The client interest curve through the life of a project

At the start of a project the client interest is always very high. Lots of people involved, plenty of energy and ideas are flowing. It’s easy to get meetings and everyone wants to be involved.

Then, in the mid phase, when, from the agency point of view, the actual work gets done, the client will frequently go quiet. Calls aren’t returned as quickly as before, assets take a while coming over, it can take an age to to get designs signed off and so on. This is understandable of course, the client has lots of projects going on, it’s the centre of your world but it’s only a part of theirs.

Then the deadline approaches. And bang, they’re back. More involved than ever, invariably stressed, wanting changes, adding bits, calling urgent meetings and so on. Of course it doesn’t always happen like this but I’ve seen it a lot, it causes a lot of tension for everyone. Here are some simple thoughts on how you can avoid it:

Make sure the client knows, right at the start of the project, that you will need a responsive and responsible contact available throughout. This won’t be fire and forget.

Set up a regular update call, at least once a week, make sure you get all the stakeholders involved, from both sides, this doesn’t need to be long, 20 minutes is normally enough.

Get issues out on the table early, if there’s a delay in design at your end, tell the client early, don’t wait for the mad crescendo at the end.

Finally try to get your teams to deliver the project in a way that keeps the client interested and involved. Phased releases, working prototypes and testable demos are all good.

Simple stuff I know but you’d be amazed how client and agency communication drops off around the middle of a project, do your best to avoid it.

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