One of the ultimate frustrations for a developer is trying to make sure your clients don’t have expectations that run away from them. Many will easily confuse developer with miracle worker! Managing your clients is often half the battle, and involves a combination of education, expectation management and communication.
How to Manage Clients – The Definitive Guide
In all kinds of development, clients often expect so much more than they initially pay for, which is totally different from other areas of business. Check out these top tips to keep a good relationship going with your client without having to do endless edits.
1) You’re the Expert
Most people don’t tell their doctor or their builder how to do their job (though there are always a few exceptions!) so it shouldn’t be any different for you. Though the clients will have certain expectations of what they want, ultimately it should be a collaborative process that involves your own input as well.
Before you sign off on beginning the actual development process, make sure you and the client are on the same page as much as possible.
2) Communication is the Key
Poor communication can see an entire project break down very quickly. Keep in touch with your clients on a regular basis or it’s possible that the two of you will be going off in different directions without even knowing it. Clients can often be very vocal at the start of the process, but quieten down during the actual development phase.
If you don’t keep in touch, you could find yourself with a long list of edits once the project is over. Make sure the testing process is extensive to reduce the chance for error. Like any good relationship, communication is the key!
3) Clients May Be Old-School
Many business owners have limited experience in the world of technology, and it’s very easy to take this for granted if you have been immersed in it from an early age.
It’s your responsibility to explain to your clients exactly what you will be able to offer them and give them some basic development education. If they are wanting to go off in a certain direction that you simply don’t think is right, don’t be afraid to let them know.
4) Set Reasonable Deadlines
Unfortunately, everyone seems to want everything as soon as possible. Not only is this unhelpful, it can seriously hinder the development process. If everything is ASAP, nothing is a priority.
Make sure you are clear on deadlines with your client, and also make sure that they are reasonable so you have plenty of time to complete the project including any amendments which you are likely to have to make.
5) Write a Detailed Contract
A clear contract with the terms meticulously spelled out will save so many disagreements. This is also for your own protection if you have a client who is trying to avoid payment for any reason.
Make sure it is as detailed as possible including any information that you can think of that is relevant. That way, you are quite literally on the same page as your client. 🙂