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3 Ways to Help Clients Make the Right Decision

Chris Osterhout SVP of Strategy
#Industry Insights
Published on October 16, 2015

We look at how we make sure our clients are fully informed about the solutions we propose and the effects they will have on both their website and their overall business.

At Diagram, we understand the value of partnership with our clients, and as we work with them on website design and development projects, we make sure to maintain communication that will ensure nothing happens to send the project off the rails. One fundamental aspect of this communication is making sure clients aren’t agreeing to something they don’t fully understand.

While we work to keep our clients up to date on everything that is going on with their project, we’ve learned that it’s also important to help them understand the implications of the decisions that are made. In order to make sure clients are fully informed about the decisions they make, we’ve put together these three guidelines for communicating with them:

1. Help Them Understand Rippling Effects

When presenting a client with options for making changes or implementing new functionality on their website, we make sure that they understand what other areas of the website or business these changes may affect, both technically and procedurally. What can seem like small changes might end up having far-reaching consequences, so we do our best to make sure they understand this when making their decision.

For example, if we’re suggesting that a client make a change to their site’s page layout in order to better format the site for responsive design, they need to understand how this will affect their existing content. How much content will need to be remediated to fit the new layout, and how much work will this require? What may seem like a simple stylistic change can end up leading to a major effort and a large amount of billable work, so it’s important to make sure the client understands this.

2. Maintain Transparency

When changes or updates are made to a client’s site, we make sure to communicate what has been done, even if it seems like a minor adjustment that only affects a small area of the site. It’s important to own the changes that are made so that no surprises pop up later.

For example, if a designer makes a small change that will only affect five pages, it might seem easy to just update those pages to resolve any issues. But it’s still important to inform the client of the changes, so they understand what was done and what it means for them moving forward. Doing so will make sure that they are able to update their site correctly in the future without inadvertently undoing any of the changes that were made.

3. Clients Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

Most of the time, partnerships are formed because your agency brings expertise that the client doesn’t have in-house. This means that while you understand the work that you are doing for them, details that may seem obvious to you won’t be obvious to them, since they simply don’t know what they don’t know. In order to make sure the client understands every decision that is made, it is important to describe suggested solutions as fully as possible and let them know how they will affect both their site and their business.

It is often said that it’s better to pick up the phone and speak to someone in person rather than write emails, but we’ve found that if you can’t describe something in writing, you will likely have difficulty describing it verbally. In order to make sure you are explaining proposed solutions in a way that clients understand, it’s a good idea to write them down in clear language, describing the changes, the historical background, what areas of the client’s business will be affected, and why you are making this recommendation. This will help you make sure that everyone is on the same page and fully understand the extent of what is being done.

In our years of working with our clients on website design and development projects, we’ve come to understand the clear communication is the key to a successful partnership. By fully defining issues that we encounter or solutions that we propose, we can help everyone understand what is being done and why and how it will affect both the client’s website and their business as a whole going forward.

Do you want to know more about how we provide solutions that will meet our clients’ business needs? Please contact us to speak to a Solutions Engineer, or if you have any tips of your own for making sure everyone involved with a project fully understands the extent and implication of proposed solutions, feel free to share them in the comments below.

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