Here’s how to effectively manage creative requests at your agency:
- Set clear expectations with your clients
- Set up a client onboarding process
- Create a culture of communication
- Use creative briefs
- Centralize creative requests
- Design a creative production process
Get an in-depth look into each step in this guide!
Most design and creative services agencies have those problems:
- Clients can’t communicate their needs
- Projects are delayed
- Designers feel overwhelmed
- Feedback is key, but overlooked
As a result, it leads to both client and team dissatisfaction.
The solution to this: A good process to manage creative requests.
Let’s dive into this!
1. Set expectations with your clients
The best way to ensure creative requests are handled smoothly is to set clear upfront expectations with your clients.
If a client knows exactly what to expect, they’ll be better prepared to work with you and won’t have any surprises.
So how do you set client expectations?
a) Create a scope of services
Here’s an example:
DarkRoast, a Canada-based creative service created a FAQ page where they outlined what designs their client can expect to request with their service:
Helping clients understand what scope of work your agency does and clears any doubts.
b) Inform clients of your creative process
In addition, it’s essential to inform clients how you work.
Tell clients about your onboarding process, request and revision process, your working hours, etc.
2. Create a client onboarding process
d) Create a self-serve demo of your creative service
Finally, a great demo can help turn leads into clients as well as help them understand better how your agency works.
Here’s an example from Hatchly, a UK-based design service:
In your demo you have the following:
- How your request management works
- Communication tips for clients
- How clients can access their design source files
- Examples of your work
- A call to action at the end (Book a call with us, Start a trial, or Get a discount on your first month)
e) Create a client onboarding process
Onboarding clients properly is key to set your clients up for success and improve retention.
Here are the goals of onboarding clients successfully:
- Learn about your client’s goals
- Learn about your client’s business (unique selling points, competitors)
- Educate client about working with you
Here are some key things I would include to onboard clients in a creative agency:
- How to use your project management tool
- Tips to give revisions
- Branding guidelines and any assets they want
- Campaign objectives
3. Create a culture of communication
Focus on one thing: Communication.
Managing creative requests is hard.
Design is subjective, it’s difficult to express what you want, and client feedback is key.
Also, you consistently inform clients of their project status, chances are that clients won’t mind some delays or revisions.
Here’s how you do that:
Create a culture of communication, both with clients and your team.
Here are a few tips to improve client / agency communication:
a) Educate your clients
If you’re already running a design agency or any creative service, you’ve probably realized the following:
Most clients can’t explain what they want.
One way to solve this is to create tutorials.
Here’s an example from Design Pickle‘s help centre:
For example, you can create a help centre and article such as:
- How to create a design brief
- Tips to communicate with your designer
- Creative inspirations
b) Use design feedback tools
You can use feedback tools such as GoVisually, Rattl, or Marker.io.
These visual tools help clients point their feedback directly on the design in a visual way.
c) Train your team to communicate too
If you want great results for your creative service, you need to communicate internally.
Make sure your team asks questions to the client if a brief is unclear.
4. Use creative briefs
A good way to ensure smooth communication is to use creative briefs.
Creative briefs help you collect the necessary information and goals for your creative requests.
That way, your creative team is armed with everything they need from the client.
Here’s what you can ask in your creative brief:
- Campaign objective
- What type of requests
- Attachments (example: Branding guidelines)
Here’s an example of a creative brief:
Want to create creative briefs and client intake forms? ManyRequests is a software we built to manage creative requests. Take a look at the features or start a 14-day free trial.
5. Centralize creative requests
Finally, you need to have a creative request management system.
This will help you have a clear overview of all creative tasks at anytime.
a) Use a help desk software to manage creative requests
Tools like ManyRequests help you do exactly that.
Here’s how to use your help desk:
- Train your team to use the system
- Create tags
- Agree on which request status you will use
- Auto-assign tasks to team members
b) Create a client portal
In addition, a client portal helps you organize clients, tasks, and files.
The goals of your client portal are:
- Onboard clients
- Let clients purchase other packages or upgrades from your service
- Help clients access their files easily
6. Design a creative production process
The best – and most profitable – creative services are those who have tightly built systems.
Systems help you keep things in check.
They’re the “brain” of your agency and they lay the rules on how it should operate.
Early on, make sure to create SOPs (Standard of Operating Procedures) for your creative service.
Here is what you can include in your SOPs:
- Internal communication rules
- Roles and duties (Project managers, designers, editors, …)
- Source files (How and when they’re sent)
- Project status
- Task estimates (How long a task should take)
For your SOPs, keep them simple. Create diagrams, bullet points, or record Loom videos to train your team.
Tools such as Notion or Google Docs are great to document your SOPs.
Need a solution to manage and centralize creative requests?
ManyRequests is an all-in-one agency management and help desk software.
It’s mostly used by agencies, and especially by creative services (design agencies, video editing services, as well as content writing agencies).
Feel free to start your 14-day trial and explore how you can take your creative service to the next level.