“Can you add some POP”? Here’s how to understand vague client requests

When it comes to communicating about projects, vague client requests will kill profitability.

Would you ever walk into McDonalds and say “Hi!  I’d like some lunch please”.  Probably not! I mean… who knows what you would get! But using vague client requests is exactly how most people communicate during web projects.

Communication about web projects should be done with precision and accuracy but since the world does not clearly communicate we found a simple infographic that will help you interpret some of these requests. This will help you manage your clients a bit better.

Make sure you keep scrolling as there are more tips BELOW!

NOTE: We did not create this, we saw it online and would love to give the creator credit and a link for their great work!

Understand vague client requests

Here is the text from that image that will help you interpret vague client requests:

  • “Make it look more luxurious…”: Wide, thin fonts in CAPS with a whole lot of letter spacing
  • “It’s not popping for me…”: Brighter, Bolder Crap! with shadows behind!
  • “This logo just looks like a font…”: Add random abstract shapes
  • “I’ll know what I want when I see it.”: They won’t
  • “It needs to look friendlier…”: Bold-ish cursive font and lowercase subtitles with no serifs
  • “Make it look like Apple…”: This particular font next to an actual iPad
  • “Can it be more retro?…”: Lots of funky shapes in the background
  • “Make it look classy…”: All caps with Trajan Pro (or Cinzel from Google Fonts)
  • “Needs to be sleeker…”: Sleek is luxury plus shiny
  • “Jazz it up a little…”: Completely meaningless.
  • AND WHEN IN DOUBT ADD TONS OF WHITESPACE

Stop The Endless Revisions

There comes a time when a web project becomes UNprofitable. This typically happens when the number of revisions exceed the amount you charged for the project. Once you are able to interpret these vague client requests now you need to make sure they do not keep coming and drag the project on forever

To do that here are seven tips to reduce the number of revisions which will help you wrap up the project and get paid quicker.

Here's how to understand vague client requests

1. Develop a healthy, open relationship: From the beginning let your client know that your mail goal is to help their business grow and you will be blunt with them and tell them when they are making a bad decision.

2. Clearly define what a “Revision” is: Be upfront and let them know that revisions are part of the process however in order to move things along, there are only X (let’s say 3) number of revisions included with the project. A revision should be defined as: one single email with as many changes the client wants to see. Let them know that each email counts as a revision so they should be batching revisions (not sending one tweak at a time).

3. Explain what “Change Requests” are: Nothing is more frustrating then redoing the same work over and over again, like replacing the “About Us” text 7 times. From the beginning of the project let them know that if they go over the number of revisions for the project each revision will be considered a change request and subject to your normal web design hourly fee.

4. Keep them informed: Something happens to the brains of people when they have too much going on… they forget basic things… like that they need to provide the photos for “The Team” page! With each you send to the client the last line should include the next step that the client needs to take for example: and please send over those team photos so I add them to the site OR I’m just waiting for you to give me the green light on purchasing those stock photos. Keep them taking steps toward completion.

5. Be flexible: Don’t be so rigid that any deviation from the contract results in a financial penalty. If you agree to 7 pages but the client actually wants 8, don’t change them. If you agree to a photo gallery of 70 images and they send over 80, just add them. One important point here is just to gently remind them of what you agree to BUT that you are going to add these extra items free of charge… you don’t want them to forget what was in the contract. Doing these little things for free will add up to lots of warm and fuzzy feelings.

6. It’s their website, not yours: Don’t be a design snob and think that YOUR way is the only way to design a website and nobody (not even the client can tell you otherwise. You might be disappointed at some design decisions the client makes but give them what they want.

7. Get better clients: Some people are just miserable bastards. Some people just want to drag things out, complain about every little things and delay the project until THEY are ready. Sure, this is going to happen to everyone once in a while but when this becomes the norm from all your clients… the problem is you. If you find yourself in this position, look for alternative ways to find clients.

Here's how to understand vague client requests

Do you have any good tips of stopping clients from sending unlimited revisions?  Post them in the comments below.

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