It's a real problem when you're working remotely and you don't understand what the client wants. It's especially frustrating when it happens in the middle of a project, and you need to get things done fast.
Here are some tips to help you deal with misunderstandings:
- Ask questions - If something isn't clear, ask for clarification or make suggestions for how to clarify it. You don't want to waste time or alienate your client by not asking questions when something is unclear, because trust me—it happens!
- Be specific - Sometimes the problem is that we just aren't being specific enough about what we want. If this is the case, try getting more specific about what exactly you want from your client and how that will benefit them (and make sure they know how it will benefit them).
- Make sure everyone knows what's going on - Some misunderstandings happen because one person doesn't know what's going on with another person. When this happens, make sure everyone knows what their role is and how they fit into the big picture so there aren't any surprises later on down the road!
What if you start the project?
If you realize that you misunderstood what the client wanted after starting the job, there are some things you can do to remedy the situation.
- First, it's important to apologize to the client. This will show them that you take responsibility for your mistake and are working hard to fix it.
- Second, talk with them about what they need instead of just doing what they asked for in their original request. If they didn't give enough information in their first request, ask them more questions so that you can better understand what they want out of their end product.
- Third, ask them if there is anything else that would help clarify their needs for this project—for example: "Do you have any examples or other resources that would help me get a better idea of what you're looking for?" This will allow both parties to be on the same page throughout this process.
Client: Hey, I know we just started working on this project together, but there's something I want to talk to you about.
Freelancer: Of course! What's up?
Client: Well, when we were discussing the project and what I wanted out of it, you said that you could do it. But now that we've been working together for a few weeks, I'm seeing that you're not really following through with what I asked for in the beginning.
Freelancer: Oh...I'm so sorry! I didn't realize that's what you wanted from me. Can we go back and talk about this again?
Client: Yeah, sure. Why don't we set up a meeting next week?