Responding quickly to the demands of clients

On a Friday afternoon at about 4.30pm the phone rings in the office and a client on the other end in a very apologetic manner sheepishly asks if you could produce an advert by Monday morning for 9am. After a short conversation it becomes apparent that a copy deadline has slipped through the net for one reason or another and a publication is requesting an advert be delivered because they need to go to press! This all probably sounds familiar if you work in a busy design studio, either things are dropped and something is pulled together at the last minute or something is recycled from previous artwork. One thing is certain if its the latter you really need to have easy access to those files and previously created jobs. Finding stuff quickly is paramount, here are 3 things to have in place to ensure you can respond quickly in times like this.

Manage your records and projects.

Use a database to manage the jobs you do. This makes sense for invoicing and tracking the progress of any particular job. Structure them by client, job number and description. Think about that call late on Friday, if you can search a description under a particular client eg: “advert” under “client name” its going to make life a lot easier finding something to recycle. Use this database to track if the job is live, cancelled, awaiting client response or has been invoiced. If it’s been invoiced be sure to archive it and make a note in the database where it’s been archived too.

Tracking down those jobs

Keeping a record in your database of where the job or cluster of files has been archived to is going to be useful in situations like this. If they’ve been archived to cd or marked as to be archived make sure you have a record of that in your database or record management system. I know from experience that no matter if a job has been invoiced it could remain unarchived for months so knowing exactly where that job is is really important.

Keep your files organised

Just the same as managing your records, managing your files is equally as important. Keep jobs together with a single unique reference that correlated to your database, the obvious unique reference to use is the job number. For example, given that your client is called “Big Widgets” and you’ve created a job number of BW024, use the same job number as a single collective folder and put all the files in a folder called BW024. This way if you haven’t kept a record of where the archive might be at least you can still do a global search for the job number. Believe me this has saved my bacon a few times!

Conclusion

So if you want the ability to respond quickly in situations like this and keep your clients impressed, happy and coming back for more I guess the simple conclusion is to make sure you are organised. Start as you mean to go on, if you keep things organised from the start they will end up being easy to find and adjust if needs be. Do you have a system in place?