Here at Case, we’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of clients over the years who either work or live internationally. We utilize all the latest technology to enhance our client’s understanding/visualization of their remodel and to keep them updated on the progress of their remodel.
Due to limited forms of communication in the past, remodeling our clients’ homes when they are out of the country was a nearly impossible task. These days, with all the advanced technology at our disposal, remodeling for our clients who are abroad is far less challenging. Design programs such as Auto CAD, 2020, Sketch-Up, and Revit, along with communication tools such as PowerPoint, Skype, or Go-to-Meeting (which is a form of screen sharing) have provided the essential tools for us to help our clients visualize their pre-remodeled space. When we design for these “remote” clients, we always keep in mind these 4 essential key factors; visual capabilities, communication, time difference, and availability. From my experience, here are some tips for helping international clients.
No two clients are alike; therefore, it’s important that we find ways to utilize communication tools and 3D programs for our remote clients to best present ideas and inspiration for their viewing. Whether creating an inspirational log on HOUZZ.com, a PowerPoint page for product/material selections or a rendered image of their space, we strive to maintain the momentum and excitement of remodeling with our clients. It is far too easy to lose the thrill of the design when the homeowner is hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Email has, of course, been around awhile but still may very well be the primary form of frequent communication we have with a client. And almost of us know too well how our tone can come across very different in an email versus when we’re speaking face to face. We strive to be compassionate and thoughtful knowing that what one considers to be polite may be abrupt in another country. When scheduling phone conferences, we must take into account the time difference in another country. It is often best to schedule conference calls after hours to accommodate our clients on the other side of the world. So we make ourselves knowledgeable about the clients’ location and surroundings in the very beginning. Trust me; they appreciate our effort! Another tool we use to ensure everyone is on the same page is a scheduling calendar. We not only use this to set up calls with clients well in advance, but also keep it updated with the project progress so that the client can see what is happening on a daily or weekly basis.
As a designer, if I am not sensitive to my clients’ needs, I could easily end up miscommunicating, misunderstanding or even offending a potential client. Designing and remodeling the home while a client is remote is easier than it’s ever been, but only if both the designer and client are open to communicating and sharing ideas using the array of communication tools available today. There also has to be an added level of trust by the client that their professional designer understands their needs and, in the end, will deliver the remodeled space they had hoped for.
Whether you find yourself wanting to remodel when you’re living/traveling locally or internationally, Case Design believes there should be no limit in the ways to achieve your remodeling dreams.