So you’ve completed the first draft of your new branding project and you love it. Dare you say it is one of the best pieces of work you’ve ever produced? You hand it off to your client thinking they’re going to be blown away but instead they come back with a long list of feedback. It’s normal for it to sting, especially the first few times it happens. While your feelings are valid, how you react outwardly will set the tone for the rest of the project and all those to follow. As you read the following you may notice a theme: the best way to handle this is to do a few key things up front to prevent it and take nothing personally!
Starting off on the right foot is key. Before beginning a project, make sure that you and the client have a clear understanding of the scope of the project, the timeline, and the deliverables. Discuss all of these, write them into your contract, and have it easily accessible to you and your client. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a CRM with a client dashboard feature. This will give everything your client may need to look at, on top of the above, a place to live.
I can’t say enough good things about ClickUp. Its the one stop shop to keep you organized and help your client know where you are in the project. Don’t procrastinate, start today!
One thing is certain about uncertainty, it leaves room for problems to arise. If your client wasn’t clear about an aspect of the project, don’t work with the information you have, go get more. Encourage the client to give feedback and ask questions throughout the project, rather than waiting until the end. This will help to minimize the number of revisions needed.
We get it, it can be deflating to get less than good feedback on something you’ve spent a lot of time on but unfortunately, it comes with the freelance territory. It’s important to always be cordial and open-minded when it comes time to hear what your client has to say. Be open to constructive criticism and willing to make changes to the design. Remember that the client is the expert on their business and audience. The level of professionalism you exhibit will directly affect how likely they are to continue to work with you.
It’s important to prioritize revisions, focusing on the most important changes first. This will help to keep the project on schedule and avoid delays. High-level changes should be addressed first, especially in early revision sessions, then as the project progresses, dial into the fine details.
It’s not uncommon for a client to provide more feedback, not because there is a problem with the project but because it isn’t clear to them what exactly they’re reviewing. If they have a proper understanding of the project at the stage it is in, they’re more likely to give you constructive feedback rather than questions and comments trying to make it fit into the expectations they built up in their head. Provide visual aids, such as wireframes, mockups, or prototypes, to help the client understand the design and give feedback.
Don’t get caught in a seemingly never-ending back-and-forth. While it’s absolutely imperative to be open-minded and professional regarding feedback, some clients may get inadvertently stuck in the cycle of over-revising when given too much time to do so. Avoid this risk by putting limitations on revisions. Be transparent about the cost and time implications of revisions, and communicate any potential delays.
In case of confusion or conflict, having documents to reference back to will save you time and frustration. Keep a record of all revisions, feedback, and communication made during the project. Keep all versions of the project, instead of editing over the same one, and keep feedback and project meeting notes on your client dashboard where you both can easily reference them.
Create an email folder in your inbox for each client so you can quickly access past communications as needed. Or better yet, place a revision task in your ClickUp to keep organized and gives your client the heads up without having to remind them this is revision #X!
Above all else professionalism is key. Always maintain a professional and respectful attitude, even if the client’s feedback is difficult to accept. Like every relationship, you won’t always get things right the first time and in those cases how you react and move forward will most likely colour the rest of the relationship.
Jan 24, 2023
Criticism and feedback can sting, it’s normal. Help turn it around into a positive experience and even potentially reduce how much revisoins you get in the future!