This is just going to be me examining a few different client interactions and how you can get more from them as a service provider. I don’t think this is specific to design and development work but can probably be a bit more broadly applied to other service sectors in a B2B environment.

TL/DR: Always ask a client what they are hoping to achieve at the end of a request. This helps you as the service provider to ensure the process and systems you put in place for the client achieve the result or can at the minimum: measure it’s success.

Great, now that you have the TL/DR secret, let’s look at that a bit closer by running through a recent scenario I had that got me thinking about this.

Scenario: Your client wants some new pictures on their site

Great, we love honest billable hours, and it’s always good to have work updating a site and make sure things are running as should be. In this case the client is looking for “insert awesome product here” to be showcased on their site. Whatever they sell doesn’t matter, just that they sell a service. This service is backed by “name brands” that it is always good to have next to your name or on your truck. I am just assuming all of this because the development request simply said “add some pictures to the site, here is my login for “insert awesome product here.”

I didn’t want to have to get on the phone and go through this, so I used a bit of nudge theory. The follow prompts I used hopefully help establish good lines of communication and expectations about work requests that make my job easier, and make the resulting work focused, measurable and better for the clients business needs.

More than happy to get this product onto your site but I have a few questions first.

  1. It looks like you are trying to add value to your offering by adding “insert awesome product here”. I will happily add these images to your website but I want you to do me a favor:
  2. Start thinking about your end goal. What do you want your customers to do or know about you by having “insert awesome product here” on your website?
  3. These images are great, but have you thought about any copy you want to say here? Or maybe just enough words so we can get these on their own page “client-site.com/insert-awesome-product-url-here”?
  4. Every time you want to do work on your site thing about the last thing you want your customers to do with that information so can work backwards with you to make sure step one gets us there.

What we are doing above is helping set expectations and get the customer in the right frame of mind to make valuable work requests. I want the work I do for clients to be as meaningful as possible, and I need to help get the client there sometimes. This helps facilitate a clear scope of work and hopefully we get to measure the success of the work against analytics and KPIs.

If we can get the above thinking a regular practice, then the relationship will grow, your success will be linked to your client, and referrals and recommendations will come your way because the trust and reward is established.