To finish up our topic of all the things you should do after a project is over, I once again turn to you and the questions you’ve been asking me. Here goes!
You talked about evaluating ourselves and our performance…should we also do that for the client?
I don’t think you can rate a client per say but it’s definitely worth keeping notes of the habits of the client. If a client takes ages to come back to you on decisions then it’s wroth noting for the future. If your client was easier to get hold of through email then say, on the phone that’s worth noting.
I think when it comes to clients there’s two very dangerous mindsets to get into. The first is that ‘they are your boss’. They aren’t. The client/supplier relationship is different and although sometimes it can be very transactional generally you want to be acting like a doctor, advising them on the best course of action and trying to make them better. It’s hard if you need the money, but there’s a difference between ‘going that extra mile’ and just bending over.
The second is the sort of ‘me versus them’ mentality. A lot of suppliers sort of have this vision of a perfect client and the second someone doesn’t live up to that it becomes almost a battle in their mind. They need to try and put their creative twist on something. They need to have their way and every little and often reasonable change is a great barrier to overcome.
With most clients you simply don’t know what 80% of their day is like and it’s quite possible that you are not top of their agenda. I don’t think you should rate them but certainly flag up potential issues.
What sort of things should you be looking for when reviewing in terms of shaping and growing your business?
Obviously you want to look for trends of where your customers are finding you, and the sorts of projects that go well. One thing that I often look for when working with clients is which service or product they have that is FCLTBP.
That stands for: Fixed Cost, Low Trouble, Big Profit. These are jobs where generally you know the price point that customers are happy to pay and that there’s a safe profit margin involved. In a creative industry this is usually a very straight forward service that everyone can latch onto, for example selling a website package where people can choose from templates as opposed to selling bespoke designs
Do you have any tips for improving team performance using feedback?
Don’t focus on the big things. It’s very easy to look at a late night here or bad feedback there, but don’t forget the small things that your team should be doing. I don’t want to go all big brother on your team but have a look through the conversation trial and see where they have guided your client, where have they stopped a potential issues before they began.