opinions as a way to better understand different perspectives of what people want – especially those outside our bubble of internet professionals.
- Take time to educate your client. If you don’t agree with the feedback, help break down the issue. In the end, if you can explain the situation, they’ll be even more confident in you.
- Keep it simple. The ability to break down complex systems and problems for clients in a way that is easy to digest should make them more inclined to defer to you in future.
Presenting the world’s strongest word: ‘Because’
Hearing “I don’t like it” after pouring blood, sweat, and tears into something is just gutting. Where most people go wrong is failing to realize the opportunity. If your client says they “don’t like it,” ask them to rephrase their feedback using ‘because’ after every point. This gives you a portal into why your client feels how they do, and will save you time and headaches in the long-run. Guaranteed.
There are (almost) no clients from hell
Having good clients is really just alchemy. Use negative feedback to make your work stronger. If you want to work with only the best people, start by helping your clients become better. Take every client interaction as a chance to be the best professional you can be.