FAQ | How to deal with clients that…

May 9, 2023Dianne Eberhardt

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Hello everyone. Welcome to the next episode of Pixelated Perfect. I am here today to bring you another FAQ by me. And the topic today is dealing with clients that... So the goal of this episode is to give you guys some advice, some insights on how to effectively deal with complex customers, unique customers, clients that are a little bit more challenging and how to navigate these situations. So, let's jump in. I have a couple of clients that... Questions and some ideas of how you could potentially go about solving some of these problems with customers. So, let's jump in. The first one is, what if my client doesn't give feedback in a timely way? This, happens, right? Sometimes we have tight deadlines and the only way for us to move forward is if we have customers and clients that are giving us feedback when we need them.

So the first thing that I suggest is defining a clear due date when you wanna receive feedback. So if you're delivering something you should highlight in bold, please let me know if you have any changes and any feedback by whatever that date is so that you can continue to move forward. You also can say in that delivery that if you don't receive feedback by that time, it's gonna push the end date. So make it very clear when you're expecting feedback so that you can continue to move forward. And another thing that's really great is to kind of have quick status checks. So sending a customer, whether it's in Slack, whether it's in email, once you've delivered something like, Hey, this is, I'm waiting for feedback. I expect feedback by X date. You could also do a status check of like, this is what's done, this is what it's in progress and what's a blocker?

So this is obviously a blocker waiting for feedback. So whatever format that you and your client have agreed upon upfront, you should be using that to make sure that they are giving you that feedback and making it very clear that if they don't give you feedback by that date that the whole deadline of the project could potentially be pushed back. So that is to make sure that they are giving you feedback in a timely way. The next one we have up is what if you have a customer that wants everything like yesterday, they're always in a rush. I have a couple of suggestions. The first one is when you are scoping out a project and you're asking for the details of the project. What are their expectations? What is the problem? You're solving all the information.

You should also make sure that you are understanding if they have a specific due date, they're looking to achieve it by. So what is the due date that they need this? And then you can go back and if their expectations of a due date is out of scope for the project, like they're like, have this huge scope project and they need it in two days, obviously that's, that's probably not doable. So something I recommend doing is giving two timelines. So one timeline is your ideal timeline based on the scope of this project. So if you're looking to have this problem solved for your users, these are the steps I suggest. We need to do a few rounds of user testing, we need to do a research base, whatever you think you need to accomplish that task so that you are getting the results for their users.

Put together that timeline, then put together another timeline that is more in line with what you can achieve by their date that they're looking to have it done. And then if they choose this option, what they're gonna miss out on. So for example, they have a tight deadline and you have to deliver something and this means that you won't be able to do a user flow or maybe you won't be able to do as much research. You should call that out and say, I will not be able to do research if you choose this option. Therefore, we might be building something that won't align with what the target user is looking for. Or you could, you should give very specific examples of what you won't be able to accomplish within that. So that's, that's really important because your goal is really to get them to see the value of design and to help show them the value and expressing like, hey, if you spend a few extra days on research and testing, that is going to save you time and money in the long run because you won't have to rebuild something that's already been put into dev because you'll catch some of these problems earlier on.

So it's really about communicating with the customer and explaining why the process is the way it is and why you suggest what you do because maybe this customer just doesn't understand and doesn't see the value and that's really your job to communicate that to them. So that's kind of my suggestion there. Let's keep moving on to the next question. What if my customer doesn't see the value of going through the whole design process? This is definitely kind of what we just talked about. I think another thing to do is to go back and like, I think there's a lot of books on like design thinking and lean UX and how to, at the start of a project, make sure that you are explaining the value of design and the process and you can't speak design lingo, right? You have to speak business lingo.

You have to make it very clear from a business perspective what that customer is going to achieve by kind of going through your process and understanding what the value of design can, can bring to them and to their organization and why they hired you and wanted you to work for them. Okay, let's see. Onto the next one. What if my customer has multiple people giving feedback? This is interesting because sometimes you will have many different stakeholders, many different people that have opinions and everyone's kind of giving you feedback at different times and then you'll make a change and someone's like, oh, that's not what I wanted to change. And it, it basically causes delay and then the timeline keeps getting pushed back and everything turns into a mess. So my suggestion is having a decision maker in the early start of a project, make sure you clearly define everyone's roles.

So any feedback that is given, at the end of the day, this person, you should name one person that is the only person that's really going to make sure they're communicating that feedback to you and that they are the ones that get to make that final call. So if people are giving other feedback, you will not necessarily follow that unless the decision maker says yes. This has been a really big game changer in helping to structure so everyone kind of knows their roles and knows their responsibilities and really having that one person that's responsible for communicating to the design team is definitely a game changer. So yeah, personal contact I think is kind of the biggest one. I'm trying to think of something else. I also think, yeah, just checking in regularly is like, how are you able to get the feedback that you need? Do you need more time communicating those delivery dates? And another thing is this design lead or this per, sorry, this decision maker might be super busy. So another suggestion is like time blocking. Can you put some time on their calendar every week that they should be reviewing the designs? And this can make sure that you're still keeping timely and you're making sure that they are able to set their deadlines. Hey team, everyone gives me feedback by this day because this is when I'm communicating it to the designer.

Let's see. The next question is what if your client does not answer for more than a week? This happens, sometimes priorities shift and change especially if they're in the startup space. Maybe it's like you're working directly with the founder and they just have some emergencies they need to put out. So I think the first one is to make sure that you follow up in a channel, maybe not in Slack, maybe in an email if they don't respond after one or two times so that there's proof and it doesn't get lost. So you've sent this email, you've followed up, you are checking in with them, making sure that you are connecting and understanding what's wrong if they still don't respond I think that you could definitely have someone else on the team that you should be reaching out to <laugh> to see if they have any news or updates.

The other thing is to be patient. I know that your role is to move forward and continue to move and that is your responsibility, but like I said, there's probably 10,000 other fire drills going on and sometimes they just don't have time to get to you. So don't make you a priority. Don't make you where they feel like you're, there's someone else that they have to like to get back to. So I, so just kind of after a while, if they don't respond, give them that time and follow up in a few days and don't just continuously hum them because they probably have some other things going on. I think some other good questions I have are, how do I say no to requests from clients that exceed my responsibilities? The first thing I have to say about this is that how does it exceed your responsibility?

Is it something that you can learn and grow from? Is it a new tool? Is it a new process that you should be learning? So maybe you're a UI designer and you don't know UX, but there's some UX requests. I think it's important to make it very clear to the client, to the customer that you are not an expert in that, but it's something that you wanna learn and grow from and to give you that opportunity to work on it. So I guess my first feedback to you is like, what is, why is it out of scope? And can it add value to you? And if so, do it. Take it on, learn and continue to grow. If it's something that is outside of the scope, like maybe your designer and they're looking for copywriting and you're not a copywriter <laugh> or do you have that skill set well chat G P T can be your best friend right now.

But other options are you instead of just saying no if you should help that person, you should help that client and make connections. So like, do you know of anyone that's a copywriter? Can you reach out to your network? Can you help them find a copywriter in a business model? Like say you're a freelancer, you could basically have that copywriter working with you and you charge extra because you found them. So that's also a way to get some extra income and money into it as well. So I would definitely think about what that is and can you help find that person. So I guess my answer is never say no. Take a minute, think about it. Think outside the box and how can you help serve that, that need and help source that need. I think that's about everything that we've, that I have here as like questions from, from you and the team of where customers struggle. So I think this was a really great faq and if there's more questions that you guys have of like, how should I deal with customers doing X, y, z, please send 'em on my way and I'm happy to record a second session and kind of answer some of your questions. Thanks.

Dianne Eberhardt

Dianne Eberhardt

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