There are a lot of great things about being a designer, not the least of which is getting to work with a variety of clients all over the world.
But having international customers presents its own challenges, and if you’re not careful, you can run into some “lost in translation” moments that you didn’t anticipate. But it doesn’t need to be this way. By thinking outside of the box, there are plenty of ways to prevent these awkward situations before they even happen. Here are some things to consider when dealing with clients from other countries and cultures.
Anticipate Unspoken Rules. Different international professional standards exist. And even though everybody knows that, there are still some cultural factors which seem to evade our notice. If you are, for instance, dealing with a new client from Norway, it could be a good idea to do a little research of cultural and professional expectations. One creative way to do this is simply to ask other people, using conversational sites like professional forums and even Reddit. Also, become aware of design trends which are unique to Norway (or whatever country your client lives in).
Spend a Little Extra Time Working Out Payment Details. If your client lives in another country (we’ll stick with the Norway example), you’ve got to make sure that the money is able to be transferred to your country with a minimum of fees. Because this process may be very expensive, it’s important to understand the method used in advance, to make sure that the whole job remains worth it. Financial resources like http://norskelån.com/ may serve you well here. Also consider simply asking that all payments be made in your own home currency, and that any transfer fees are paid by the client, over and above what you charge for your work.
Overcommunicate. Because you and your client may not share a native tongue, there will be plenty of opportunities for misunderstanding. Even if your client speaks your language pretty well, it’s always a good idea to restate key points of an agreement. This may seem like overkill at times, but it’s certainly not impolite, and it could save you a lot of misunderstanding in the future. One great way to do this is to phrase your outline of the proposed work as a series of questions. Do I understand this point correctly? What about this one? Most clients will see this as a comforting attention to detail. This wouldn’t be a bad idea to use with your home clients either!
There are many ways to work for the betterment of a professional relationship between you and a new international client. Even though these job opportunities usually work out just fine, it’s important to think a little harder in advance of the job, to work out any kinks in the system before they materialize. These methods will give you a lot higher chance of success and repeat business with clients all around the world, and will give you plenty of great word of mouth as well.