Prepare for feedback
Especially in any of the creative departments, we all know how it goes. You receive your brief from the client; something as simple as ‘Write a blog about this topic’ or ‘Create an infographic around this idea’ and you set about working towards it.
You check brand guidelines, contact the client repeatedly for feedback or input, and eventually piece together work you feel is right for the brief you received. To you, it matches what they want. To the client, things are different.
You are in control
Take the feedback and implement it into your next piece of work, or edit the current piece as required. Within a reasonable timeframe, you can work on this steadily, comment on the changes if you so need to and defend your work where required. Sometimes, key phrases or words may be removed that you absolutely know must be there; calmly inform the client why you chose certain words or phrases, explain the benefits to SEO, and walk them through it.
In my experience, most clients will accept feedback positively and appreciate you walking them through your thought process, step by step. For those few that don’t and adamantly stand their ground, you just have to shrug it off, implement the changes and move on. Though, you should never let work go out that will represent your own business poorly in the marketplace, even if you have to redo some of the work.
‘Oh, I didn’t think it would look like that. Could you just-’
So it begins. The rollercoaster of endless tweaks, edits and reworking to match the client's needs. Now, obviously, most of this should be done as and when required with no extra cost but it is important that you keep the client happy while also not exceeding your budgeted cost/time for the project. Be prepared to stand your ground for yourself or your team should a client be taking it too far.
If the changes are broader in nature and require significant time and effort, you can give the client benefit of the doubt, or you can challenge them for providing an incomplete brief and bill them for the extra time. It all depends on your client and your relationship with them. It's up to you to contact your client and get in touch if you feel you need more information.
For the client who is responsive and in contact; go the extra mile and make it happen. For the client who refuses to return your calls, emails or texts yet expects everything to be perfect? Outline the requirements and changes required, then work out if you need to bill for it.
Ultimately, the client is your priority in the long term, but you should never let yourself be taken advantage of. When a client asks for 1 minute of video, then that turns into a 15-minute corporate video without warning, you should be invoicing for it!
Respect the feedback
When you are given creative client feedback, it can bring with it a feeling of dread. Let go of that process; it is your work being criticised, not you personally. Your draft text may spur an idea or thought process with the client, and they would want you to work something differently, provide data or source information that drastically alters the way you would have completed the work.
This is all part of the process. You must respect your client's feedback, or you will not be able to work effectively together. Remember that for many clients, you are not just designing a website, a logo, or writing copy, you are being entrusted with their dreams. They might not have had anything created before; this could be the first time.
Care and consideration must be put into all client projects. Respect where your client feedback is coming from and if possible, meet face to face. If not, arrange for a phone or skype call so that you can discuss feedback and work towards the end goal. Work with the company, agency or director and see if you can grasp what the vision is from their shoes.
It’s important not to lose focus on the objective; unless the client is suggesting a change that is 100% undoubtedly stupid, accept the feedback, implement it and move on. Above all else, make sure nothing goes out under your company's name that would damage your reputation.
Remember, don’t take it personally.