We constantly tout how important it is to communicate from the first point of contact until a project wraps. We’ve heard enough client horror stories about their previous design firm and how they never can get a hold of them (which by the way we don’t understand at all).
So making sure we’re there always and attainable is huge for our design firm. Without strong communique a project never gets done (or at least on time to hit a deadline). If early stage interaction starts with unhealthy communication on either side that should raise a big red flag for you the designer or the client.
The purpose of this blog entry is from the creative agency’s perspective, and the oddities we’ve come to experience over the years that still baffle us today.
One of the biggest mysteries to us is when a client goes missing in the very early stages of talking about a project. I have no clue what happens, but it typically goes like this. A potential client contacts us either through our website or leaves a voicemail, we typically get back to them within 15-30 minutes with an email reply or a follow-up message. This is where it get’s weird, sometimes (not always) but I’d say 50% of the time, the potential client goes completely MIA, never to be found again — having never officially spoken to us. We proceed to follow-up 4-5 additional times over the course of the next few weeks, and… nothing, not a returned call or email reply — nada.
So the big question is why?
Why in the heck would someone obviously in need of our design assistance, go to the trouble to research a design firm, contact us, ask to be contacted back and never even get to the proposal stage? Why waste their time and why waste the design firm’s time? If anyone has some thought on this matter we’d love to hear from you. It’s been one of those thorns in our sides that we can’t shake. Is there something we can be doing differently that would deter this behavior?
We’re all about the client experience…
Then it happens…
Losing clients once a project has started is yet another mystery to us. Here’s the scenario, a client starts the project with us, we outline from start to finish in BaseCamp how our schedule will be laid out for the next 6-8 weeks, the client is pumped and loves that we’re on the ball with the organization of the whole project.
Then it happens…half way through the project, the client disappears completely, we’re not talking Kris Angel disappearing with a good chance of showing up again at some point, we’re talking Sopranos cement shoes never to be seen or heard from again.
A week, two weeks, a month goes by, we call, email, IM you name it and…nothing. The huge kicker is when a project is paid in-full upfront and the client drops off the face of the earth. Why would anyone invest in a project never to have a tangible product to show for it? I get it, priorities change, life sometimes gets in the way, fine… but why not communicate that instead of playing hide-and-go-seek? Is there something we can be doing differently that would deter this type of behavior or is this just a fact of the design business? We’re all about the client experience, if we can improve that, we’d love to hear from you.
What these examples boil down to are two things, solid communication before, during and post production in order to have a successful design project. While at this point, we don’t know how else to deter this strange behavior of not communicating with us, we do know a quick heads up goes an awful long way with our staff. The other thing this boils down to is finally finding a reason to use this cool Land of the Lost graphic for one of our posts. Classic Sid and Marty Krofft — they made my childhood.