We all know that working with clients on their projects can sometimes be challenging! But it gets significantly more frustrating when you find yourself constantly going back over the same work multiple times because the client keeps wanting more changes.
Dealing with these repeated changes can be tedious, and let’s be honest, it’s a task many designers loathe. But carrying out revisions to the work you’ve already created is a fundamental part of the design process. If done the right way, and with the right tools, it needn’t be as daunting or frustrating as it often seems.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the best ways to handle client revision requests in the most diplomatic and effective ways possible – even if those requests may sometimes seem unreasonable. Let’s get started!
The Importance of Revision Requests
Revision requests usually involve clients asking for changes or edits to the design, product, or service being provided, and these requests typically arrive once the client has reviewed the initial delivery.
Although the revision requests may involve subtle things such as a change in color or layout, they may also involve adding additional features or elements – or changing the content entirely.
Of course, we absolutely understand the value and importance of these requests. Not only are we delivering exactly what the client needs, with their expectations fully met, but the end product is likely to be more polished, and customized in a way that’s unique to that client. We certainly wouldn’t want to discourage the client from expressing any concerns or issues – this isn’t the basis for a healthy working relationship.
One of the biggest headaches for designers is the seemingly endless back-and-forth of email communications or phone calls, with the client trying to explain what they want changed. The trouble is, though, that they often lack the technical knowledge and understanding to explain things clearly, or understand the developer fully.
While the client may be asking the designer to “make the tab bigger”, they may actually mean that they want the header section with the logo bigger, or the hero section, or the favicon in the actual tab, or even the navigation bar. We’ve come across all of these instances in the past!
Imagine if the client could simply point at the bit of the page they want changing, and then say something simple like, “make this bigger”, “change this background color so it’s lighter”, or “replace this image with one featuring a lama”.
Then imagine that, just by the client doing this, a task is automatically generated within the designer’s dashboard, with the exact part of the page the client pointed to highlighted, with their notes attached to it, as well as all additional information such as their browser and screen resolution.
Wouldn’t all that make the whole process easier? We thought so! That’s why we built Atarim to do exactly that.
Atarim’s unique image-based collaboration feature makes it significantly easier for both client and designer, and makes dealing with revisions painless, streamlined, and incredibly efficient.
Planning Your Project Stages
Let’s be realistic. We all know that it’s highly unlikely that everything will be completed exactly right on the very first attempt.
With this in mind, we have to expect at least some minor corrections, and plan accordingly. By planning ahead for these anticipated revisions, we can reduce the chance of missing project deadlines, whilst still ensuring that the end result is of the high quality we would expect.
The Project Stages feature by Atarim makes it easy to track the progress of the project and keeps everyone up-to-date on what’s happening. You can use this feature to plan out your project and set aside time specifically for making corrections and amendments. This feature can also track the time taken on each stage of the project. By using this tracking data you can easily identify bottlenecks in your workflow, and make whatever changes are necessary to improve your agency’s productivity further.
Communicating Revision Requests Effectively
Effective communication with clients is vital for revisions to be processed correctly, avoiding any potential confusion or misunderstandings. This will include being completely transparent about the requested changes, the reason for any changes or adjustments, and any additional cost required as a result. Taking the time to fully understand exactly what the client’s vision is, and what they want to achieve with their revisions is essential. For this reason, asking questions when necessary in order to clarify anything that could potentially be unclear is a must.
Through clear, unambiguous communication clients will be able to fully understand exactly what they’re paying for, and what they can expect from the final product. This will inevitably lead to improved satisfaction with the end product, and reduce any additional back-and-forth revisions leading to further delays and unnecessary costs.
Keeping the communication medium open throughout the revision process enables the client to provide feedback promptly. This also lends them a sense of security and confidence in the final result.
Atarim’s Email Support Desk is designed to provide customers with complete control over their email support. The ticketing system allows every inquiry to be transformed into an actionable task, enabling customers to assign team members, set priorities and statuses, and track time. All communication is conveniently organized in one location, making it easy for customers to manage their email support.
How To Handle Revision Requests
Since revision requests are an unavoidable part of the design process, it’s essential to deal with them calmly and professionally to maintain a positive experience with clients. Here are some tips to keep in mind while communicating with clients.
- Always listen to the client’s feedback: Understanding fully what your client wants is vital for the process to be successful. Talk with your client, ask essential questions, and clarify their requests. Communicating clearly will enable you to understand your client’s perspectives and effectively address their concerns.
- Respond punctually: Confirm receipt of the client’s revision request quickly, and provide a realistic timeline for when they can expect changes to be implemented. Managing the client’s expectations and preventing delays is crucial.
- Don’t let your emotions control your decisions: Stay calm and composed, and face any potentially difficult (or even potentially unreasonable) requests professionally. Revisions are unavoidable in this industry, and designers should value client feedback.
- Maintain transparency and honesty: Be upfront and honest with the client about how reasonable their requests are, any additional costs or time that may be needed, and also any potential impact on the outcome that the client may not have realized.
- Be willing to compromise: Be open to making changes and adjustments, and prepared to compromise when necessary. Keeping the demands of the clients intact is an important part of the design process.
- Follow up with your client: Keep your client updated when revisions are implemented, and follow up with them to ensure they are satisfied with the result. This shows that you care about client satisfaction and are committed to providing excellent customer service.
Setting Realistic Expectations And Boundaries
Designers must take steps to prevent an excessive number of revision requests by setting up realistic expectations and boundaries with the clients. Ensuring this sustains a positive working relationship with the clients. Here are some tips on how to achieve this:
- Outline the design process clearly: The design process needs to be clearly explained to the client, from start to finish, including the revisions included in the project and any additional costs for additional revisions. Doing so helps the client understand what they can expect from the designers, and prevents any misunderstandings down the line.
A proper discussion is necessary to understand the client’s goals and objectives for the project and to align the vision and strategy of both parties. This process prevents unnecessary revisions and sets realistic expectations.
- Produce a detailed proposal and contract: The project’s scope, timeline, and table of all costs and services help set clear boundaries and expectations for both the client and the designer.
- Give progress updates: Deliver progress updates throughout the design process. Keeping the client up-to-date with the process gives them a sense of trust and confidence in the final output and makes it easier to receive quick feedback.
- Be clear about limitations and boundaries: Time, budget, and other restrictions must be explained clearly to the client. Legal regulations (such as those pertaining to accessibility) may affect the final result and helping the client understand the design process sets realistic possibilities for the client regarding the final outcome.
Managing Unreasonable Revision Requests
It’s far from unheard of for clients to make unreasonable revision requests. As an industry professional, some requests might not make any sense to you. But it’s important to maintain a positive working relationship with your clients.
Follow these tips to negotiate and deal with what may seem to be unreasonable requests:
- Stay composed and maintain professionalism: It’s important to keep your composure and stay calm when facing difficult client requests. Revisions are an unavoidable part of the design process, and the design team should handle client feedback professionally.
- Listen carefully: To understand the client’s perspective you must think carefully and not make any assumptions. Be direct in communicating with your client and clarify any concerns about the requests by asking questions.
If the request made by the client is not possible, ask the client to explain why this specific change or adjustment is necessary, or what they are hoping to achieve. This may help you to identify ways in which the problem can be tackled, possibly with a different approach.
- Provide alternatives: If the client’s request is not feasible even after a discussion, provide alternative options that will still meet their needs and objectives. Doing this emphasizes your willingness to work with them to achieve the best possible outcome.
- Explain your decisions to the client: Help the client understand the design principles and objectives followed during the process. Explain to the clients the reasoning behind your choices, and ensure the client appreciates that they hired you for your expertise in this matter, and that your judgment should be trusted.
- Be honest with your client: If the client’s request will require you to allocate additional time and money, communicate this clearly and honestly. You need to provide a detailed briefing of the other work required during the process and its impact on the outcome.
- Compromise when necessary: In some situations, being willing to compromise is the only way to keep the project moving forward. It assures the client that their priorities matter to you, and that your focus is on delivering the best possible outcome for their needs.
- Take the matter to a higher level when necessary: If the client is still dissatisfied with the alternatives or the reasoning you provided for the design decisions, you can suggest that they speak with a supervisor or manager if the situation requires.
If the designer and the client signed a contract, refer to the terms and conditions and remind them that certain demands may not be acceptable within the terms of the agreement.
It is vital to handle revision requests professionally in order to maintain good client relationships. Setting realistic expectations ensures a more positive outcome, and a healthier relationship, and is key to propelling a company’s growth.
Atarim makes it easy for clients to provide content and feedback, and streamlines the entire design approval process – resulting in a 300% time improvement.
Atarim enables website development studios and freelance developers to streamline feedback and requests from various stakeholders, ultimately resulting in faster project completion and increased profitability.
Sign up for a free forever plan on Atarim and see the advantage for yourself.