When a crisis such as COVID-19 comes along, it can throw so much of our daily lives into disarray. Routines are disrupted, plans are changed and everyone scrambles to adjust.
For your web design clients, this is a time of great uncertainty. Some, especially small businesses, may be in a fight for survival.
This is when a website can serve as a lifeline. Business owners can use it as a means to share important information. And, unlike the chaos of social media, visitors will be able to easily find out what they need to know. They’ll also be able to come back time and again to check for the latest updates.
All of this can mean a lot of extra work for web designers. And the emergency nature of these tasks can pile stress on top of an already-demanding job.
So, how do you deal with it? Here are some ways to both help your clients and yourself during a crisis.
Try to Remain Calm
It’s really hard to do your job when you feel panicked or overwhelmed. But that feeling is also understandable. Your inbox is full, your phone won’t stop ringing. Anyone would get frazzled in this type of circumstance.
Still, you have things to do. The first step in all of this is to take a deep breath and realize that you’re going to be O.K. You’ll undoubtedly feel stress, but you have the ability to get through the tough times.
It may also help to think about the fact that others are going through the exact same thing. You aren’t in this alone. Knowing that virtually everyone is being impacted can help put things in perspective.
In addition, it’s worth taking a moment to think about how you are helping. The fact that you’re making even a small difference for your clients (and their customers) is something to be proud of.
Organize and Communicate
Clients will come to you with requests to add emergency info – and they’ll want it done quickly.
To cope, you’ll need to come up with a process for handling these tasks. Perhaps it’s first-come, first-serve. Or maybe you want clients to fill out a support ticket to help keep track of everything. Whatever your preference, it’s important to have a way to manage things in a way that makes sense for you.
Then, once you have a process that you’re comfortable with, it’s important to let your clients know. Send an email newsletter out that outlines what you’re doing. Also make mention of how the situation could affect the timeline for getting things done.
People tend to be more understanding of policies and procedures when they know about it ahead of time. Communicating your plan will allow your clients to know what to expect.
While every client’s needs are different, there are probably a number of similarities. If you look closely enough, you might just find some ways to use them in order to increase efficiency.
For example, if all or most of your clients are running WordPress, that’s something to take advantage of. The technical similarity means that you could use a similar process for posting information. It might be a helpful plugin or the use of a feature such as custom fields.
In addition, there might be certain design elements and code snippets that could be reused. Having even a basic template in hand means that you won’t have to reinvent the wheel for each client.
This could be a huge help in crossing items off of your ever-growing to-do list. That, in turn, makes for happy clients and a bit less stress in your life.
Remember the Human Element
Above all, a crisis is a time for people to work together towards a common goal. Web designers have a positive and productive role to play.
Customer service is always a big deal. It’s a defining factor in the success of your business. But it is especially appreciated during a difficult time of crisis. It’s important to keep that in mind when interacting with others.
Handling yourself with professionalism and empathy is the right thing to do. It will also help strengthen your bond with clients.
There will always be periods of time that are challenging. Look at them – not just with concern – but as an opportunity to be your very best.
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