Are all clients good clients “as long as they pay”?

It is natural, for clients and customers, to judge the services and goods they pay for with their hard-earned money. Some service providers are better than others, for example in terms of the speed and quality of customer support, in the up-time of the web hosting service, and maybe just in the courtesy of the human interactions involved. Clients are able to evaluate these factors, and build an opinion on the service provider, whatever the kind of service involved. The same customers and clients think that, all they have to do in order to be good customers, is to pay in time. And indeed, this is a quite essential requisite for a good customer.

However, there is more to it. Just as clients evaluate and judge the provider, the reverse is also true. This is evident in businesses involved in providing custom internet services to a restricted group of clients (as opposed to bulk services to high client numbers). In this type of business, the key to success is a clean process of communication between the provider and the client, from which the provider has to understand what the client expects/wants from him. The good communication should start at the beginning, by clearly defining the specifications of the project, in as much detail as possible, as the devil indeed hides in the details left un-clarified or poorly analysed. The good communication has great chances to continue at project milestones, for example when a first draft of a website is shown for the first time. Will the client take the time to analyse at this point what is presented, and at this point raise the required objections or requests for changes (if any)? Or will he say that all is fine, just to discover that he does not like this menu in this position the day before going live? Will the client be as attentive to the provider’s needs (the provider needs to know, at defined time points, what the opinion of the client is on the work progress), as the provider is attentive and cary about the client’s needs?

Along the project development process, the provider is the client’s customer, in that he will buy the client’s money with his work. This is a crucial consideration: how much work will this money cost?

Good and timely communication leads to reciprocal satisfaction, and is always the key to the success of a web project as probably in many other aspect of social life.

Image credits: Moyan Brenn Flickr

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