Often as a software developer, it is not always easy to keep calm while dealing with anxious clients.
All developers have faced clients who aren’t necessarily easy customers. But they are the ones who are willing to pay for services, so it’s best to work hard to please them in a diplomatic way. Here are some tips to make development smoother for everyone involved.
1. Acknowledge Them
Learn to distinguish clients who may be more anxious than most. Most clients are logical beings who respond well to honesty and can make sound decisions when faced with a problem. The more difficult ones won’t react well if they feel their concerns aren’t being address. Listen and acknowledge their concerns and be patient if they ask for an explanation repeatedly or demand something that appears to be unreasonable.
2. Basic Requirements
Take the time to explain the process that needs to be accomplished in a clear and encompassing if a client appears to be uneducated about the work that needs to be done. Explanations should be open-ended, allowing the client to give feedback, ask questions or feel a part of the equation. No one wants to feel as if they are being talked down to or ignored. Treat them respectfully and have confidence in the skills being provided and they will feel included even if they at first seem unreasonable or ignorant.
3. Money First
Make sure finances are discussed up front and if a client seems like they may back out mid-project or will be overly difficult to deal with, ask for a deposit or the bulk of the fee before the work begins. Not everyone will be pleased with paying the entire fee upfront, but 50 percent is not unreasonable. An installment plan could work equally as well, a third when the work starts, a third when it’s two-thirds complete, etc. That way if a problem develops, a designer won’t be left holding the bag for work that has been completed.
4. Finish The Work In a Reasonable Timeframe
Often difficult clients will continue to change the concept of a designer’s project, adding or deleting features which creates more work than originally discussed. Be open to changes, they are the client, but if they become too demanding, step back and ask for a meeting to refocus. Lay out clearly what is reasonable to accomplish for the amount of payment and deadline discussed and then suggest a reframing of the project to accommodate everyone’s needs. As a last resort, if a client is particularly hard to please, finish the work as soon as possible and move on.
5. Just Do What They Say
Sometimes it does just boil down to it’s their project and their checkbook. There will be times when a designer will have to include aspects or make choices that seem inappropriate for a project. Don’t sweat it, they are paying the bills and it’s their end product. Go with the flow and get it done in a professional manner in a reasonable timeframe. Stay within the guidelines they provided, even if it appears as if the end results may not be what was originally intended.
Remember, a little respect and a lot of professionalism goes a long way when dealing with anyone, especially a client who appears to be difficult.
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