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How to manage your Client for Issues and Advice on Design & Printing

29th June 2016

The two main client issues that occur on a regular basis are unrealistic or inflated expectations, and the tendency to offer solutions rather than outline problems.

The majority of clients have little or no experience in technical printing ‘lingo’ or design, which is why they come to professionals for help. There is a popular misconception that design is easy, and this is something that has been propagated by program manufacturers and educators over the years. Because of this, many clients have unrealistic expectations when it comes to budget, timeframe and features.

At Kestrel Printing Limited, as professionals, it is our job to manage our clients’ expectations and make sure they understand exactly what they will be getting as a result of the design & print process. Unfortunately in the rush to sell services and win pitches, companies often over promise and under deliver. This may win clients in the short term, but in the long term they will be left feeling short changed. It is much wiser to under promise and over deliver. That way clients will always be delighted with the work you produce.

Good communications at the start of any project are vital, as it allows you to manage client expectations. It is also an opportunity to set some ground rules and explain to clients exactly how the design & print process will work.

Design is all about creative problem solving. In an ideal world your clients will define the problems they are facing, and then you will come up with the best solution to solve those problems. However people are naturally helpful and clients really enjoy getting involved with design projects. As such, rather than coming to you with a problem to fix, clients will often come to you with one of several possible solutions and ask you to implement them.

Examples of this could be anything from a client suggesting that a font needs to be made bigger, through to explaining that on a computer the colours look different than when the job is printed. In these situations, it is important to understand that the client recommendation is just one possible solution to a much deeper problem, and it is your job to examine what that problem is, look at all of the available solutions, and then suggest the best one for the job.

To avoid these situations, it is important to explain the design & print process up front and make sure your client is explaining what the problems are, rather than simply offering one of several solutions. That way your client will get the most out of your expert knowledge and the project has a much higher chance of success.