When working as an interior designer, it’s not uncommon to come across conflicts with clients. Whether it’s a disagreement on design choices or a problem with the budget, dealing with these conflicts can be challenging. However, with the right approach, you can resolve client conflicts and maintain a positive working relationship.
One of the best ways to handle client conflict is to be proactive. Before starting a project, clearly communicate your expectations, design process, and pricing to your client. This will help set the right expectations and prevent misunderstandings down the road. Additionally, make sure to ask your client for their input and preferences at the beginning of the project so you can incorporate their ideas and avoid any surprises later on.
If a conflict does arise, the first thing to do is to listen to your client’s concerns and try to understand their perspective. It’s important to remain calm and composed, even if you don’t agree with what they’re saying. This will show that you’re willing to work together to find a solution.
Next, offer a solution or compromise that addresses your client’s concerns while also keeping in mind the overall goals of the project. For example, if a client is unhappy with a particular design choice, you could offer to present some alternative options for them to consider. If the conflict is about the budget, you could suggest cutting costs in one area in order to accommodate their budget constraints.
Another key aspect of handling client conflicts is to keep the lines of communication open. Regular check-ins with your client can help prevent misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Additionally, if a conflict does arise, make sure to address it promptly and professionally.
Here is a list of common things you may want to say to your client, but might not have the right words to do so:
|What you *want* to say
|Say this instead.
|This meeting sounds like a waste of both of our time.
|I cannot be of value in this appointment, but I’m happy to be available for a review of the important points, or even to correspond by email.
|I told you so
|Judging from my instinct, this outcome really doesn’t look unexpected to me!
|That sounds like a horrible idea
|Are we confident that this solution is the very best, or are we still exploring possible alternatives?
|I already told you this
|The information has not changed over time since it was last communicated.
|Can you answer all of the questions I asked and not just choose what you want to answer?
|Can you share some clarity on the issues that have already been inquired?
|Did you even read my email?
|Reattaching my email address to provide additional clarity.
|Stop emailing me so much
|You have not heard from me because further information is not available at this time, once I have an update I’ll be sure to loop you in.
|This falls outside of my scope
|As it turns out, this particular request falls outside of our responsibilities for this project. Im happy to discuss adding this to our scope of work if it’s necessary.
|Answer My Emails
|I’m eager to get this resolved as soon as possible, so if there is otherwise a better way to reach you, please let me know.
|This is not my problem
|I recommend directing this problem to [Name] since they have the expertise best suited to best assist you.
|If you would have read the whole email, you would have seen the answer to this question.
|I have included my original response listed below that contains all the specifics you are requesting.
|You are not the designer. So, stay in your lane.
|Thank you for your input. I’ll keep that in mind as I move forward with your project!
|I’ve told this to you many times
|There is an apparent disconnect here, given that this information has been provided. Im of course happy to re-share this information if you need to revisit it.
|This doesnt make any sense.
|We have a different perspective on this. Do you have a more detailed explanation?
|I don’t need to be included in this
|I do not believe I can add anything helpful to this email/chat/discussion. Please do me the honor of removing me from this chat and feel free to bring me back into the discussion at a later date if required.
|I can not possibly read your mind.
|I’ll need more information about the concerned matter in order to complete this. Please be as specific as possible.
|There is work thats not included in the scope. Pay me more, please.
|As my function has developed, it’s beneficial to book a time to reassess my complete compensation and determine if it aligns with our current scope of work.
|You micromanaging is not going to make this project conclude faster.
|Though I appreciate your attention to this, I feel as though I could be more productive if I had an opportunity to work independently here.
|Stop adding to the scope of work with false expectations of time.
|As the scope of work is pre-determined, it may be time to sit down and re-visit this to get a better expectation of the project timeline. And, if we need to add to the scope, we can certanily see how much time (expected) will be added to the project.
conflicts with clients are a natural part of working as an interior designer. However, with clear communication, a proactive approach, and a willingness to find a solution, you can successfully handle these conflicts and maintain a positive working relationship.