4 Tips for Designers to Manage Client Feedback

Managing client feedback is often the most challenging part of the design process.

Mainly this is because your clients aren’t designers. They’re not familiar with the lingo and often don’t understand the intricacies of design, so their feedback can be vague and confusing.

For example, a client might look at a webpage, focus on the main menu and say, “I don’t like the colors.” If you don’t know they’re referencing the main menu, you’ll change the color scheme for the entire website. When that client views the site again, they’ll ask why you changed the color scheme because it was perfect.

When clients provide feedback without specific details, it can really tank your project. It wastes time as you go back and forth trying to understand what they really mean. And if you misinterpret what’s being requested, it can send the entire project off in the wrong direction.

If you want to speed up design projects, nail your client’s vision, and deliver the project on time, use these tips to manage client feedback.

1. Consolidate communication platforms

When you interact with clients across multiple platforms, information and feedback gets easily lost. Managing client feedback requires consolidating the platforms where a project is discussed. Similar to how you would keep all your appointments in the one calendar, you should keep all the feedback for your design project in one place.

Say you’ve added your client on social media and you start discussing their project on Facebook, Twitter, email, and through text messages. You’ll face several problems. Messages on one platform will be outdated compared to messages on other platforms and if there’s a contradiction, you’ll need to ask your client for clarification. This happens frequently when clients use social media to share their thoughts and ideas and then change their mind as the project moves along.

Another problem with using multiple platforms is the potential to miss certain requests. If a client makes a request to you on Twitter, but you don’t see it, you could go through an entire design phase and never incorporate their request.

Consolidating your communication platforms puts all the back-and-forth conversation in one spot in a linear way so you can easily reference the latest requests and find old requests.

2. Set strict deadlines for deliverables

Generating actionable feedback from clients requires having strict deadlines for deliverables. Along with content, the feedback process should be considered part of each deliverable. When feedback isn’t part of a design phase, you’ll either get little to no feedback from your clients or you’ll get overwhelmed with emails and text messages every time your client has a new thought.

Requiring clients to hold on to their feedback until a set time also eliminates unnecessary frustration. For example, if clients look at their project daily and you’re not done with the next phase, they’re going to send you feedback based on an incomplete design phase.

When both you and your client agree to deliver content and feedback on a set schedule, your feedback cycle becomes predictable. With a predictable feedback cycle, you can count on speedy design phases.

Start by setting strict deadlines for deliverables and make sure to follow through on your end as well. Set a time limit for clients to submit feedback after each of your project deliverables. For example, after delivering each phase of a project, require clients to provide detailed feedback within 3 business days. This will force clients to sit down and review their project instead of putting it on the back burner.

3. Communicate live whenever possible

Communicating live with a client gives you the upper hand when it comes to understanding their vision. You can refine ideas and feedback in a live conversation much faster than you can through emails or text messages. You can also clarify tiny points before they become sources of frustration or upset.

Communicating live is essential when a client has high expectations. These clients often have unrealistic expectations and don’t understand that certain changes aren’t easy or small. These are the clients that believe it should take five seconds to change a color scheme.

Communicating live gives you the opportunity to be firm about asserting which things you can’t change on a whim. Hearing a firm voice say “no” holds more authority than seeing words on a computer screen.

4. Generate specific, actionable feedback with Userback

If you want to complete your projects to your clients’ satisfaction, you can’t afford any ambiguous feedback. Vague, open-ended questions like, “do you like it?” will generate vague answers. You may even get a partial answer or no answer at all.

Successful projects require specific, actionable feedback, which is easy to generate with Userback. With Userback, clients can provide visual feedback by sending you annotated screenshots with specific comments. Your clients won’t have to try to describe what they want in words when they can show you directly.

Why you need a visual feedback system

When clients don’t have a background in design, open-ended feedback won’t be specific. Most clients don’t have the technical vocabulary to explain what they do and don’t like about their site beyond the surface of aesthetics. Clients often use technical terms incorrectly and interchangeably, which causes massive confusion when you’re trying to implement feedback.

If you simply ask a client to email you their feedback, you’ll get a mixed bag of commentary that may not be specific or actionable. However, when you ask a client to point out specific sections of a web project and provide specific feedback about each section, you’ll get the feedback needed to move the project forward.

Userback generates specific, actionable feedback from clients

Userback is an effective way to generate specific, actionable feedback from your clients. With Userback, clients can send you screenshots along with their comments so you can see exactly what they see. With screenshots, you won’t have to sift through lengthy explanations and try to translate client descriptions. Userback also integrates with popular software applications like Jira, Slack, Teamwork and ClickUp.

If you’re frustrated with the way clients give you feedback, it’s not their fault. You just need a better system that supports and encourages a more streamlined, specific feedback process.

Try Userback today for free and see how this simple tool can transform your design and development process.

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