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The Balance of Customer’s Demands and Resources is must for becoming Successful

Any customer always looks for long term relation with their external agencies. For a UX design agency it is very important that we always empathise our end users and business. Although every agency has a strong design process, but they still fail to impress customers on a long run due to lack of strong resources.
Either it is during project execution or building a team where agencies fail mostly. So let’s understand what are the key challenges to achieve delight factor.
Before deep diving into this, lets first define success from both the ends.
What does success mean for an agency?

  • Repeat business
  • Referrals
  • Extra bonus
  • Kudos & Testimonials

Finally what matters is more business for agency.
What does success mean for a customer?

  • Able to achieve their business goal with limited budget & in a short time
  • Positive feedback from end users
  • Inspiring their competitors on product innovation

Now, let’s ponder more what exactly is a client looking for when they hire an external design agency to solve their design problems?
For any business, this plays absolutely a key role. No business wants to engage a un-predictable path. As a UX Design agency we have to win customers heart first.

  • Build trust and confidence, 50% of it is done during the sales pitch. That’s why you got the project.
  • Bring transparency on the table from day 1 of your engagement. May it be resource allocation, process, timeline or deliverables.
  • Be clear and timely in your communications.
  • Always set the right expectations.
  • Learn to say NO. Customers are also human.
  • When Pizza joints can guarantee and educate us on when/where/how is your pizza going to be delivered. Why not design agency try?
  • As an agency if you are able to convince your client that the project is with safe hands, you have crossed a big milestone.

Everyone wants the best, and so is your client. No one wants to compromise at any cost. Customers understand good UX is good business and to achieve good UX it takes time.

  • Keep your bar high at all stages starting from your communication language to deliverables.
  • Always educate your client on why something takes more effort vs less. Illustrate it with examples, they will understand.
  • Recommend alternatives how to achieve quick win vs big win.
  • Have solid internal review process, before it reaches to stakeholders.
  • Wear an eagle’s eye during design review process, most of the times customers are not happy seeing lorem-ipsums, typos or irrelevant stock images. They forget about all your good work but pick on these minors.
  • Be focused on delivering what was promised in that phase, anything more would be a nice to have.
  • Best thing about quality is, you can set your own benchmark and keep pushing it.

Biggest enemy for any designer or design agency. One of the key reason why agencies fail, especially with Enterprise customers. These are few standard questions that arise from design community.

  • How can I design this stuff in 1 week? It’s impossible.
  • Why are you asking me for a timeline for every deliverable?
  • We cannot estimate?
  • We can’t achieve quality in this short period of time?
  • I am a problem solver and a creative guy, I don’t understand project planning.

Unless you don’t empathise for business, your designs are meaningless.

  • Always learn to respect deadline and work with constraints.
  • Never under or over estimate the project. Remember client understands agencies always add a buffer.
  • Most of the low hanging fruits can be solved through good project planning, setting right expectation and clear communications.
  • Have a dedicated team working for every client, so that everyone has deep knowledge on the problem they are solving. Customers should feel that you are an extended team for them, who are thinking of their problem day-in day-out.
  • Involve a business analyst (Project manager), who can collaborating with Customers, lead UX designers & other visual designers.
  • Project manager can focus on most of the non-design activities like co- ordinating the customers, communication, setting expectations from both the ends to scheduling meetings. This will make sure designers are only focus on problem solving and creating wow factor respecting deadlines.

Customers always want resourceful resource, meaning someone who has been there and done it. They are looking for experts not mediocre human resource. They are looking for extended team and not merely outsource work to 3rd party.
Remember you don’t complete a project, but you take care of them.
About the Author
Dhayan Kumar is an seasoned enterprise product UX strategist & a thought leader. He is the co-founder and chief designer of f1studioz, an enterprise user experience firm located across India & US.
Prior to starting f1studioz 5 years back, he has experience in delivering usability expertise, designing effective and efficient user interfaces for high productive Enterprise and Mobile solutions for various MNCs like Cordys, Oracle & InsideView.
He comes with a strong design background with a bachelor degree in Architecture from Anna University and Masters of Design from IIT Bombay.