Why Good Design Service is Just As Important As Your Design Skills
Many of us strive to be successful. We work hard and we are constantly refining our skills to get better. We want to be able to build websites faster, edit images faster, build great layouts faster. We strive to create better typography, sleeker and more creative logos, etc. It has become apparent through the last few weeks of working with new clients that some designers are missing out on one important aspect of their business. This aspect is actually what makes or breaks your business. Can you guess what it is? The aspect that most designers lack in their business is the ability to provide good design service.
People want something for their money
People are paying you good money to create something wonderful for their business. They don’t have the skills to build a great website themselves, or they just don’t have the time. Business owners have a lot on their shoulders, so the last thing they want to do is learn how to build their own website. This is where we come in. It is our job to find out what they need and deliver the best solution possible. We are paid problem solvers. They want a website to promote their business or event. They want client registration, payment options, and they need everything to work great and look great at the same time. They just want good design service.
So where does the bad design service come in?
In the past few weeks, I have been adding client after client, which is great for me. This is going to be a great year if the rest of the year repeats this same pattern. What I am hearing a lot of from clients is that they hired a big firm to handle their design, and they didn’t get nearly what they desired. They paid a ton of money (in some case thousands) for something that wasn’t worth hundreds. Or they didn’t get anything at all! There were tons of promises made, but half or even none were delivered, and the client is left holding the bag.
How do I deliver good design service?
It isn’t rocket science. In reality, it isn’t even that hard. Here are a few tips to make sure that you are giving your client good design service:
Make good on your promises, or don’t make any at all. – Nothing is worse than expecting something and never receiving it. You wait and wait, and it never comes. It is like torture. Don’t promise your clients the moon and then neglect them. If you say you’ll have a logo idea for them by Friday, have it for them by Friday. If you tell them that you can build a responsive site for them, make it responsive.
If you don’t know how to do something at this point, don’t promise it, and then try to figure it out as you go. – Responsive design is not something you can just pick up in a day. You have to understand how to apply it. Trying it out and playing with it, testing it on actual tablet and mobile devices, and learning the right places to place break points are all things that will help you learn. If you want to build responsive sites for your clients, learn the skill first, then apply it to your projects.
Deliver on time! – I don’t know why this is so difficult. Set a deadline and stick to it. You have to learn to prioritize your projects. Don’t work on something that is due two weeks from now and neglect the project that is due this Friday, just because you feel like working on it. Set goals for accomplishing tasks each day, and don’t stop until they have been accomplished. The only reason not to meet a goal for the day is due to something beyond your control, such as a power outage, etc. The only thing to remember is that you will have to work extra hard the next day.
Stop letting things fall through the cracks! – There is no excuse for not being able to keep up with your daily tasks. There are so many apps out there that work great and help to remind you of what needs to be done. I use Wunderlist 2. It is free, and you can create tasks and subtasks. You can even set a due date and time, and have the app send you an email reminder to do something. Let’s say you have an important meeting or you need to make an important phone call at 3:00PM. Set Wunderlist to send you an email reminder at 2:50, so you have 10 minutes to prepare and get ready.
Answer emails & return phone calls. – Your client has questions or concerns and it is your ob to address them. When a client can never get a hold of you, it makes them nervous. Put them at ease, answer their questions, and they will stop harassing you via phone and email. If a client sends t=you a lot of emails, send them back a larger email answering all of their questions. Responding within an hour or 2 is acceptable during the day, because you might have a meeting or you may be busy with your business. 2 days+ is not acceptable.
Be flexible, and not a diva. Not every design that you come up with is going to be your client’s dream come true. Don’t take it personally, and don’t consider it a loss or a defeat. Sometimes a client doesn’t communicate things clearly, or you may misunderstand something that they have said. it happens, just readdress the problem and try to understand what the client really needs.
Good Design Service is just a matter of treating clients more like people
Treat your clients how you would want to be treated and you should be successful in no time. Deliver a quality product at the right price, make good choices, and be as helpful as you can be. There is no excuse for giving bad service. Your clients are paying you good money. If you don’t feel like you are getting paid enough, raise your rates. That’s the beauty of owning your own business. Just don’t price gouge your clients, or you may lose all of them. Above all else, be sure to give good design service. It adds value to your business and inspires good word of mouth. If you don’t provide good design service to your clients, the next designer will.