As any graphic designer knows, managing expectations is critical to building a stable of satisfied clients. Being approachable and transparent in regards to client relationships is probably more important than the work we do.
In today's fast paced world, clients demand great work, done quickly at a reasonable price. Successful designers must find a way to deliver. Sure, there are great clients with unlimited budgets out there, but it's bad for a long term relationship if expectations aren't established.
The Client Expectation Triangle is a tool that can help determine expectations at the beginning of a project. For most jobs, clients essentially are concerned about three things: Good, Cheap and Fast.
You'll see variations of this around town, usually in diners or at the garage where you take your car in for repairs. The message resonates with a lot of business owners. We can tweak the language a bit to become a bit more professional:
The challenge for designers is being able to deliver on all three: Quality work completed on time for a fair market price. That's a win/win for the client and the designer.
At times you may have to compromise on one of the the three. By discussing the goals of the project with your client, you'll determine what their priorities are.
If the priority is quality, and time is the second priority, it will cost a little more. The reason being that there is a premium for dropping everything else in order to deliver great work within the deadline.
If the deadline is the first priority, and the second priority is cost, quality will have to give in a little. Good creative work takes time to incubate and execute.
The biggest objection we often face is budget. If budget is the first priority, and quality is important, it will take longer to deliver. This is because other projects with tighter deadlines may have to be completed first.
The Client Expectation Triangle helps to determine what the priorities are for any project that comes your way. By setting expectations up front, everyone's in agreement and you'll have a positive outcome.
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