As a full-service creative studio, client communication is such a huge part of our design process and vital to a healthy, happy working relationship. Over the years, we’ve honed a system that streamlines this process and ensures the lines of communication are wide open. Using a combination of great digital tools and a robust system for different types of creative projects has been the key to success. Our ultimate goal is to make sure our clients feel heard and up to date with everything happening on their projects
Below we’ve outlined what our communication looks like for both custom design projects and Instagram management clients as well as some of the tools we utilize for each. Here are our best practices and effective tips to help streamline your communication with clients.
Whenever possible, we encourage client communication to happen digitally. We like to ensure ideas are documented so our entire team is kept in the loop and can reference back whenever necessary. This helps us not only run through project checklists but make sure all requests are marked off the to-do list. Having a digital footprint that you can file away and refer back to is so incredibly helpful and a much quicker process as well.
Of course, we are always happy to hop on a scheduled call to talk through ideas during the early phases of a project. However, by moving communication to digital platforms for the majority of our interactions, it really helps create a more thorough, strategic process that respects everyone’s time and availability.
While these processes are specific to IDCO Studio, there are definitely key take-aways you can implement as an interior designer. Digital communication is perfect for everything from contracts and invoicing to project updates and design proposals. We always suggest designers use Dubsado. We’ll go more in-depth below about the various ways in which we utilize this program. You can send design boards via sub-contracts, so clients can leave feedback on each design concept, as well as approve/disapprove of each individual item. Not to mention, all contracts and invoicing can be handled through Dubsado.
Design and Office of Studio McGee
For custom design projects such as branding or web design, there are a lot of drafts and proofs that need to be signed off on as well as a strict timeline for each step. This makes our communication process extremely important. Here are the key steps we utilize for every project:
We create bespoke digital questionnaires that our clients work on before their project officially begins. This questionnaire is a great overview of the client’s brand and goals that is kept on file for the whole team to reference whenever needed. This helps to keep us all on the same page.
Whenever we are onboarding a new client, we create a portal in Dubsado that houses all proofs and communication regarding each draft. These proofs are sent in a digital form with easy to fill in boxes for providing feedback or revision requests. They are then tracked and stored in the client portal for easy accessibility.
When creating website drafts, we have an amazing built-in tool we are able to utilize because we are a certified Wix Expert. With this tool, we can send our clients live drafts of their test site, so they can experience a functioning product. They can even test the mobile version directly from the feedback link. Then, they leave sticky notes directly on the live draft website with revision requests, feedback or additional content submissions. This has been such a helpful step for our web design clients.
We have recently implemented Friday update emails to each of our custom design clients. This email includes an overview of their project, any outstanding action items that need to be taken care of as well as what’s coming up. Even if it feels repetitive, it gives the client assurance that you are on top of everything and they are aware of exactly where you are at on the project timeline. We’ve found this to be really effective for client communications.
Interior Design: The Identité Collective | Photography: Madeline Harper
Much like our custom design projects, our Instagram management services require extensive communication with clients, including approvals on each and every caption that goes out the door. Here is what we do to make that process run smoothly:
Just like our custom projects, we send a detailed digital questionnaire. This walks through priorities, goals and the current status of a client’s Instagram account. It also helps to craft a detailed brand voice for that client. We reference these questionnaires all the time.
From here, our team takes that info and creates a shared project management board on Trello. This board outlines project details, problems solved, links to dropbox folders, photographers, and hashtags. This is also where we’ll have all our communications continuing through the project. Trello not only frees up your inbox, but it ensures our entire team has access to all communications, project files, etc.
We send all Instagram reviews through Dubsado. Not only does it track when communications were sent but it easily allows clients to digitally sign off on their bi-monthly proposal. They receive a digital approval form (here is a live example) that shows their proposed grid, their content outline, each individual photo, proposed posting date and proposed caption. Then they simply select approved or revision submitted.
Design and Image: Amber Interiors
Being a creative studio, we know all too well how important that line of communication with clients is. Creating a digital paper trail and finding those tools that really streamline the process have all been extremely beneficial to our overall communication both internally and with clients and works equally as well in the Interior Design realm. If interested, here are a few other processes we swear by:
The Best Process for File Organization
Systems and Processes for Interior Designers
What Our Instagram Management Services Look Like
IDCO Studio is a full-service creative studio for interior designers and boutique lifestyle brands. Offering bespoke branding, web design and social media content creation, we help brands built around beautiful living elevate their digital presence to represent the physical spaces they design. Our recently launched limited-release website templates are the perfect way for interior designers to get a luxury website on a budget. These templates allow designers to maintain control of their content. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.
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