It was affecting mine.
In a recent conversation with my accountability buddy, we were comparing notes about clients who keep coming back asking for more, even after the job is closed up. “If you feel angry or resentful when a customer asks you to do something, it’s not the job; there’s something wrong with your relationship to the job,” said Cliff Martin, systems engineer, physicist and martial arts instructor.
As a creative I put my heart and soul into a project, so when a client keeps coming back asking for one more “little” change, it frequently changes another part of the design. Before I know it
• the job has changed a lot
• I’m soon playing catch-up on my other obligations, and
• things can get a little tense in other areas of my life.
Granted, some of the change requests lead to an improved design, and a truly happy customer, but not always. Some people are just hard to please, or they love the design process so much they don’t want our working relationship to end: flattering but costly.
Begin Ruled by Resentment or Fear
In the past when a client asked for more, it seemed I had only two choices:
1. Just do it to keep my customer blissfully happy with me and my work?
2. Tell them, “No more changes,” and risk having them go away angry and telling their associates I’m a disappointment?…
Professional Project Management to the Rescue
One of my truly happy customers are professional project managers. Julia Donnelly, PMP and Linda Sanders help small businesses get their projects under control from the very start by teaching them how to manage a project the same way large corporations do:
Starting with the Project Charter, Julia and Linda have helped me develop a a document that includes all the necessary information so that my clients and I understand exactly what they are paying me to do before their design begins. Plus it contains the all important Change Request Form.
Now, if my clients want to take their design in another direction, and away from the stated purpose outlined in the Project Charter, we’re able to regroup and outline a new objective. I’ll then drawn up a new Project Charter and refine it until it meets my clients objectives. Once we’re all in agreement upon the desired outcome, and the additional costs, I can move forward to bring their design to my clients’ desired completion.
Happy client. Happy me.