Aunty Entity #14: How Do I Keep My Client Updated?
Photo by | spoon |.
I’ve started a design project with a new client. How often should you contact your client or contact them with updates and do you have any tips for this?
Remember: A client wants to feel loved like everyone else. Even if you have no news, a brief email every day or two days, even to say ‘hello’, is a non-intrusive way of letting the client know that you are thinking of them and have the project in your mind. This also keeps you fresh in their minds — flow-on work usually happens this way.
It’s a good idea to submit a weekly work-in-progress update once the project has started. Try and submit this at the same time each week –- Friday afternoons are good as a ‘close-off’ for the week.
Send a log of any issues/activity recorded. An excel spreadsheet or word document is fine. Ease of use is the key here. Show suggested items such as:
- Client name, project title
- Date of document issue
- Activity or task description
- Date first logged
- Date item was actioned
- Any updates/comments against this item
These documents act as a contact report –- they are also a record of anything agreed, or of any issues which are being worked on or have been resolved. Clients may use these for their own internal reporting purposes so keep them succinct and professional at all times.
Even if they do not ask for these, your client will be impressed by your pro-activeness.
Take the Aunty Entity Quiz: Are you PM material?
The job looks interesting, the salary’s good but you’re not quite sure if you’d fit the bill. Take Aunty Entity’s short quiz to see if you should apply.
Select a, b or c for each answer and check the results at the end.
Q 1: You have a new client and are about to start your first piece of work for them. The project is due in two months. Do you:
a) Go on holiday – it’s like due in two months, there’s heeeeaaaps of time
b) Arrange a kickoff meeting with all people involved in the project to agree deadlines, tasks and objectives
c) issue an invoice immediately and launch a takeover bid for a rival business
Q 2: You are halfway through a project and things are going a little awry. Too many changes have been requested and approvals have not been forthcoming from the client. Do you:
a) Say: “Problem? What problem. Aren’t these shoes nice? They match my handbag”
b) Call the client and request a meeting to discuss project issues and moving forward
c) Call the client scream obscenities closing with the threat of sending two large mates with baseball bats round to their premises
Q 3: It’s the client’s birthday. Do you:
a) Wonder: do clients have birthdays?
b) Send flowers or vintage champagne
c) Send a large invoice with a handwritten note: ‘hugs and kisses, Biatch’
Q 4: In meetings at the client’s premises do you:
a) Turn up 30 minutes late. Your laptop containing the only copy of work being left at home, in a taxi or that funky little store round the corner
b) Arrive on time, bearing coffee and snacks
c) You don’t show: ‘time is money Jones’
Q 5: The term ‘filing’ to you means:
a) A procedure which must be completed before the first coat of varnish
b) All important documents stored electronically or as a paper version so they can be accessed easily
c) 1) the first route to escape, 2) burn, flush or eat all incriminating documents
Mostly As. Practise saying: ”do you want fries with that?”
Mostly Bs. Apply for ‘head of project management’ at Saatchis
Mostly Cs. Invade Poland this winter