How to make your team deliver when dealing with tough clients


How to make your team deliver when dealing with tough clients

We have all had tough clients, unhappy clients, micromanaging clients and the most annoying category- the iteration lover. So how do you cope? How do we find that balance where the client knows the iteration limit and your team understands the value of the perfect delivery?

Its not easy and I really don’t have the answer to that. However, what I gathered from the last few years of working for an agency that delivers high quality collateral for large technology firms is that its important to say no, commit timelines clearly, stick to them and, sadly, be slightly pushy. I compiled yet another cliched list of things you might want to do if you are running an agency or managing a team that’s struggling to find that critical balance:

Don’t let the relentless pressure get to you or your team 

There will always be critical projects, in fact, after a while, all projects will seem critical. Don’t take it easy yourself but make sure your team takes it easy. Writers and designers are a breed that deliver their best when they know they don’t need to.

Make people believe they report to the client 

Hierarchy is stupid and dated. The only way to build ownership in your team is to make sure that all of them have heard the client scream at you at least once. Now make them face the client, they will remember the screaming and deliver accordingly. Works. Every time.

Speed up delivery 

The trouble with team work is that there is one guy who is always slower than the rest. The bigger trouble is that the guy might actually be indispensable to your final deliverable. The solution is simple, put the guy in charge of timeline and crunch the timeline itself to something tighter. If the laziest guy works faster, the good ones have little choice.

Sell the idea of a 24/7 job 

Make your job look cool, convince them that its 24/7 and make them want to do it. Don’t let that last stinker from the client show on your forehead.

Keep talking to the client 

Some of them just want to talk to someone and validate their role and existence. Tell them how much their suggestions helped create that masterpiece you delivered late last Friday.

Now pick up that phone and say hi. You are already behind schedule.

The article was first published here.

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