How to Avoid Never-Ending Revision Cycles With Your Clients
As an agency or marketing team, it’s important to provide clients with an opportunity to add their feedback to the work that you’re doing. However, allowing endless rounds of review or edits can quickly get out of hand, damaging the quality of a piece of content, or even your entire campaign, if you aren’t careful.
When a content review process is not defined from the beginning, then the editing stages can lengthen uncontrollably and cause a number of problems for you and your team.
For instance, if you allow endless edit rounds with your clients, you may be:
- Disrupting your project cycles, and therefore pushing back or changing deadlines constantly.
- Creating more work for everyone, and carving into your team’s valuable and limited time.
- Putting team members in an uncomfortable situation, requiring someone to tell the client “no,” in order to end the editing cycle.
The good news is there are plenty of ways to avoid these problems caused by a never-ending content revision process. Here are a few tips.
Put it in your contracts
The first way (and arguably the best way) your team can avoid lengthy edit rounds is by clearly articulating in both your proposals and contracts how many rounds of revisions your team will provide for the work that you’re doing. The more transparent you can be upfront in these documents, the less leverage your client will have when requesting changes that fall outside of your agreement.
Be as specific as possible in your contract about what a revision round includes. For example, you can explain that the first round is for big changes or rewrites, and the second round is for smaller style changes or other minor edits.
Define the number of edit rounds
To decide how many rounds of edits to allow, think about similar projects your team has completed and the minimum and the maximum number of rounds it took you to complete those projects, especially if you were dealing with a difficult client. Of course, not every blog post or email newsletter will be the same for every client, but this will provide you with a good place to start.
Typically, a standard in the marketing world is to allow two rounds of revisions on each piece of content. If the client requests any more edits after two rounds, then you can discuss an additional fee.
Set clear deadlines for review
Not only is it important to define how many rounds of edits your team allows, but it’s also important to outline how much time you allow for each round. Setting deadlines for feedback is necessary so that you don’t fall behind on overall deadlines for your campaigns.
Most likely your clients are busy people, which is why they hired you, so it’s best to discuss these editing round deadlines together and be open to their suggestions.
Centralize feedback and edits in one place
We can all think of a time when a client sent initial feedback on a project and then forgot what he or she said and left contradicting feedback during the next round of review. If you have client feedback scattered across multiple documents and emails, it may be time-consuming, or even impossible, to find and discuss what was said previously.
With tools like GAIN, you can keep a central record of all feedback, edits, and comments on every piece of content that you sent to clients for review. Documenting all feedback in one place helps clients remember the feedback they left already, keeps them informed about the progress of your projects, and prevent misunderstandings. Not to mention, GAIN can send your clients automated reminders when content is ready for their review, eliminating any extra back-and-forth emails as your work moves through each round of review.
Understand when to be flexible and when to be firm
It’s impossible to think about every scenario when defining how many revision cycles to include in your proposals and contracts. The reality is that there will be times when you will need to educate your clients on which requests are within your capacity, and which fall outside of your agreement. Again, transparency is key. If your clients don’t trust you, you can guarantee your projects will not run smoothly.
When editing requests go too far, truthfully explain why you cannot complete the revision request or why you need to charge extra this time. Show your clients that you genuinely care about addressing their needs and meeting your goals, rather than billing extra time, and the good ones will understand and respect you for explaining the situation.
You may encounter clients that request something entirely out of scope while you’re in the middle of a project as well. If this happens, politely ask the client to schedule a time to discuss the additional work in your next meeting or a separate thread. This way, your team doesn’t feel forced to take on extra work that is outside of your original agreement.
A little bit of extra work here and there can quickly lead to more and more. In the world of project management, this is referred to as scope creep or work that is beyond the agreed-upon scope. When a request falls outside of your original agreement, your team has every right to be firm and offer a new proposal or quote to complete the extra work.
Finding ways to avoid a never-ending edit cycle is always better than disrupting one and addressing problems when a project is already underway. By acknowledging how your team handles project revisions and feedback in your proposals and contracts, you can avoid many of the problems outlined above. Of course, problems may still arise, but these tips can help your team respond the right way and achieve outcomes that are favorable for both sides.