Decision fatigue is the overwhelming sensation people experience when they are faced with making too many decisions. When this feeling arises, the quality of decisions can deteriorate.

As an architect, I am in a field where options are constantly being presented to customers, and it is imperative that I — and others in similar roles — understand how to prevent and help clients overcome such struggles. Here are a few of my tips for helping customers overcome and avoid decision fatigue:

Get your client comfortable with your company.

Spending time upfront with a client is arguably the most important part of the design process. It allows the client to develop comfort with your company and helps you better understand your client. This is also the time when you should be outlining what you will need from the client and when key decisions will need to be made throughout the process.

Ask the right questions.

At the beginning of a project, it’s also important to think about the questions you need your client to answer. The way questions are asked will influence not only the answers, but also the rest of the project.

For example, if I’m discussing the design of a kitchen with a client, there are a variety of ways for me to ask about something as simple as size. I could ask, “How big of a kitchen do you want?” Or, I could ask the client if they plan to entertain their friends and families for big occasions, such as Thanksgiving, or if they will mainly be using the space to heat up takeout leftovers in a microwave.

Although both questions lead to an answer, it is clear that the second one is much more quantifiable. Therefore, questions should be asked strategically so that you can extract your client’s tastes, preferences and intentions.

In other words, it’s almost as if you’re guiding the client through important questions to learn about their desires. You want to get to the point where certain questions pertaining to minor details will not need to be asked in the future.

Don’t overwhelm clients with options.

Once the clients’ overall goals are understood, your team can start working on satisfying their needs. Continuing with my example of designing a client’s kitchen, the next step my team would need to take is pulling together a small variety of samples to show the customer.

In my experience, it is almost never effective to sit down and give your clients an endless number of options. My team wouldn’t sit down with three our four catalogs on kitchen stoves, for instance, and spend hours discussing that single piece of equipment. Instead, we would want to limit our selections to just a few options.

I’ve found clients will likely be less satisfied with making decisions if they are presented with an abundance of options. By limiting the selection, you make it easier for a client to see the benefits and consequences of each choice. It is also easier to find a happy medium if neither of the original selections is ideal.

Limit the stress of time.

At some points in the process, it might be necessary to dive deeper. This is when a multi-meeting strategy should come into play. When clients have a difficult time making a choice, limiting the stress of time is often beneficial.

If this does not help, use your previous project knowledge to help inform and guide them to the best solution.

For design experts, it is important to trust your intuition and experience to help prevent decision fatigue. Clients seek out your help because they understand that it is what you do best. It is your responsibility to ensure that clients never feel like they need to make a decision on their own.

Article Provided By: Forbes


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