Client’s Request – Understanding It and What to Do

Understanding Client's Request

Understanding a client’s request can be challenging. Sometimes clients just don’t make any sense. You’re probably laughing right now because you’re dealing with a client that often sends confusing or vague requests. The choice is to push through the request and try to do what you think they’re asking for, in which case you’re essentially guessing and crossing your fingers, or you can try to get some clarity on the request. There are actually some pros and cons to both approaches. Let’s take a closer look.

Guessing a Client’s Request and Hoping

When you don’t understand a client’s request you can guess. Sometimes this works out just fine. You guess correctly and all is well. Other times, you completely miss the mark. The problem with this approach is that you might be wrong, and this can result in your wasted time and energy and an unhappy client. In most cases, it’s just not worth it to struggle through an unclear project. It’s a better idea to get some clarity on the client’s request and make sure you know exactly what they want before you start working.

However if you know the client fairly well or the request is something that you’ve handled often, then you may be able make safer assumptions. You have the knowledge and experience to make an educated guess. It may still be a good idea to clarify with a statement like, “just so I understand you correctly, you would like me to do […], correct?”

Asking for Clarity About a Client’s Request

When you don’t understand a client’s request, you may have some fears about asking for clarity. You don’t want to pester the client. You don’t want to appear dumb or incapable of doing the job. However, in the long run it’s much more professional and productive to ask questions. If you’re afraid that the client will feel pestered, be strategic with how you phrase the questions. “I want to make sure that I understand your request correctly so that I can do the best job for you.” That puts your client at ease and it positions you as a professional and an equal partner – someone who cares about your clients and the work that you do for them.

Write down your questions first.Before you contact the person to get clarity on the project, try to anticipate all of the questions you may have. This way you can gain a complete understanding of the task, responsibly, or project as efficiently as possible. They’ll appreciate that you’re thorough, and you’ll save time, energy, and money.

You are not a mind reader, and sometimes clients forget that. They’re busy, they are overwhelmed and you’re their solution. Creating systems at the front end will help your clients get organized and communicate more effectively.

Questionnaires, checklists, and other materials can help you get started with new clients and new projects quickly.

 

 

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