As a business owner, you know what kind of end results you expect from your design agency. You also know that you don’t necessarily have the skills yourself or in-house to achieve that. That’s why you’ve hired the professionals. By the same token, your designers have the expertise to deliver on your project; but don’t necessarily know the ins, outs and nuances of your business or your industry.
But both sides – client and web agency – necessarily have a strong will to make the relationship work and to realize the vision. And that vision could be anything from creating a great logo that will resonate with your target audiences to building a slick, fully functioning website that engages potential prospects and converts them to loyal, paying customers. The key to all this is good communication. You and your design agency need to build a great, working partnership.
Communication begins at the very beginning. When you are setting about hiring a particular agency for a project, you should get a good sense of whether they’re people you want to work with from the outset. Are they interested in the nature of your business, the challenges you’re facing and the opportunities ahead for you?
Can they explain the difference their work has made to other businesses of your size and type? Are they actually listening to what it is you want to achieve and elucidating clearly on the ways they can – or can’t! – help you do it? If they’re blinding you with the science behind what they do and you aren’t getting a clear idea of the results you can expect from your budget, you may want to look elsewhere.
Thereafter, once you’ve made your selection of a design agency to work with, communication centers on building trust in the relationship. There should be an agreed communication plan established from the outset, so both parties know what to expect as the project moves forward.
Do you have a named point of contact whom you can go to if you have queries? Are those questions answered consistently and quickly within a reasonable timeframe? Remember, there may not always be a quick fix or easy answer, but your question should be acknowledged and an indication given of when you might see a full reply. If the concerns you raise are ignored or not addressed to your satisfaction, alarm bells should start ringing.
At the very least, it’s an indication that there’s a difference in communication styles that needs to be tackled. The beauty of hiring a local niche marketing or web design agency is that you can get together for face-to-face meetings from time to time. Continually communicating by phone or email can lead to confusion and misinterpretation of key points. Take advantage of meetings to help build a constructive, positive and friendly relationship with the team you’re working with.
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Of course, communication is a two-way process, so to engender trust and build a good working relationship, you must keep up your end of the agreement with your design agency too. Be honest, transparent and open with your agency and never be afraid to ask questions – again and again, if necessary, until you understand and accept the answer.