Don’t Make Your Clients Wait

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

So much of what we do in today’s fast-paced world involves standing in line and waiting… In every store that I go into, I discover the presence of long lines at the cashier with no one to help you. There’s an important  lesson to be learned here. Building great corporate communications means catering to your clients, not keeping them waiting unnecessarily.  In short, it means giving them the service they deserve.

Stressful people waiting for job interviewAnticipation is not what you want. You want to deliver confidence and trust in your firm so that the client knows what to expect.

A good marketing firm…

1) excels at communication.  It ensures that the client is kept up-to-date on all the latest edits and that concepts are approved at all stages of development. Including the client is as a partner in the decision-making is very critical to the success of the project. The marketing firm should also return all phone calls and e-mails promptly. Staying connected is staying communicated. Never leave your client hanging. If you do, they might hang up!

2) knows how to meet all deadlines.  In advertising land, everything is due yesterday.  But the experienced marketing firm, design group or ad agency should know how to properly plan for the unexpected.  During its 21-year history, our firm has never missed a deadline. Missing a hard deadline is the death knell of any firm. Proper planning and trafficking of all jobs will ensure that all deadlines are met.

3) provides proofs at regular intervals of the project.  There’s nothing worse than an unwelcome surprise. Make sure that your client has provided feedback and reviewed proofs/comps at each milestone of the project.  It will prevent a headache later.

4) never makes excuses for service responsiveness.  Just as it says, don’t make excuses. Now with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, there is no excuse for being out of touch.  Clients deserve and want only the most responsive service. Just deliver or be honest with the client and apprise them of your inability to meet a deadline as far enough in advance as possible.

5) provides options if a deadline needs to be missed. Here’s some ideas if missing the deadline is just unavoidable. Ask the client if a partial print delivery, or an interim publication will suffice for the event or a presentation.  Maybe a digital copy or an iMag could also be posted on the Internet. Maybe a quick digital print run will allow the designer more time to finalize the project. Whatever the case, give your client an out.

6) works efficiently to deliver the project on-time and in a reasonable amount of billable hours.  Know how much is too much and when to stop. Keep your client appraised of all cost overruns. Tell the client how your efficiency has saved them money. Without a doubt, they will be grateful for your perseverance. Indeed, clients need hand-holding to make the right decisions and to feel confident about the design direction and satisfied with the final end-product.

While time is important, it is best not to speed and rush.  This is when mistakes can and will happen.

Time is Money.  Don’t keep the clock ticking.  Wake up and get the client what they need!


If your company needs an innovative newsletter, e-publication, or promotion, please contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.netWe make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit

Harlan West is the author of and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundred of publications for both print and online purposes.

1 thought on “Don’t Make Your Clients Wait

  1. Thanks for this post Harlan, I could not agree more.
    In fact, I would like to add that it does not matter who you are (marketing firm or not) , as long as you are running a business – clients should not wait.
    In today’s competitive environment , great customer service is paramount.

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