What's on the iPod: Middle Brother by Middle Brother
That took up much of the weekend, as did an odd intestinal virus that put me down for much of Saturday. I don't know what it was, but it was sharp pains that kept me doubled over and unable to do anything more than sit and complain. Luckily, it was short-lived and I'm back to normal again.
I was working with a client last week when I got a compliment on something I'd done. To me, it was a minor thing. To the client, it was brilliant. It's nice how those simple things can make you look like a genius. So what was the thing I'd done that made the client think I was so smart?
I labeled a file with the date.
Not exactly rocket science, is it? But when you're working with several copies of the same file, you need a simple system. They were using a numeric system. That would have worked fine, except we had 19 different pieces to this project, and some were getting three revisions, some none. Better to pick something a bit more traceable. They loved it. I did too, because now I could search easily for the file should I need to.
We have a lot of different ways in which we can impress clients. Most of them require working beyond expectations or pulling late-night work sessions. But what about those simple things that have such a huge impact? Here are a few I've used that have made clients happy:
File naming. I've named files with my name, subject, and date (magazine editors love that), and I've named files with the project name and the date. In some cases, I've even mentioned the revision number, especially if the client is charged beyond three revisions -- for example, "ABC Corp Expansion Release v2 8-18-13". Also, I've seen clients write dates like so: 081513 or 08_15_13. Why I don't like this -- it's not easy to read at a glance (the first one) or easy to type (the second one). Instead, I use hyphens. But if they're locked in to their own numbering system, I bite the bullet and go with what they want.
Email subject lines. There have been a few client emails that started with "Checking in" or "Your availability" in which they then tack on the project, and then start new emails where they ask a million relevant questions. What I do is respond to the email, change the subject line to the name of the project, and where needed, paste the questions into that same email. I let them know I'm doing it to "keep it all in one place" so we ca find everything easier. No client has ever complained about this.
Anticipating needs. Beyond the really simple, sometimes it's easy to look like a rock star when you're working on something and say what your client wants before they realize it. For example, that white paper would really shine if it had some cool graphics, which you just happen to have looked up. Makes you look like an invaluable, collaborative part of the team.
Bulleted correspondence. Sometimes the project needs a coordinator. When I'm working on something unwieldy, I give the clients a weekly or bi-weekly update email, complete with bulleted accomplishments and things yet to be done. And the subject line is the name of the project, the word "update" and the date. Keeps everyone on track and allows clients to step in and correct you if you've missed something.
What simple things do you do that impresses your clients?