Interior design, and other creatively based fields, require a great deal of personal opinion, communication skills, and problem-solving abilities. No matter what type of company you work for, the ways to make your interior design customer like you are going to be similar. In a consultant role, you may have more flexibility than as part of a large organization but in both cases the end customer will be the one to determine how successful you are in your job. Understanding how to meet the customer’s needs while making visual and aesthetic magic can lead to a long term relationship that will build your business.
Set realistic expectations
Some of the biggest challenges between interior designers and their customers can occur when there are not clear expectations of the different parts of the project. The first way to make your interior design customer like you is to ask questions to determine what they believe will be achieved by your collaboration. Even people who take a very ‘hands off’ approach to the project should share what the outcomes for the agreement will be. Having a realistic and detailed perspective of what the customer will have at the end eliminates disappointment and frustration.
Another important part of the expectations is establishing a controllable budget. Sure, there will be situations where the customer decides they want the upgraded granite, higher quality wood floors, or special vases. Without an initial controllable budget, both you and the customer could be shocked at the end when invoices are being generated. Knowing what amounts are acceptable at the start will provide a framework for any discussions about upgrades and higher quality products.
Make a plan
Any project should have clear timelines for when certain parts will be completed. Unexpected delays may happen, but an initial plan will allow open discussions for you and the customer to make adjustments and get back on track. The timeline should have as much detail as possible so there is no stress from the customer about when things will be moving along or in a pause mode.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Customers will like you more if they feel informed. Interior design is a creative art, and some artists like to keep their visions to themselves until they are fully actualized. The problem with this strategy is that the customer may question ‘why are we doing X before Y?’ Even if you end up changing your direction on something once you see how it looks, keeping the customer informed will make any changes easier.
Do well and ask for more
Once a project is finished, the best way to evaluate if your customer was satisfied is to find out whether they were thrilled when showing their friends and family. The design industry is built on referrals, word of mouth, and formal reviews and critiques. The fifth way to make your interior design customer like you is to give them an opportunity to share your skills with others. Being able to support friends and family with a great resource for their projects will make their lives easier and reinforce your customer’s satisfaction with your work.
- Sell Your Art to Interior Designers on Houzz (artistmarketingresources.com)
- Interior Designers – What Should I write About On My Blog (kothea.com)