We’ve been talking about projects going bad and how to go about rescuing them. So far we’ve covered negative and angry feedback and how to deal with it. The main question that should always be answered when you receive negative feedback is: what exactly does the client want? From here you there are certain steps you should take to ensure you get your project back on the right path.
First things first, if the client isn’t happy its important to reassure them that you’re still capable of doing the work. One very common when working with clients is that the first draft is not usually your best work. In the first run of something you won’t want to devote too much time and attention because obviously, you’re unsure what direction the client will take. Sometimes though, clients almost expect to see a finished draft in this initial step. Be sure you’ve gone through the process with your client BEFORE sending anything over. I would often use the analogy of a painter. The first draft is like putting a sample colour on the wall and making sure it’s the colour they want.
Often in my experience when a client doesn’t like something it’s often because they’ve changed their mind about what they want. In any project where you’ll have to rip it up and start again it’s important to try and minimize any time pressure. Re-scope when the project will be complete with your client to ensure that you don’t deliver late. In some cases you may also need to re-scope the project in terms of what you’re delivering. It’s important that your client understands that this was not what was originally agreed and that now potentially they will have to pay more.
Having a clear paper trail is very important, especially when things are not going well. This is why I talked about getting as detailed feedback as possible. Even if you’ve had a phone conversation with the client, then be sure to write up an email and send it them back. You need clear evidence to point back to show that you have been reacting on their changes. You should already have established how many changes etc this client will get so be firm and ensure they get all of their changes in one rather than start something and have a quick email “oh actually could you…?”