Client happiness is essentially the number one goal for any interior designer – creating the perfect space for them to live in is why you do what you do.
However, managing the relationship through the entire project is crucial to making sure they are happy from start to finish.
Today, I’ve enlisted the help of Amy & Athina from Topology who will showcase the key steps you’ll need to cover to ensure your clients are happy throughout the process and will leave them recommending you to everyone they know.
Topology is the UK’s home of affordable interior design, complete with online design starting at only £125, an award-winning blog as well as some awesome interior design workshops (trust me, I’ve been to one, you can see some of the photos in this post). You should also go follow them on Instagram for some incredible interiors inspiration.
We all know that setting up an interior business has a number of elements we must nail in order to make it a success. Whether it’s how you show your client your designs or how you structure your pricing etc.
But, one of the key elements to nail is how to deal with your client relationships. After all, a satisfied client not only gives you a needed boost of confidence but can lead to return work and recommendations to their friends and family.
Essentially a happy client means a happy business. So, in this post, we’re going to go over 5 key steps to nailing client relationships built upon what we think are the most important factors. Scroll on down to learn more…
Communication is key.
Appear ‘available’. Reply to your client’s email or missed calls within 12-18 hours or even within the hour if you can. If you can’t reply in detail, it’s better to send an email acknowledging theirs and letting them know that you’ll reply in more detail asap. The client needs to be reassured you’ll get on the case asap.
Listen to your client.
Value your client’s opinion and prioritise their main needs over anything. You’re there to help them, but try not to let your own creative ideas take over.
Your client’s vision needs to be kept in mind at every step along the way. For example, if it’s vital that your client needs a project finished by 31st December and the armchair you know will look great won’t arrive until 1st Jan, you choose a different one that can arrive on time.
It’s always worthwhile to construct an initial questionnaire so that you get all the vital details that will guide you throughout the design process and mean you don’t lose sight of the client’s needs.
Under promise and over deliver.
This is especially important when it comes to deadlines. Don’t tell a client that you can have a design ready in one week just to get them to go ahead with your service if it’s going to be potentially unachievable and there’s a chance you’ll have to push back the deadline.
Instead, tell the client it’ll take two weeks (or whatever is realistic) and if you finish after a week and a half, great, you’ve exceeded expectations. If it does take two weeks, great, you’ve done it on time.
Although it’s tempting to tell your client what they want to hear, it’s much better to be open with them about what is realistic and also to always share your professional opinion, even if it’s against their preference.
The same goes for mistakes – if a problem occurs that will directly affect your client, it’s much better to be open with them. Unhappy clients can be transformed into loyal clients if the problem is handled and solved well.
Maintain a positive attitude.
It’s possible that your client can become stressed or overwhelmed during the design process (especially if they are mid-renovation!) It’s your duty to exude positivity and face your client with energy, enthusiasm and confidence.
Even in the very beginning in your initial emails. Use positive and enthusiastic language, for example: ‘It sounds like a really interesting project – I’m excited to get started’ or ‘I can definitely recreate that boho chic style you like in your bedroom’. If you appear confident and positive, your client will bounce that right back to you.
So there you have it – 5 steps to achieving a positive client relationship. Next time you have a client sign up to your service, go back over these 5 steps and think about exactly how you’re going to deal with them over the entire process bearing these ideas in mind and see what good can be taken from it.