The basis of communication with freelance animator clients is a transfer of knowledge to fulfill a project. Effective communication with clients is essential for building a strong rapport. This builds confidence in the brand and ensures a comfortable relationship between team members and animation clients. Companies should bend over backward to satisfy client needs.
A sure way to guarantee client satisfaction is through constructive communication. This will empower the animator client with confidence to ask for what they want clearly and concisely. They will have the freedom to be honest and provide constructive feedback. This provides the greatest understanding of the client’s expectations.
Understanding your client’s expectations will ensure the best service available to animators and motion designers.
An effective way to ensure clear and concise communication is through the following steps of communication. Understanding these fundamental methods of communication allows us to build on how well we communicate with animation and motion design clients.
The use of verbal communication depends on the effectiveness of clarity of speech, tone, word selection, and speech rate. But probably the most important key is the ability to listen actively. Clients in an animating role or motion design need clear verbal communication to help their vision come alive.
Written communication is best when the tone is correct, the text is clear and concise, the language is easy, and familiar terms are used. When the layout and text are engaging, and the text is set out in small amounts of information.
This is the most tricky, as most non-verbal communication is done unintentionally. It all depends on gestures, posture, facial expressions, and eye contact. Training for team members would be helpful to make them aware of how they unconsciously present themselves.
Visual communication is exciting and can be the most effective type of communication. This can be done through signs, drawings, illustrations, graphics, and pictures. Visuals aid in making certain concepts more relatable and easy to understand. This is particularly helpful with creative clients such as motion designers and freelance animators.
Self Presentation To Be Mastered
Following these principles on mastering how we present ourselves will help manage any emotional circumstances when dealing with animating clients. This will assist with how we professionally handle client communication.
- Self-awareness: these are personal reactions and emotions. Most of us are unaware of these natural reactions.
- Self-management: actively synchronizing yourself with the conversation and projects.
- Social Awareness: the general understanding of the social setup, obligations, etiquette, and decorum with clients.
- Empathy: to understand the client’s perspective as their own and respond accordingly.
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How To Improve Animation Client Communication
The best practices for how we should communicate with our clients are found below. These practices will ensure efficient and productive communication with animation and motion designer clients.
1. Have An Emotional Connection with Your Animation Clients
Before we get started, it is worth noting that a few key principles for productive communication include: empathy, friendly tone of voice, active listening, courtesy, patience, the ability to handle disagreements and be easily understood.
It is essential to know what products or services your clients offer. You need to know what their target market is. It is essential to know what goals they want to achieve from a project.
Through productive communication with clients, repeat conversations can be prevented. This will help to create a professional yet caring relationship. A good relationship helps to humanize the client and for the client to trust the company.
It is important to know who the client is as a company and what their ethos is. It can be beneficial to meet all of their staff or at least the ones you will be working with. Knowing who we are dealing with can make for smooth and efficient communication.
Having an emotional investment with your client helps to see them as people and not just another contract. As people, we tend to work harder for those we have an understanding of.
Emotional boundaries and clarity with clients are learned by experience as team members’ soft skills improve.
2. How We Should Communicate With Our Animation Clients
Freelance animators and motion designers tend to be driven clients who know what they want and how they want projects to be executed.
We should always be responsive to animating clients at all times. Often companies obtain and retain clients purely through quick response time for inquiries or questions. The most important email contact is the first response. After that, it is best practice to email any client back within two hours. If you don’t have any new information, you can simply keep the communication channel open by informing animators and motion designers that you have received their email and you are working on it.
Clients want to know that they are a top priority and that we are always ready to deal with any concerns they might have. With responsiveness comes good rapport, which is essential for productive communication.
Concise and easy to understand language is the best way to communicate. Being clear and concise helps to carefully choose words that explain the speaker’s perspective in the right amount of words.
Clear language helps set the animator and motion designer client’s expectations and to aim for realistic outcomes. Be transparent with what your company can offer them concerning the project requirements.
Make sure that employees are self-aware when communicating with clients. It is important not to handle clients as friends. Make sure to be clear about expectations when it comes to team members.
Be comfortable turning work down if it does not fit in with your company ethos or if it makes your employees uncomfortable. It can be difficult to turn work away, but it is best to produce quality work over quantity. This will help to build an ethically strong brand for your company.
3. Give Regular Updates to Your Animation Clients
It is important to find out how the animation client wants to be contacted. They may prefer social media, phone calls, or emails as their main mode of communication. Be aware of the context when communicating. Make sure you know who you will be communicating with and how the information will be received.
Using a friendly and concise tone, make sure to update the client of the project’s progress. It can easily be done through data storytelling. If the presentation is created in a relatable way, the client will easily be able to absorb the information presented.
Make sure to use easy to understand language with familiar terms. The correct use of tone is essential for setting up a professional relationship with the motion design and animator client.
A loose tone could be perceived as a lack of interest in the project. If the tone is too harsh, it could be taken as a lack of respect. That being said, if the tone is too strict, the client might have trouble communicating openly, where a tone of reluctance can be associated with a lack of confidence from team members.
A professional tone would display confidence, be courteous and sincere. The language would be non-discriminatory, without bias. Also, keep “how it would affect the client’ as your main thought.
Always use definitive language and set clear boundaries where deadlines are concerned. Avoid teams like “almost” or “perhaps”; this does not inspire confidence.
Use a concerned or active voice for important ideas or urgent issues. Then use a plateaued or passive voice for less important ideas or issues.
When updating animation and motion designer clients, It is best to work according to deadlines agreed up. The progress reports help the client to see that the project is on track. It builds confidence in the process and expertise of the team.
When in a meeting or when writing an agenda make sure to place the most important ideas at the top of the list. This will help to keep confusion to a minimum. It can also help to obtain answers promptly. You will be able to address minor issues before they become more serious.
Keep the agenda-related conversation simple and focused on what is important. It is always a good idea to have a clear plan set out for the project’s progress.
Formatting tools can be used to draw the animator’s attention to where it needs to go. Formatting cues such as highlighting can indicate what is a top priority.
Project management software is useful for including color tags, project tags, and even assigning priority. Make sure to set clear levels of priority.
The company can use highly organized communication skills to set a top-level, middle-level, and bottom-level of importance for clarity. Such strategies help to conclude a meeting on time with the main concerns addressed.
4. Bend Over Backwards For Animation Clients
It is essential to inform the animation client as soon as possible if there has been an unforeseen event. Contact them with a backup plan in place as well as alternatives. A quick and timely response to any crisis is key. A good rapport makes for long-term understanding during difficult events or times of crisis. Allow your clients the opportunity to rely on your expertise.
Team members need to know how to behave towards the client during an unforeseen event. Each team member must know what their role is and how they need to fulfill it. It is essential to bend over backward so that a positive relationship with the client can be maintained.
Internal communication is just as important as communication with the animating client. Every team member needs to be on the same page. The company needs to handle every crisis as a supportive team and not point any blame. Any crisis can be used as a learning opportunity once the project is back on track.
It is important to work on interpersonal relationships within the team. A strong team would be able to handle any crisis with ease. Team Building could be an effective way for team members to build trust and to learn to rely on each other.
Keeping the client informed on any progress through such a period is of extreme importance. It can be calming if the client knows what is happening and if there is any progress towards fixing the crisis.
A strong rapport with the client would go a long way during an unforeseen event. If the client knows that they can trust the company then there will be less outside pressure. This would help the team to move forward confidently with the crisis plan.
Image from istockphoto.com
5. How To Deal With Difficult Animation Clients
The first thing to remember when dealing with difficult clients is that it is just business and not personal. It is extremely important to set professional boundaries with clients from the first contact.
It is essential to stay calm when dealing with difficult animation and design clients. Make sure that you don’t show the client that you are upset.
The best thing to do is to ask the client questions about their concerns. If you can understand why the client is upset you will be able to turn the situation into a positive one. Most clients are difficult because they are afraid of not getting what they want.
Be careful not to agree with the client as this might enable their thinking. Rather acknowledge what they have expressed and steer the conversation towards a solution-based way of thinking.
Try to be professional and choose your words carefully, difficult clients have a way of misunderstanding what has been said.
Use visual aids such as a virtual whiteboard where issues can be shared on integrated screen-sharing platforms and discussed. Once the issue has been dealt with, it will be easy to move on to the next one. It will also be easy to point out that the issue has been resolved if the client tries to go backward.
Make sure that the client is happy with the resolution and that we have thought of all possibilities available at the time.
Do not complain about the difficult animator or motion design client as this feeds negative morale amongst team members. This can be draining on the progress of the project.
Another way to deal positively with difficult clients is to meet with them in person or over a video call. When visually speaking to a person it eliminates the chance of miscommunication. This can help to strengthen the professional relationship.
Difficult clients may just need more attention than others and may feel more in control if they are dealt with on a more personal level.
It is also helpful for team members to take a break from a difficult client’s project. It can be mentally boosting to work on an easier project for a day or two. This can help enrich the mental state of the team member.
If a team member cannot cope with a difficult client the team manager should remove the team member from the project. This will protect the team member and the client from long-term negative impacts.
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6. How To Onboard Animation Clients
The most efficient method of communication is automation, this is referred to as a management tool. This will help optimize time spent communicating with animators. The less time team members have to spend personally communicating with clients, the more time they have to work on projects. Automation helps to eliminate certain repetitive tasks.
It is essential to target automated communication for specific animation clients. This can be achieved through active listening. Active listening helps team members to stay engaged with what the client is saying during meetings and updates. It is essential to create a feedback culture within the company. That way each team member is paying attention to what is being said by the client. As sometimes, key issues can be lost during meetings.
If every team member is paying attention in meetings it is easier to gather all of the information the client has given. This method can also affirm what the most urgent matters are according to what the client has said. This will help to make sure all of their needs are met.
As important as it is to listen to what the client has to say, it is just as important to see what the client is not saying. Team members need to pay attention to client reactions and body language when discussing topics and issues. There should also be key questions asked to prompt certain responses from animators and design clients. Meetings are a place to gather as much essential information from the client and continue to build a connection with them.
Using client communication tools can help to bring team members, clients, and team managers onto a central platform. This makes for easy communication. Such a tool can help with client report management, client collaboration, and productivity of reporting.
This type of tool is very helpful with teams who work remotely. It can also assist with a revamp of in-office client communication.
Features For Onboarding
- It should have easy client onboarding: this allows the company to make accounts for others.
- It needs to offer a multi-user collaboration feature: users can access it at the same time.
- Email and mobile notifications: app and email notifications option. This allows everyone to know when changes or updates have been made.
- Provision for client feedback: there should be two-way communication. This can be available on chats or other features.
- Scalable pricing: the tool should be cost-effective for the company and clients. There should be no price constraints.
Happy and satisfied clients are key to a successful business. If your animation clients are happy they will give positive recommendations that can spread via word of mouth. They will leave great reviews and could be used in videos to boost your company brand.
It is essential to be flexible, attentive, empathetic, and self-aware when communicating with clients.