How to be the perfect web agency client?

We’re a web design agency. That means we sit around on beanbags and drink green tea, spending hours contemplating the latest developments in material design… right? Well, sort of. But there’s much more to the story than green tea, bean bags and arty farty stuff.

Everything we do is supported by a complex underlying production line, a proven set of processes and procedures. Without them we couldn’t support our clients through complex projects, nor could we elicit the necessary depth of thinking at every key point.

In many ways it’s a project management thing. But there’s more. It’s also an empathy thing. When you treat your agency the way you’d like to be treated yourself, wonderful things happen.

Very occasionally, projects can go wrong. It’s rarely down to us. It’s usually a client thing, and it’s often no fault of their own. If things go dog-shaped, we believe the only way forward is to sit down, discuss the process together, get things back on track and stay conscious of each others’ needs in future.

As the antidote to a team of yes-men, we like to make our feelings clear. We find it makes for much better longer term relationships. We love straight talk.

We’re a good agency. It’s your job to be a good client. If you’re having problems getting your web design project completed, how can you make sure you’re playing your part properly, supporting your creative partners as every good client should? Here’s how to create an even better relationship with your web design agency.

9 simple steps to becoming the perfect client

Empathy, respect and trust are key to any successful collaboration. Here’s how we help you become a client to die for, the perfect person to work with and a pleasure to deal with.

1. The problem – You don’t really know what you want until you see it. Or do you? If you’re totally honest, are you really saying you don’t want to do the difficult thinking?

The solution? Do the difficult thinking! And make sure you highlight what’s important to you in your web design. The best web agencies are trained to listen, and if you make your needs clear they’ll hear you loud and clear. Giving no guidance, however, puts an agency in an almost impossible position. If you need help with the thinking bit, we’ll support you through the process.

2. The problem – You think you’ve done the planning, but the agency wants more…

The solution? Chill. Let yourself go and trust your agency’s process. They’re the professionals, give them what they ask for. People like us don’t ask difficult questions for fun. We ask because we really need to know, to the ultimate benefit of your business. When you see the results, you’ll be delighted.

3. The problem – You think you’re the web agency’s only client. You’re on the phone or emailing several times a day, and you expect immediate replies. It’s understandable because your project is the most important thing in your world right now.

The solution? While we understand your priorities and appreciate your dedication, we need to spread ourselves fairly around all our clients to give everybody the best possible experience. A professional web agency like us will schedule time in for your project, including adequate time to discuss it. There comes a stage where you’ve just got to let them get on with it.

4. The problem – You don’t pay invoices on time. It puts people like us in a very difficult position because, like you, we depend on a steady cashflow.

The solution? Make sure you pay on time! As you can imagine, extending respect to your agency in this way means they’ll be prepared to work even harder for you. It’s a cclever little trick, it costs nothing and it works every time.

5. The problem – You don’t reply to emails or phone calls. The thing is, web agencies are far too busy to ask silly questions. We only contact you when we need to, when we can’t move forwards without the information we’re asking for.

The solution? If you agency asks questions about your project, answer straight away. Remember that a delay at your end inevitably means a delay at the agency end of things, too.

6. The problem – You add in lots of new features that weren’t in the original agreement, then get cross when we object.

The solution? Empathy is key here. How do you feel when a client of yours demands the universe and more? As you know yourself, every new thing added to a project takes extra planning, designing, and developing. Try to appreciate the fact that your agency is even considering extras, since most won’t even consider extra work until the original scope of the project is completed and paid for.

7. The problem – You don’t manage the stakeholders at your end, and as a result they’re all over the place, asking questions. They’re rummaging around inside thr guts of the project when we should be getting on with making it happen.

The solution? It’s your job to manage your own internal stakeholders. While we can pitch in and help, it  takes away time from your web design project. When you take control you’ll find the whole process so much more enjoyable, efficient and effective. And so will we!

8. The problem – You think you know best about the web design process.

The solution? As a fellow professional you’d probably hate it if someone tried to tell you how to do your job. Trust that your agency know what they are doing. They’ve spent years developing successful processes and procedures, so let them do what they do best. Then you can hold them accountable for the work they deliver.

9. The problem – You sign something off and then change your mind a few days later.

The solution? If you sign off on something, mean it and stick to it. If you want to change things after sign-off the agency has every right to charge extra, just like you would in their shoes.

In conclusion?

A good agency-client relationship is about realistic expectations on both sides. It involves good communications at every stage, and empathy sits at the heart of everything. Get the chemistry right, stick to our advice and your site design project will be a huge success.