My Approach to Managing Client Expectations
Managing client expectations throughout an interior design process can be quite challenging. It is, however, an absolute necessity for the smooth running of a business and building your reputation as a designer.
I genuinely believe that there is nothing better in life than to do what you are passionate about. My team and I enjoy every detail, big or small, of every project. We find a sense of joy in bringing our clients’ vision to life.
In this blog, I will take you through my approach to managing client expectations.
Before I take on a new client, we send them a design discovery questionnaire to understand their needs. We then have a pre-proposal consultation with the client at their home or office, where we discuss the scope of work, their needs and expectations, project requirements, timeline, and their planned investment.
During the consultation, we always ensure that all financial and design decision-makers are present to avoid any roadblocks or change of plans later on.
STATEMENT OF WORK
We clearly explain the scope of services and the payment options available. It is crucial for the client to understand all project details, what’s included and excluded, and have a clear financial understanding before any contracts are signed. Once our client is satisfied with our statement of work, only then do we ask for a retainer.
We next present to them the design concept, which includes drawings, materials, samples, renderings, and estimates for labor, products, and materials. In addition, we also present to them a realistic timeline for the project through the use of software, including Gantt charts, which explains how the project will be executed and when it will be completed. Once the client is satisfied with the design concept, they approve selections and make payments.
HAVING A GOOD TEAM
Working with people who are as passionate as you and with whom you share a great rapport always provides better results. Unless our client comes with their contractor, we use our preferred contractor. A healthy relationship and comfort with their personalities, work ethics, talents, and expertise enable us to give the best experience to our clients.
ONE STOP SHOP
We enjoy taking up projects from an early design stage, where we work with the architects, execute the project, and decorate the finished home. Being a one-stop shop for design and build oversight allows us to let our clients remain stress-free and enjoy their lives, while we take the burden off their shoulders. Our full cycle and centralized style also prevents miscommunication, saves time, and optimizes costs.
We keep our clients informed about every stage of the project, so they know what is going on and what to expect. The best approach is having an open, honest, and direct conversation with clients so that all stakeholders are on the same page. While this may sound pretty trivial, you would be surprised how assumptions can be made and then lead to different expectations. Being upfront is the way to go, so clients understand the end-to-end design process, and know exactly where they are and what to expect each step of the way. I tend to over-communicate during my projects, and my clients truly appreciate this approach.
Every project has its challenges. Always plan for roadblocks and potential hiccups in the project schedule. Explain to the client the possibility of such situations arising and the resulting delays. Inform the client as soon as the problem occurs, do not avoid it. Encourage questions and keep them informed as to how the problem will be tackled.
We professionally install all products, furniture, and furnishing pieces. We only use white glove delivery companies to ensure the highest standards of quality. After installation, we give our clients a checklist and conduct a thorough walk-through.
With every project I take up, I ensure that not only are client expectations managed but also exceeded.
Reach out to my Denver design studio for interior design services. I will be happy to help!
Call me at 720.735.7533 to discuss your project.