8 Communication Strategies With Clients For Freelance Designers
Proper communication is vital to any business relationship.
Services providers and clients need to communicate frequently and adequately for the business relationship to thrive.
With designers and their clients, the same still applies, and these parties need to be on the same page communication-wise for them to foster a successful business relationship.
The technical nature of design work, however, may lead to a breakdown in communication between designers and their clients.
As a designer, the breakdown in communication with your client will make it difficult for you to meet the client's expectations when working on a project, and you may lose the project as a result.
Freelance designers are worse off since they have too much on their plates and communication with their clients may suffer as a result.
In this piece, we take a look at what it takes for freelance designers to communicate effectively with their clients.
Set a preferred communication method
Freelance designers need to have a preferred method for communication with their clients.
There are different methods for clients to reach you when they need something, but you need to let them know the most effective manner for getting to you so that they don't waste their time leaving messages that won't be replied to immediately.
Most freelance designers like email communication since they can set pre-defined times for checking client emails.
Should you choose this method of communication, stick to one email so as not to confuse your clients.
One primary email address also ensures that your client communication is organised in a central place, and this makes it easy to track client conversations.
If you have pre-defined times for checking emails, pass this information to your clients to let them know when to expect message replies for their emails.
This way, they will not think that you are avoiding them when it takes too long for you to reply to their messages and requests.
Other methods of communication include phone calls, text messages and even messages on your social media handles.
If you choose phone calls as your preferred method of communication, let the clients know what the best time to call you is.
If you aren't receiving calls past a particular time, let your clients know this.
The same applies to text messages and social media DMs.
Develop a system for communication strategies
After setting a preferred communication method, you will need to develop a system that will make it easy for you to organise your messages with your client's project needs.
CRM and project management apps can come in handy in this regard, and they will make it easy to track client project requests.
Freelance designers usually find themselves in charge of everything concerning their businesses, and this makes it easy to forget specific client requests.
With a CRM application, client messages are matched to their projects, and this makes it easy to meet client expectations when working on projects.
You will also spend less time sorting through emails, and this will result in improved work efficiency.
Avoid industry jargon when talking to clients
Clients may not be familiar with sophisticated design vocabulary, and this makes using industry jargon when talking to clients poor communication strategies.
This is because they will not understand what you are saying, and they may end up agreeing or disagreeing with things that they are not aware of.
This will lead to frustrations later on when you deliver the project, and the client fails to approve it even when you thought they had agreed to the proposals you shared.
Freelance designers should, therefore, try to keep their communication with clients as simple as possible.
From your interactions with the client, you will be able to tell whether he or she understands design language, and this will guide your communication pattern going forward.
It would be best if you only used industry jargon when you are 100% convinced that the client understands the design field and the vocabulary used to communicate within the industry.
Put your client communication in writing if possible
Clients have many things going on in their lives, and as such, they may quickly forget some of the things concerning the project that you are working on.
It is for this reason that you should always ensure that you put your communication with your client in writing to avoid frustrating moments later on.
A client can call you and ask for specific changes in the design project that you are working on.
When they do this, summarise the request in writing and send them a copy of the message via email.
This way, when issues arise, later on, you have concrete evidence to back up your claims.
As a freelance designer, a small project hit can put you out of business, and that is why you need written evidence to back up your communication strategies.
Have regular meetings
For freelance designers who are working remotely, you need to hold regular online meetings with your clients.
You will use these meetings to update the client on the progress of the project you are working on.
You should also make sure to have a meeting with your client before you perform any primary project task.
This will ensure that everyone is on board and satisfied with the progress before you proceed to the next step of the project.
The client will be able to identify design issues that need to be adjusted early on and even make recommendations or requests for improvements.
You can choose to meet over Skype or any other communication application that supports video stream.
Depending on the nature of the project, you can choose to have meetings daily, weekly, or every month.
Such meetings make clients feel valued, and this helps create a good working relationship.
You will also be able to gauge your client's level of satisfaction with the work that you are doing.
However, before you start disturbing clients with frequent meeting requests, find out if they are okay with this type of arrangement.
Some clients don't like to be disturbed until something urgent pops if.
If you are working with such a client, then you will need to initiate fewer meeting requests.
From your early interactions, you will be able to tell if a client requires regular status updates or not.
Understand your client's communication preferences
The need to set a preferred method for communication strategies are crucial for you as a freelance designer as it allows you to concentrate on the projects that you are working on, but you still need to factor in your client's communication preferences.
If your client does not like email communication, and you demand that they only reach out to you via email, then you will lose them.
In any business relationship, the customer is king, and as such, you need to be flexible enough to accommodate their needs.
Such small things matter in a business relationship, and they are even more critical to freelancers who are looking to grow their businesses further.
Adhering to your clients' needs also helps you develop a unique selling point that will help you attract even more clients.
Clients want to feel valued and treasured and understanding their communication preferences will go a long way to endear them your business.
Understand your client's business
You can only communicate effectively with your clients if you understand what they are doing.
Communication is tied to proper project delivery, and this means that designers need to find the time to understand what a specific business is all about before they start working on their projects.
Spend some time with the workers to get a feel of the company.
Buy some of their products and use them.
Check their social media pages to learn more about their brand.
This will empower you with the right information to make proper project design decisions that will please everyone involved.
When you meet the bosses to talk about the design project they hired you to work on, you will be able to communicate your proposals since you understand the business effectively.
You will also be able to deliver projects that your client's audience resonates with, and this will help you grow your business.
Use visual communication to avoid miscommunication
You will be able to communicate better with your clients through visual communication strategies rather than verbal communication strategies.
This is because words are highly subjective, and they can be interpreted differently by different people.
Rather than telling your client that you will use a highly textured paper for the company hardcopy profile, bring an actual sample that they will use to gauge how highly textured the paper is.
This eliminates misinterpretation since the client will know what the final product will look and feel like.
Communication is an essential aspect of the relationship between a freelance designer and a client.
The designer and the client need to share ideas on the project they are working on, and in this article, we have shared effective communication strategies that will make it easy for these two parties to work together.