In the world of design, there’s a lot of fierce competition out there. So many designers can create gorgeous, jaw dropping spaces. But, not everyone has the same style. So how does someone really judge what makes a great design, and what’s not? Especially someone who’s not in the design field?
Well, they really don’t. It’s extremely hard for a non-professional to understand how one designer uses space, proportions, and light, better than another designer. They can look at the pictures of a designer and say I do like that, I don’t like that, but it’s almost impossible for them to explain exactly why. Even when comparing the portfolios of a brand new designer working with small budgets, and an experienced designer working with large budgets, it’s hard for a non-professional to say exactly what it is that’s so different. Other than it’s obvious that one design cost a lot more.
So how can a prospective client possibly decide between two designers who are equally talented and have the same style? Service.
Great Service Is Easy to Recognize
They’ll judge by the service they receive. It’s easy for clients to know, did the designer return my first call by the next business day? Did they give me the full hour that was promised to me? Did they tell me how to prepare? These are questions that have a quick yes or no answer. It’s like a mental checklist that a client has in their head when interviewing designers that helps them easily decide who to choose. They don’t have a mental checklist on whether the designer likes to mix different wood tones in a room or keep them the same. Or if the designer understands all of the undertones in color. They do have a checklist on whether or not the designer was 20 minutes late to the first meeting, or if they were texting throughout the entire time.
Because when something is hard to evaluate, people just judge what’s easiest. There’s an actual term for it, a heuristic. It’s basically a thinking short cut. Your brain doesn’t have the ability or time to fully understand something, so it makes a decision based on easy to evaluate information.
Clients Judge What’s Easiest, Not What’s Rational
Like when you’re looking for a new doctor. As a non medical professional, you have no idea how knowledgeable or capable a doctor is, especially at the beginning. All you have to go off of are things like, is the staff helpful, does the place look clean and sanitary, did I have to wait a long time in the waiting room, did I have to wait a long time once I got into the room, did the doctor spend more than 5 minutes with me, did the doctor smile. So, that’s what you judge. You judge whether the office is clean and if the doctor ever smiled, instead of whether the doctor is knowledgeable. Because you don’t really know.
The same goes for your design clients. They don’t really know how to evaluate designers, as long as they like the looks of their portfolio. So what else do they have to judge you with? Service. If they’re interviewing multiple designers at once, they’re going to judge the designer on service. And after years of studying client service, this is the quickest way to judge. Very few businesses do an excellent, or even great job at service. Most are mediocre. They’re just ok. They’re not so terrible that you would never work with them again, but they’re not so great that you would stay with them if something better came along.
Make Yourself the Easy Choice
So do yourself a favor and set yourself apart with your level of service. Make it easy for clients to pick you. Make it easy for them to check off all the little boxes on their mental checklist about how well they were treated. Because if someone is told by two friends, “my designer creates gorgeous homes” but later finds out that one is difficult to get in touch with and slow to return calls, and the other follows through on every promise and is always on time, guess which one she’ll pick? Clients judge what’s easiest. And what’s easiest to judge is service. So as long as you create gorgeous designs and deliver great service with a smile, you’ll become the easy choice. Every time.