It’s a vicious world out there, for both clients and service providers. There always seems to be a mismatch and finding a creative agency that understands you and works the way you want them to can be strenuous.
However, having a good relationship with your agency doesn’t only rest on how well they treat you. To get awesome work from your agency, you need to learn to be awesome at being a client. Here’s how!
A comprehensive brief
It’s quite simple really: it’s always easier to give you what you want when you know exactly what you want. I always advise clients to say as much as they can about a project before hand; nothing is unnecessary. Be as clear as you can in your brief about project details, colour and image preferences, your objective and your intended audience. You are at liberty to suggest other creative work from elsewhere that may throw more light on what you want.
There’s nothing worse than a client who can’t explain what they are looking for but consistently and blatantly shoots down creative proposals made by their agency.
Our firm sends clients questionnaires before each job, to help them develop their brief. Others may not. Whatever the case is, do your best to submit a good brief. It goes a long way!
Don’t just criticise, contribute!
Many forget a creative agency’s glory comes almost solely from creating well-appreciated work. We are very concerned about getting you to love what we have done. Our entire goal is to get the work done to your satisfaction.
I think it goes without saying, we prefer contribution to criticism.
Statements like the following are not welcome: “This is basic, I could have done this myself!”
The problem creative businesses face is that appreciation for creative work is entirely subjective. And as we always tell our clients,
“Design is part you, part us.”
Great work is only great to he who sees it as great. Moreover, clients usually come from entirely different career and thought backgrounds from creative professionals.
So here is what you do:
a. Review the design draft calmly and carefully
b. Request for a design justification for the submitted work
b. Note down the aspects that don’t sit well with you
c. Do some research on similar work done elsewhere or get a second opinion
d. Respectfully point the issues out to your agency (preferably via mail), and make suggestions based on your research
e. Try your best not to dictate but discuss these changes. (Because you may be coming from a totally aesthetic point of view, whereas we would give you what would work, based on our expertise and the information you provided.)
… and we will love you forever for this!
Beautiful design doesn’t always work.
When in doubt, ask questions.
When you hire a creative agency or professional, acknowledge the fact that you have become partners. Your issues and problems are our problems too (especially, the financial ones).
No business transaction works well without trust and communication. Accordingly, we appreciate it when you ask us questions directly when in doubt about anything. If you feel strange about a printing quote, ask your Account Manager about it. If you ever feel shortchanged, ask about it. If you feel there has been a lapse in communication, ask about it to be certain.
You can never go wrong with verifying anything with your agency. It keeps you at peace, and helps us keep you in the loop on everything.
Pay on time
Like all other businesses, creative agencies run on actual money. (Who would have thought, right?) Delays in payment are the worst thing a client can do to themselves. For example, The Workspace is very big on prompt delivery and honouring commitments exactly as agreed. It is very offensive to throw decent business courtesy out the window and default the payment terms listed in a contract. Though this harms the client more, breaking trust with your agency destroys lifetime business relationships.
Have you noticed how clients with good monetary etiquette enjoy more flexible payment options? Or that their work always takes priority over others.
More importantly, designers are genuinely happier to work with you because they can trust you. Do the good thing and always pay on time.
A good relationship earns you the privilege of payment plans and extensions when times are tough. You will never know till you cultivate a good relationship with your designer. Just keep us in the loop and honour your word.
Lastly, the best clients are aggressive about recommending to others. There is no greater way to show love to your agency than to bring it more business. It shows you believe in us. It is almost comforting to know that we have ambassadors out there spreading the good word about our work.
For those who do, you will always hold a special place in our hearts.
I hope this helped. I now pronounce you ready to be awesome clients!
Five Ways to Being a Better Client was written by Sydney Sam for The Workspace Thrive blog. Sydney is the Creative Director of The Workspace.