The less shared challenges of regular customers

Regular customers, it’s a working relationship based on trust. However, as in all relationships, there are bound to be problems. We asked five designers—Giselle Loor Suggesterman, Aileen Warren, Kiley Jackson, Nomita Joshi-Gupta and Blair Burton—about the challenges they face when working with a client again.

Giselle Loor SuggestermanCourtesy of B+G Design

Old habits die hard

“We just completed the 11th home for a legacy client in Miami. Having worked on several homes from Aspen to Washington, DC, we always try to introduce something new to the design. Regular customers can become comfortable with their specific aesthetic, and it can be difficult to break them with what they are used to. On the other hand, when you work with a regular client, you know exactly how they like things, and that can make it easier for us as designers to interpret their desires into the design. —Giselle Loor Sugerman, B+G Design, Miami

The less shared challenges of regular customers

Aileen Warren (left) and Kiley Jackson (right)Allyson Hunter

reality check

“We absolutely love our regular customers, so not a ton of challenges come to mind. Honestly, the most important thing right now is probably adjusting their expectations around budgets and timelines. Originally, when we were working with most of these customers, product prices were lower and delivery times were much more reasonable.” —Aileen Warren and Kiley Jackson, Jackson Warren Interiors, Houston

The less shared challenges of regular customers

Nomita Joshi-GuptaCourtesy of Nomita Joshi Interior Design

Rate of change

“Repeat customers are a boon, but gray areas can appear. Planning is difficult because the client expects him to start his new project as soon as possible. The other challenge is billing and fees. In the time since you may have [first worked with] customer, your fee structure may have increased or completely changed. This presents a tricky situation, but being upfront and professional about it is the best way to deal with this issue. —Nomita Joshi-Gupta, Nomita Joshi Interior Design, New Orleans

The less shared challenges of regular customers

Blair BurtonJulie Sofer

new normal

“I love repeat customers, although the hardest part about them has been growing my business and growing my team. Customers who used to spend a lot of time with me may now have more day-to-day interactions with one of my senior or junior designers. Another challenge with regular clients is defining a different aesthetic than the previous project, encouraging clients to diversify their style and try something new. Something we have found difficult lately is adjusting expectations to the ‘new normal.’ Previous clients are used to faster turnaround times. Today, turnaround times are terrible, quotes are harder to get and schedules are busier.” —Blair Burton, Blair Burton Interiors, Austin

Home Page Image: A Kitchen by Blair Burton | Photograph by Molly Culver

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