Your Design Client's Top 5 Complaints & How to Avoid Them

View Comments by Bianca Board on 2 July 2014

It really is the little things that keep us happy.

Having a great hair day. Getting some praise from a client. Throwing a top on that doesn’t need ironing. Winning!

There’s nothing I love more than sitting down in front of my lappy when I get out bed (whatever time that may be), sipping my first cuppa for the day and reading the latest articles from my favourite blogs.

One article that got me wired the other day (more than my usual morning caffeine hit) was one about the top 5 complaints that design clients have about the designers who work on their websites.

It was such a good read, I really wanted to share what I learnt with you and give you my take on it. Here goes...

So what are the top 5 complaints?

1) “I want a designer who’s a little more forward.”

When questioned, many clients felt that the designers and design companies they’d used didn’t take the lead enough. Clients commented that they felt it was always themselves who scheduled meetings, managed budgets, and chased the designer for updates.

I discovered years ago that when you take the lead with clients, be confident in your ideas and suggestions and never let the ball fall into their court, your relationship with them really prospers. I drum this into my ProPartners in almost every video in my training program.

The smarter you get, the more confidence you’ll have, and the more respect you’ll gain from your clients. It also makes your job easier when you need to say “no” to unrealistic design turnarounds or absurd changes.

This report confirms my thoughts and personal experiences in that clients want you to guide them, they want to follow a leader. Essentially, the majority of people are followers and this includes our clients.

So that said, do you think you are too relaxed with clients? Is there an opportunity for you to take more of lead in your client relationships and in return ensure they stay on your books for years to come?

2) “They don’t challenge me and my business enough!”

I can actually understand where this one is coming from. Sometimes it’s really easy to coast on by... take the work that’s offered, complete it, thank them for their business then wait for the next job.

What if we actually CHALLENGED our clients?

It’s a great way to fish for more work. By suggesting ideas that require design solutions and your expertise, you’re becoming more than “just another designer.” You’re becoming someone they can trust to help them take their business and website to the next level.

3) “I don’t know anything about my designers.... : ( ”

The times they are a changin! It’s not enough to just supply your design services and send the invoice. In fact more and more industries are starting to see attitudes between customers and suppliers start to become more relaxed. Gone are the stuffy suits and keeping your clients at a distance, and now it’s all about becoming besties in the name of good business.

Rapport is the key. Get to know your clients better and naturally they’ll take an interest in you and the law of reciprocity then kicks in.

You may think it will make things awkward when it comes to payment, but you couldn’t be more wrong. People don’t want to just “use you”, they want to collaborate with you. Studies show that clients prefer to work with an agency that is buzzy, dynamic and who oooooooze success, and it’s important to show your personality; both on your website and when you communicate with them.

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4) “They could be more proactive...”

This is very similar to points 1 and 2. Why should the client be the one to keep the client / designer relationship ticking? Just because that was how “it was always done?” It’s time to get with the times!

Things listed in the study including “flagging up budget issue”, “spotting potential problems early” and “challenging the brief.” Ultimately I recommend that when you get your client brief, don’t *just* accept it... read it and come up with your own ideas too. Act as if it’s YOUR brief too!

Be brave and suggest ways to improve on it. Trust me... they will see you as someone who cares about their business and who wants them to succeed.

5) “They’ve become a bit too comfortable.”

I appreciate that as time goes by some clients can really drag. We’ve all had those clients that when they call you say to yourself “oh no, not you again...”

Well that is the WRONG attitude my friend! They are your client and you should be glad to have them on board. Enthusiasm, proactively and commitment are key ways to keep your client excited about you and their own business.

Because if you won’t show enthusiasm for the working relationship... there are always younger and hungrier designers out there ready to swoop your client from under your nose.

So there you go. The top 5 complaints...

What are your thoughts? Have you had any personal experiences similar to these complaints? Sound off with all your juicy goss below! The more we know the better. :)

Credit: Thanks to ‘Up to the Light’ for releasing this report. You can check out the full report for yourself by clicking here

What do you think? Share your comments below.


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