20 Ways to Keep Clients Coming Back For More

Notice: This is a discussion thread for comments about the SitePoint article, 20 Ways to Keep Clients Coming Back For More.

Meet twice a day – early in the morning and right before the end of the day are good options … Meetings don’t need to be long or even formal; they simply need to bring everyone together and keep everyone informed.

I totally agree with this. The 37signals crowd might preach “meetings are toxic” when building your own web apps, but when building someone else’s web site, regular communication is crucial for success.

Good article Akash!

Customers don’t pay for documentation…

Very good article that im sure most people could use. We all do some of that subconsciously but its nice to see it on paper (digital paper or not)

Plus you get the bonus of client referrals. :slight_smile:

>Customers don’t pay for documentation…

Well they do for multi-million dollar projects. :wink: But for most web based projects it is expected to be included as part of the price. So plan for that or have it established up front that it won’t be provided.

For my customers I created a membership site to host my “Owners Manual”. This gives them the documentation and peer support in the forum.

I disagree.

Clients will pay for deliverables, and in my view that is not just a website/script. What if the users are new to the Internet and will need help working with the website you’ve created through a user manual? What if the client requires documentation showing what is going on within the scripts you’ve provided? What if the web-master taking on the website you’ve just created needs to make changes and doesn’t know where anything is?

In my eyes documentation is a very important and undervalued deliverable in Web Design/Development. Documentation should never be included as an added cost, but it’s good to give the client everything you’ve created, including the documentation you’ve written up to help create the website.

I agree with you ultimate, but would rephrase it slightly and say clients pay for benefits, i.e., something that has value for them in some way. That is the old value proposition: value = benefits / costs

A well written documentation is definitely an additional benefit for the client.

Definitely, and documentation is a very valuable thing to have. Imagine not having any documentation (manuals, etc) for any of the products you’ve purchased. I’m sure somewhere along the way you may end up lost and not knowing what to do. At least with documentation you know everything the designer/developer knows about the newly-created website.

customers dont want to pay.
but we can motivate through counsellings then we can sell any thing.
customers will pay definitely.

Why shouldn’t it be a cost? I charge for my time, and documentation takes time to write. I’ve never really seen anyone complain about a few extra hours (or more, it scales upward with project size) for documentation, unless they were on a tight budget already.

Hm, dotDan, are you talking about user documentation, e.g. explaining the user interface, or code and project documentation. I agree with ultimate, you shouldn’t charge for code and project documentation because the work you have to put in those should be incorporated in your overall project costs anyway.

Arguably, the time and resources you spent on writing a user documentation should also be included in a lump sum for the whole project but I can see that in certain cases you have this separate.

Thanks for the lovely list!

Nice read. Interesting article.

Very interesting article. In my personal opinion is better to provide a customer with free incentives such as documentation or additional options to a final product. Extra stuff always goes the long way. It does not mean you have to sell yourself cheap, but by showing that you care, your client understands that is not only about dollars and cents. Price matters but what you get for free will drive customers back. This business ethic will help you develop stronger bond with your clients and secure prospects for future. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Thanks for the great article, very nice.

Customers don’t pay for documentation…

I charge, and ask them first about training of staff for using potential software being developed.

I guess it’s down to taste. If a shop were to say “we’re going to allow you to buy whatever you want, but you have to pay extra for the instructions” then I’m sure many could get on without them just fine.

I agree with what you say, that it should be included in the lump sum for the project, but just like the website itself isn’t the documentation a deliverable? Why not just include it all as a deliverable instead of separating it? Documentation takes a very long time, along with things like testing, so why not give it to the user? It needs to be done either way, so why not give it to the customer? Include the time taken to create the documentation in with the time taken to complete the project.

I’m not really following you. To me code/project documentation and user documentation is not the same. I don’t see such a distinction in your argument.

Code/project documentation: that’s a given, if you start charging for it separately then you’re doing something wrong here. The main purpose here is to make my job easier.

User documentation: either way, whatever the client wants. I include it in my lump sum for the project normally.

If the client isn’t happy about the price I ask them which of the “deliverables”, they don’t want/need (just to be clear, I make an effort first to understand their needs first). But, as I said code/project documentation doesn’t belong in those deliverables since it helps me make my job better.

Very lentghy though informative

I think whatever we can do to make life easier for clients will keep them coming back for more. People are so overloaded with information these days that they are looking for someone to make it simple and efficient for them. I recently put a toll-free number on my website and clients really seem to like it. It’s not that paying for their own phone calls is so expensive; it’s more that by having the toll-free number I’m saying “I really do want to hear from you”.