how-to-be-a-great-client

One of our focuses at Viget is to always be good consultants—even when it means pushing boundaries, challenging our clients to think critically about how they talk about themselves, or breaking the status quo with cutting-edge design and technology.

We always have a common goal with our clients: to make the best end product possible. We want to get there with a shared understanding, process, and enthusiasm about the work.

This context is always helpful to lay out at the beginning of any new engagement. But it also lets our clients know they’re in this with us—and that there are certain expectations that come with being a client. With this article, organizations on the receiving end of work like ours can learn concrete ways to help keep a project moving forward.

Appoint a client-side Project Manager.

While consultants are tasked with handling the work, there will certainly be times when we’ll need to get feedback on a deliverable, get a download of some organizational structure or industry, learn about a client’s product, and more.

Likewise, we always like to review budget, timeline, and tasks to keep our clients abreast of what’s happening on their project at any given time. All this means we need streamlined communication.

It’s most efficient to channel everything through one person on the client side. We recommend up to eight hours per week over the course of the project—sometimes it can be more, and sometimes less. This works best when that time is set aside as an actual commitment—it gets everyone in a regular and predictable cadence and will prevent your staff from experiencing project burnout.

Deliver batched feedback.

The best client contacts are skilled wranglers of batched feedback. We’ve experienced both sides of this coin—a single collated list from one person, and a smattering of thoughts collected from executives and other departments that often contradict one another, copied and pasted into multiple emails. The former is much more productive. Then we don’t have to spend a client’s budget combing through a list of line items that don’t add up, make sense, or convey different messages, and then have the back and forth needed to resolve them.

If there’s one person we’re communicating with, they’ll also have a good idea of the decisions we’ve made along the way, and why we’ve made them. That will help them filter out irrelevant requests or spark internal discussions that can be beneficial.

Along these lines, it’s also very helpful when a client provides feedback that is:

  • Thoughtful
  • Specific
  • Actionable
  • Rationalized
  • Timely
  • Candid
  • Goal-oriented
  • Supported with alternatives
  • Vetted

This is a lot to ask for, but the closer we all can adhere to this model, the more efficiently the project can move without sacrificing quality.

Get your stakeholders involved in key decisions.

More often than not, the executives who approved the budget or key decision makers for the company will need to weigh in. It’s crucial to identify these people early on, which is something we can do collaboratively, and get them in the room during strategic milestones.

This mostly falls under a client’s domain, but we are eager to support those conversations. We can assist by sending out an early agenda, conveying the importance of the subject matter, and impressing upon stakeholders how ignoring big milestone decisions throughout the project can have implications for budget and timeline down the road.

The repercussions of not getting the right stakeholders involved are significant. It’s important to take early steps to avoid it. Internally, agencies should work to figure out those milestone dates. And on the client side, do whatever you can to loop the right people in, and don’t be afraid to ask us for help. (We can always record a meeting or take diligent notes as a last resort, but this removes the opportunity for stakeholders to interact.)

Timeliness is key.

At the start of a project, you’ll more than likely see a wonderfully laid out timeline with phases, key milestones, and review dates. Sometimes, this falls apart as we go through the project. As one thing gets delayed, it causes another to get delayed, and so on. These timelines inevitably turn into living documents.

That said, there is a tendency near the beginning of projects to feel more comfortable letting things slip because the end of the project may feel far away. One of our jobs as consultants is to get as hyper-specific as we can plotting milestones out across a calendar, which means it doesn’t matter when something slips, just if it does.

We do everything we can to stick to schedules, so it’s important that clients try to do the same. If things start to slide, we’ll encounter blockers, may have to pause work, or be forced to make decisions that may impact work down the road. These feedback loops should be established and agreed upon before feedback actually needs to start happening—that way, everyone knows what to expect when we move into that phase together.

Help us prioritize.

If there are strict time or budget constraints for a project, it’s fair to think of software development in terms of trade-offs—a rapid development cycle often means starting with an off-the-shelf solution; comprehensive documentation means a less polished product; adding a new feature may require sacrificing an old one. The examples are numerous, but it’s best not to think about this kind of work in a silo.

The concept in its barest form is simple: there is only a certain amount of time that can be spent, so adding more things adds more time (and therefore, budget). We can use our best judgement for prioritizing one feature, artifact, or design over another, but decisions like these are best made in conjunction with a client. They will know better than anyone what is most important to them.

Ask questions.

Our clients’ levels of familiarity with digital work varies. Sometimes, explaining how to interpret a wireframe is a waste of time—sometimes, it’s a totally new concept and worthwhile exercise.

A client should feel empowered to ask questions about anything and everything that doesn’t make sense to them. Questions make the work better. Specific inquiries about how we landed on a certain design pattern, why we chose one tool over another, or why an interaction is prototyped a certain way can help facilitate critical thinking across both teams. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about our decisions—and certainly if what something means isn’t immediately clear.

We do the same on our side. As a Project Manager, I’m often reviewing designs or feature sets before they are presented to a client. It’s my job to interpret these with an outsider’s perspective as well. This sometimes airs requirements we may have not accounted for, helps uncover bugs, and gives the creators an opportunity to hear how their work is interpreted from someone who hasn’t been thinking about it as much (which is usually more representative of what the end user’s perspective will be).

Tell us when you don’t feel comfortable.

We’re going to extend a client’s comfort zone. There will be times when they’ll be pushed, hesitant, or surprised. That’s good.

What’s not good is when they feel uncomfortable about the state of the work, the budget, the timeline, or overall project health. We want to know that as soon as possible so we can course correct together.

Let’s be forthright about scope.

The word “scope” can make people cringe. It’s often a nebulous term used to encompass an individual perspective upon what fits within a project. The reason it’s nebulous and individual is because it’s impossible to fully define all work that will happen to get a software project across the finish line, and one person’s opinion on what goes into that may be vastly different than another’s. Unexpected items will come up.

However, there should be enough clarity established throughout the sales process to create a shared understanding of what we’re all working towards. With this idea as a guidepost, we can have productive discussions about what work can fit within budget, and what can’t. If budget can flex, scope can grow. If it can’t, we’ll have to think in terms of trade-offs. Our best clients understand this, and want to work together to find solutions.


I mentioned at the beginning of this article that we always try to be good consultants. A big part of that means setting expectations, both for what clients can expect to see from us throughout the project, and what we’re looking for from them. They’re both equally important.

If I had to condense this article into one takeaway, it’d be this: the more aware clients are of how big an impact they can have on process and the end product, the better everything will turn out.

Stay engaged, be transparent, and work hard—and we’ll do the same.

153 comments

  1. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring
    a blog post or vice-versa? My blog goes over a lot of the
    same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each
    other. If you’re interested feel free to send me an email.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog by the way!

  2. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea
    shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and
    screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

  3. Thanks so much for giving me personally an update on this subject on your web-site.

    Please realize that if a completely new post appears or
    if any adjustments occur on the current posting, I would
    be thinking about reading more and understanding how to make good using
    of those approaches you reveal. Thanks for your time and consideration of people by making your blog available.

    Feel free to surf to my page; frun-test.sakura.ne.jp

  4. My spouse and i got quite joyous that Raymond managed to round up his reports using the ideas he grabbed from
    your own web page. It is now and again perplexing just
    to always be giving out hints the others have been trying to sell.
    We really do understand we have the blog owner to appreciate for this.
    These explanations you made, the easy site navigation, the friendships you will help to promote – it’s got all unbelievable, and it’s letting our son in addition to our family reckon that that
    matter is interesting, and that is especially mandatory.
    Thank you for all the pieces!

    Feel free to surf to my page: http://www.craksracing.com

  5. Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your weblog.
    You have some really good articles and I believe I would be a good asset.

    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some articles for your blog in exchange
    for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an email if interested.
    Thank you!

    Look at my page usedtiresbrowardcounty.com

  6. I wanted to follow along and allow you to know how great I liked discovering your website today.
    We would consider it the honor to do things at my workplace and be able
    to make real use of the tips provided on your web page and also be involved in visitors’ opinions like this.
    Should a position associated with guest article writer become on offer
    at your end, i highly recommend you let me know.

    Feel free to visit my website :: http://www.atomy123.com

  7. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before
    but after going through some of the posts I realized it’s new
    to me. Anyways, I’m certainly delighted I came across it and I’ll
    be book-marking it and checking back often!

    Look into my web-site; sky777apk download

  8. I think this is among the most significant info
    for me. And i am glad reading your article.

    But should remark on few general things, The site style is perfect, the articles is really great :
    D. Good job, cheers

    Look into my site … 8fx.news

  9. Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google,
    and found that it is really informative. I’m gonna watch
    out for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future.
    Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  10. I needed to thank you for this very good read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit
    of it. I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

    Look at my web blog :: Kina

  11. I feel that is one of the such a lot significant information for me.
    And i’m satisfied studying your article. But should
    commentary on few basic things, The web site style is ideal, the articles is
    in point of fact nice : D. Excellent process,
    cheers

    Take a look at my web blog; frun-test.sakura.ne.jp

  12. Definitely consider that that you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be
    at the net the simplest factor to bear in mind of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed
    even as other folks think about worries that they just don’t realize about.
    You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest and also outlined out the whole
    thing without having side-effects , other folks can take a signal.
    Will probably be back to get more. Thank you

    My page … https://kebe.top/

  13. Hello my friend! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and include approximately all vital infos.
    I would like to see extra posts like this .Play Slots 4 Real Money LLC
    First Edmonton Place, 10665 Jasper Ave 14th Floor, Edmonton, AB,
    T5J 3S9 Canada
    1 587-525-7000
    1 587-525-7001

    GAMBLING NEWS

  14. We’re a bunch of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your site provided us with helpful information to work on. You’ve done a formidable task and
    our whole neighborhood will probably be thankful to you.

    Here is my page – mpc-install.com

  15. hello there and thank you for your info ? I have certainly picked up something new from right here.
    I did however expertise a few technical points using this web site, as I experienced to reload the
    web site lots of times previous to I could get
    it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK?

    Not that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and
    can damage your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords.

    Well I?m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for
    much more of your respective fascinating content. Ensure that you update this again soon..

    Here is my blog post; astravo.net.ru

  16. I enjoy you because of each of your effort on this site.

    My mum really loves managing investigation and it’s really simple to grasp why.
    A number of us learn all about the lively method you make
    worthwhile suggestions through your website and therefore attract participation from
    other individuals on this point and our favorite princess has always been becoming educated a great deal.
    Take advantage of the rest of the year. You are conducting a dazzling job.

    Here is my site :: clubriders.men

  17. I feel this is among the so much important information for me.
    And i’m satisfied studying your article. However wanna
    statement on few basic things, The web site style is great, the articles is in point of fact nice :
    D. Good activity, cheers

    my website – 8fx.news

  18. Thank you for each of your efforts on this website. My daughter delights in engaging in investigation and it’s easy
    to see why. We hear all of the powerful tactic you
    deliver reliable guides by means of the website and
    as well welcome contribution from other people on this situation and
    our own child has always been being taught a lot of things.
    Enjoy the rest of the year. You’re the one carrying out a really great job.[X-N-E-W-L-I-N-S-P-I-N-X]I’m extremely inspired together with your writing talents and also with the
    layout on your blog. Is that this a paid subject matter or did you modify it yourself?
    Anyway stay up the excellent high quality writing,
    it is rare to peer a nice weblog like this one nowadays.

    Take a look at my web blog … kebe.top

  19. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after going through some of the articles I realized it’s new
    to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely pleased I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

    Also visit my web site … 163.30.42.16

  20. Hi there! Quick question that’s completely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My web site looks weird when viewing from my iphone4.
    I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this
    problem. If you have any recommendations, please share.
    Many thanks!

    My site – fscrystal.net

  21. Undeniably believe that that you said. Your favourite
    justification appeared to be at the net the simplest factor to take into accout of.
    I say to you, I certainly get irked at the same time as folks
    think about concerns that they just don’t
    recognize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top
    and also defined out the whole thing without having side
    effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be again to get more.
    Thank you

    Here is my blog; http://www.craksracing.com

  22. My husband and i were absolutely more than happy when Peter managed
    to round up his preliminary research through the precious recommendations he had
    out of your web pages. It is now and again perplexing just to be
    handing out thoughts that many some people might have been trying to sell.
    We discover we now have you to appreciate because of
    that. The specific explanations you made, the simple site menu, the
    friendships you will help foster – it’s most terrific, and it is making
    our son in addition to the family believe that the situation is cool, and that is seriously important.

    Many thanks for all!

    Also visit my web page … frun-test.sakura.ne.jp

  23. I am really loving the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility
    issues? A few of my blog readers have complained about my website
    not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome.
    Do you have any suggestions to help fix this problem?

    Here is my blog post: Monster FX7 Ingredients

  24. Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite reason seemed to
    be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I
    certainly get irked while people think about worries that they just
    don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having
    side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more.

    Thanks

    Also visit my blog: Tri-Bol Testo Reviews

  25. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info.
    Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  26. Awsome info and right to the point. I don’t know if this is really the best place to
    ask but do you folks have any ideea where to hire
    some professional writers? Thanks 🙂

    Also visit my website … Phincat

  27. I leave a response each time I like a article on a blog or
    if I have something to valuable to contribute to the discussion. Usually it’s a result of the sincerness communicated in the article I browsed.
    And after this post How to Be a Great Client – Pavvy Designs.
    I was excited enough to drop a leave a responsea response 😉 I do have some questions for you if you do
    not mind. Could it be simply me or does it look like like a few of these responses look like left by brain dead individuals?
    😛 And, if you are posting at additional online social sites, I would like to
    keep up with anything new you have to post. Would you list every one of all
    your shared pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    Have a look at my web site … Arctos Air Conditioner Reviews

  28. Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?

    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and
    I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no data backup.

    Do you have any solutions to protect against hackers?

  29. It’s the best time to make some plans for the future
    and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and
    if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions.

    Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.

    I want to read even more things about it!

  30. It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people in this particular topic,
    but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

  31. Attractive part of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to say
    that I acquire in fact loved account your blog posts.
    Any way I will be subscribing in your augment or even I achievement you get entry to constantly fast.

  32. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this website.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard
    to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and appearance.

    I must say you have done a fantastic job with this.
    In addition, the blog loads very quick for me on Firefox.

    Excellent Blog!

  33. We are a gaggle of volunteers and starting a brand
    new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with useful information to work
    on. You’ve done a formidable job and our entire group can be thankful to you.

  34. Very great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I’ve really enjoyed
    browsing your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing in your rss
    feed and I’m hoping you write again soon!

  35. Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a
    sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said
    “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her
    ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and
    it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!
    LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

  36. Thank you for your website post. Thomas and I are already saving for just
    a new e-book on this theme and your blog post has made us all to save the money.
    Your thinking really answered all our problems. In fact, greater than what we had recognized just before we came upon your excellent
    blog. I actually no longer nurture doubts and also a troubled mind because you have attended to the needs
    here. Thanks

    My homepage – Jared

  37. Greetings! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same
    niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have
    done a outstanding job!

  38. Hi every one, here every person is sharing these kinds of know-how, thus it’s good to read this webpage, and I used to
    pay a visit this webpage all the time.

  39. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did
    you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to design my
    own blog and would like to know where u got this from.
    thanks

  40. I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly.
    I am quite sure I will learn a lot of new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  41. I absolutely love your site.. Very nice colors & theme.
    Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as I?m wanting to create my very own site and would love to find out where you got this from or what the
    theme is named. Appreciate it!

    Feel free to visit my webpage – buy seeds online

  42. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it,
    you are a ggreat author. I wil be sure to bookmark your blog and will come back at some point.

    I want to encourage you to continue your great posts,
    have a nice afternoon!

  43. Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d
    ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog post
    or vice-versa? My blog goes over a lot of the same subjects as yours
    and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you’re interested feel free to send me an email.

    I look forward to hearing from you! Superb blog by
    the way!

  44. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I
    provide credit and sources back to your website? My blog is in the exact same area of interest as yours and
    my users would genuinely benefit from a lot of the information you provide
    here. Please let me know if this alright with
    you. Appreciate it!

  45. What’s up to every one, since I am actually eager of reading this website’s post to
    be updated daily. It carries pleasant information.

  46. My partner and I stumbled over here by a different web page and thought I might
    as well check things out. I like what I see so
    i am just following you. Look forward to going over
    your web page repeatedly.

  47. I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put
    in writing this blog. I’m hoping the same high-grade web site post
    from you in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing skills has encouraged
    me to get my own web site now. Actually the blogging
    is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a good example of it.

    My website :: weight loss success

  48. hello!,I really like your writing very much! percentage
    we be in contact extra approximately your post on AOL?

    I need a specialist in this space to resolve my problem.

    Maybe that is you! Having a look ahead to peer you.

  49. Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have
    done a wonderful job!

  50. We’re a bunch of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
    Your website offered us with helpful information to work on. You have performed an impressive process and our
    entire neighborhood shall be thankful to you.

    my page :: Ölmassagen

  51. Если предусмотрено приложение .apk, то необходимо скачать мобильную версию онлайн казино бесплатно.

    Look into my page: Francis

  52. Its such as you learn my mind! You seem to know so much approximately this, such as you wrote the e
    book in it or something. I feel that you just can do with some % to drive the message house a little bit, however other than that, this
    is excellent blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

  53. Just wish to say your article is as surprising.
    The clarity in your post is simply excellent and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject.

    Well with your permission allow me to grab
    your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.

  54. Greetings! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know
    how to make your site mobile friendly? My
    weblog looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a
    template or plugin that might be able to fix this issue.
    If you have any recommendations, please share.
    Cheers!

  55. Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely magnificent.
    I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like
    what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep
    it smart. I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is actually a wonderful site.

  56. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.

    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent
    post. Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!

  57. I believe this is one of the so much significant information for me.
    And i’m happy reading your article. However want to
    commentary on some common issues, The web site taste is great, the articles is
    in reality nice : D. Just right job, cheers

  58. Wow! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a totally different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Superb choice of colors!

  59. Nice weblog right here! Also your site quite a bit up very fast!
    What host are you using? Can I am getting your associate hyperlink to your host?
    I desire my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  60. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo
    News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!

    Thanks

  61. My brother recommended I might like this website.
    He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine just how much time
    I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  62. It is not my first time to pay a visit this website, i
    am browsing this website dailly and obtain fastidious
    facts from here all the time.

  63. I am curious to find out what blog system you have been using?
    I’m experiencing some small security problems with my latest site and I’d like
    to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any solutions?

  64. Right here is the perfect website for anybody who wishes to understand this topic.
    You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you
    (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You definitely
    put a fresh spin on a topic which has been discussed
    for a long time. Excellent stuff, just excellent!

  65. Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely wonderful.

    I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you’re stating and
    the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to
    keep it sensible. I cant wait to read much more from you.
    This is really a great site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.