By Alyssa Gregory

Can I Have Fries with That? What Clients Really Want

By Alyssa Gregory

French FriesPart of having a successful and long-term relationship with any client is having an understanding of and being able to anticipate his or her individual needs. This can be difficult to do, especially when you’re working with a new client.

The good news is that regardless of the type of work you are doing, there are several core things that most clients want in a relationship with a service provider. If you can predict these fundamental needs, you are on your way to creating a mutually beneficial relationship with a lot of potential.

Here are some of the most basic elements that almost all clients want in a relationship.

Clients want to know that they are hiring the right person for the job.

In every successful relationship, the client has to have a certain level of trust that the provider has the necessary skills and experience needed to do the job and do it well.

Clients want to be respected.

Mutual respect is an essential element of every client/provider relationship. If one party is lacking in this area, the connection is doomed to fail.

Clients want to work with someone who is professional.

Being professional doesn’t just mean having the required skills and experience. Responsiveness, accountability, reputation and a number of other factors also play a part in being a professional.

Clients want to feel valued, listened to and communicated with.

As a client, there may be nothing worse than feeling like you’re in the dark on your own project. Clients need a contact person who is approachable, to be kept in the loop every step of the way, and to have their messages responded to promptly and completely.

Clients want to work with someone who is enthusiastic about the project.

Passion can be infectious. The more energized you are about the client’s work, the more the client will trust you and the easier it will be to work together.

Clients want to know what you’re going to do with their information.

Client data is a valuable asset, and your clients deserve to know how you are handling it, especially anything that may be considered sensitive (such as passwords). Your job is to protect this data and assure your client that it is safe in your hands.

Clients want to feel like they are getting their money’s worth.

The larger the investment a client feels he or she is making, the more important it to show that the work you are doing is worth the expense. You can do this by delivering what you promise and exceeding expectations every step of the way.

Each of these central needs leads to others that can facilitate any working relationship and make the relationship sustainable. If you start off on the right foot, you will find that it’s easy to meet your client’s needs, and you will be able to develop a well-choreographed give and take. If you miss the mark with what the client needs and wants, you may find yourself struggling for the life of the project.

What would you add to this list of fundamental client needs? What do you do to anticipate those needs when working with a client?

Image credit: waggaway

  • What’s interesting about this, is that on nearly every statement you can replace the words “Clients want” with the words “Providers want”

  • RedStar@Twitter

    Too true blueclock :)

  • From my experience, another client want is an ebay size site for $100. Yes, clients definitely want to feel valued, respected, and listened to, but in many cases have no idea that our job as a programmer or designer is in a professional capacity. I think they imagine us loafing at the computer watching videos on youtube, licking our cheeto encrusted fingers, and then waving some magic wand that makes a website for them.

  • Vantrix

    For any successful and meaningful “Client- Provider” relationship, it has to be a two way affair where both parties understand,addresses and reciprocate the concerns and requirements of each other. One way traffic(something like what client wants) usually leads to dissatisfaction of either party involved.

    Anita CM

  • devAngel

    The successful relationship between clients and service provider comes in two ways. If you want to get respect, you have to know how to respect first. You cant expect to have something good if you did not show any good at all.

  • People management isn’t about scratching the clients back for 5 minutes then wanting a 30 minute scratch in return (try doing that with your partner) it just doesn’t work that way. You have to want to “scratch their backs” (give them a good experience) because you like making people feel good. If you are just in it for yourself then that will shine through. Do the work, price it right, and if you can not manage people with love, care and respect then find someone who can (look for ex-hotel staff maybe?).

  • Sorry my reply was to the comments, not the post… Sitepoint need edit on comments! or the world needs to stop rushing… whatever comes first =)

  • Dorsey

    What’s interesting about this, is that on nearly every statement you can replace the words “Clients want” with the words “Providers want”

    True, but remember the Golden Rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.

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