How to Curate a Positive Client Relationship During a Website Redesign

Eric Kazda  |   February 21, 2018   |  Posted in Tips

The best work comes from the best relationships. The client trusts the designer to meet their vision, and understands the time and cost involved to do so. The web designer communicates effectively with their client and delivers the promised product within the proposed deadline. However, not all web design relationships go quite so smoothly. You hear horror stories about websites going awry because of this. To help avoid this issue, we’re covering some of the main causes behind a bad relationship. Plus, learn how to be a good web design client and get the most out of your web design agency.

Main Complaints on the Client’s End

Customer Service, Complaint

When your money is on the line, the web design process can become extremely stressful. Here are some of the most common causes of unhappiness on the client’s end during a website design.

Service complaints

This comes down to basic customer service. Is everyone communicating effectively? Are they using your preferred communication method? How often are they touching base? Is the reality of the project matching your expectations? Are deadlines met or ignored?

Technical complaints

Technical complaints come from the actual capability of the new website and the agency behind it. Were they able to deliver the functions and features that were promised? Are there any hosting issues? Is the website loading too slow? This often comes from designers overpromising and inflating their capabilities.

Design complaints

Many web design clients also fear that the design of the site doesn’t align with their brand. Did the agency have a different interpretation of the design direction? Does it not fit with your company’s style? With so many possibilities in the design sphere, each side can easily imagine very different design options without enough communication.

Main Complaints on the Designer’s End

Designers can also struggle with certain clients. Maybe the client wants a $10,000 website for $2,000. Or maybe they approved the website, and then right before the website launches asked for 100 other changes. These main complaints come from mismanaged client expectations and clients not understanding or trusting the designer – even though they are an expert in their field.

For a worst-case scenario, check out this infographic “How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell” from The Oatmeal.

Or if you want a few laughs, read some of the submissions from Clients from Hell.  It’s pretty simple to avoid being a client from hell. Here are some easy ways you can help a designer bring the best possible website to fruition without friction.

  • Take time to understand what a website will truly cost. Ask questions if you need to about why specific prices are what they are.
  • Read your contract to understand the terms and conditions.
  • Respond promptly to any questions a designer has about the direction of the site, and send them the files and images they need.
  • Set expectations and communication methods up before the contract is even signed.

How to Avoid These Problems Before They Start

While all of these complaints and issues are relatively common in the design world, it’s also simple to avoid these problems altogether. Here are some of our favorite ways to avoid unrealistic expectations and communication breakdowns.

Educate clients before the contract is signed

Shot of two professional coworkers using a digital tablet together at work

Education manages expectations. We think it’s vital to take the time to educate prospective clients before they sign any contracts. Some of our clients have never worked on a website build before, or they’ve only worked with other agencies. They need to understand the basic timeline, what they can expect during the process, and how much it will cost them to build the site that they want. Education upfront will remove problems later during the process.

On the client’s side, take time to ask plenty of questions before you sign a contract. While a designer may take time to educate you, there will still be things you don’t know. We can’t read minds, but we can definitely answer questions.

Create reasonable deadlines

If you want a custom website, it’s going to take longer than a single-page site. Setting appropriate deadlines applies to both designers and clients. As a client, you should let the experts have the time they need to build a high-performing site. On the designer end, we need to set deadlines we know we can meet. Having the right deadlines means both parties will remain happy and can manage their other business responsibilities effectively.

Rind the right fit for your business

Sometimes the best way to prevent issues is to find the right fit. Finding the right client and the right designer is somewhat subjective. However, there are some recommended steps for how to search for a web designer that are quite effective. Read our article on how to follow these steps here.

To Recap

As with any working relationship, there are sure to be bumps along the road. But if you know how to communicate, have realistic expectations, and trust that you’re working with experts – those bumps won’t turn into giant sinkholes.

Avoid These Issues by Picking the Right Partner

Take the first step toward avoiding any horror stories. Find the right fit for your business. Read our article that breaks down how to find the right web designer for your next major project.

How to Choose a Web Designer for Your Major Website Redesign [Infographic]

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Eric Kazda

Eric Kazda is a leading expert in the interactive development industry with over fifteen years of experience. With a mastery of critical development technologies, Eric has crafted innovative award-winning work for clients both large and small. Coupling this knowledge with a real world understanding of usability and technological feasibility, his work is developed to be accessible by every user.

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