Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Ah, revisions – the bane of many creative lives. We've all had clients who've done this to us – everything is going fine, until you send in the first proofs and suddenly, theywant to change everything.
If not reined in and managed properly, revisions can completely derail a project. So how do you manage clients who seem to want you to redo everything multiple times and call at all hours of the day with new ideas they want you to incorporate into the design?
Here are our top tips on dealing with clients who overstep the bounds of "reasonable" when it comes to revisions:
Remember that They Don't Understand
Clients aren't designers or developers or writers or creative professionals. They don't understand how the actual process works. What you consider to be annoying time-suck, they think is part of the creative process.
When dealing with a client who is making the revision process difficult, it helps to remember that they don't actually realise they're being difficult. As nicely and gently as possible, let them know that you can't simply redo the entire project for the forth time, and why, and refer them back to their contract (see below).
Write it Into the Contract
The amount of revisions a client gets – and a definition of exactly what constitutes a revision – should be written into the contract from the outset. If a specified number of revisions is established from the beginning, the client will be able to manage the revision process more effectively and you won't have any obligation to go beyond the scope of the project.
Eliminate the Need for Revisions
Of course, you can never eliminate the need for revisions entirely, but you can help significantly limit the amount of revisions you do by establishing a robust process in the initial stages of a project. The more you understand what a client wants, and the results they want to generate, the more likely you'll be able to hit that target first time.
Involve the client in the early stages of the creative process, showing them the rough mock-ups and running ideas by them before you incorporate them into the project. Not only does this help the client feel involved, but also it means that elements can be altered and ideas incorporated during the early stages, and revisions will likely be less arduous.
Outline a Timeline
It can also help to give your client a timeline for each stage of the process, including revisions. With a looming deadline for getting revision requests in, your client is much less likely to decide the whole thing needs to be redone. A timeline also helps you to manage your team's time more effectively, allowing more time for incoming projects.
This is where workflow management software like Workflow Max can be so useful. You can specify deadlines and timelines for projects and specific tasks within a project, highlight specific project milestones, and provide a platform for clients to review progress and add notes for revisions.
Above all, remember that revisions are an important part of the creative process. An idea rarely comes together fully formed in the first flurry of activity – it needs to be refined and reformed to meet the needs of the client – who ultimately is who you have to please. Don't be too proud to admit that your design work or coding could need a little tweaking.
The revision process helps your creative team to refine their ideas and learn from their mistakes, and it's an essential part of the agency/client process. So don't fear revisions – but just put steps in place to ensure the client doesn't create problems during this crucial stage.