How to Make Sure Your Interior Design Client Is Happy

In service businesses, such as interior design, we rely upon clients to fuel our businesses. We need clients to establish our base, earn repeat business, gain referrals, and ultimately build our businesses. We are in the position of always striving towards client satisfaction with each and every client, as we acknowledge that they are crucial to our success and longevity.

For 15 years, I worked in Marketing and Advertising for Fortune 500 companies and led extended teams including advertising and promotions agencies to help build my brands. The agencies were partners and the force that brought all of our creativity to fruition through television, radio and print ads. I was their client and I provided direction on what I believed would best meet our brands’ needs. In some cases, I wanted the agencies to explore ideas I shared. At other times, I let them surprise me. If I felt strongly about an idea, I expected to see it flushed out in their presentations, even if the agencies did not believe it would work. Their job was to show me what I wanted and show me what I couldn’t fathom.

The concept is the same in the design industry. As designers, we often encounter clients who feel confident that they know just what is needed to enhance their spaces. Sometimes they give very explicit direction about the elements they want included in the overall design. In our role as the partner, we must take heed to their desires. After all, it is their space.

In my experience, three design plans are ideal when presenting to clients – one that is based on the clients’ suggestions and two that stretch their imagination and reflect your professional judgment and expertise. At the end of the presentation, share which one is your recommended design and explain your rationale. This way, you have the opportunity to share your vision while displaying your clients’ visions. I continue to take this approach when working with clients and they are generally in agreement with my recommendation.

The bottom line is that you have to appease your clients, as they are paying for your expertise. They contact us because they need a designer’s touch to create their ideal living environment. However, their needs and wants must be addressed when designing the space. Remember, it is not about us. Give them what they want! In return, you will get what you want — client referrals and repeat business.