The best way to prove your value to your clients and to remind them that you are grateful for their partnership is to surprise them with extra effort that goes beyond the agreed Statement of Work.
If you’re narrowly judging your success from single project metrics—like, did we use less of our project’s hours than we estimated—you’ll end up with an agency that only produces single projects with your clients, chasing new clients and new projects for eternity. Show your clients that you appreciate them; surprise them by going above and beyond the scope of work.
There are many phases to a project life cycle and one of our absolute favorites is the polish. It's here the functionality is solidified, and things really start to come to life. As you’re staring down the barrel of a launch, it’s a common reaction for the producer to take out that spreadsheet and start hawking people to use less hours and meet their budgets. Don’t get me wrong, we need to be profitable! However, this is also your prime opportunity to show your clients some love. This is what we call: The Joyride
To put this into action, throughout the project’s creation, we create a “parking lot” of little “nice to have” polish items that have come up internally and haven't yet been discussed with the client. Nothing that impacts the user experience but, instead, are enhancements like little UI animations, transitions, features the client mentioned that “they wish they had more budget” for, etc.
For Star Wars Resistance Racer, we had a few items that were out of scope, but we added to our internal parking lot anyway. As the project progressed and we started reaching final delivery, we looked for ways to integrate some of these items. For example, when we first started the project Lucas Arts delivered some amazing 3D assets, including all the ships and characters. We felt that bringing a character companion to life in the game would be a little treat for the players and add an emotional connection. Animating a human character would have taken a considerable amount of time to rig, animate, and lip sync. However, we did see an opportunity to animate a character that had a deep connection to the larger Star Wars universe and resonated with the audience for this game. We chose BB-8.
Imagine the clients delight when they saw BB-8 unexpectedly roll onto screen during play testing, just as we are rounding the finish line. Lucas Arts was impressed with our ability to replicate the characters personality and loved that we added this level of detail to the game—which for us, their excitement was a great reward on its own.
Finding an opportunity to add these extras has always been a part of our DNA; we realize the experience we create in working with our clients is so important. The last impression you leave on a client carries a ton of weight. When you take a project on The Joyride, you show your clients that you’re passionate about their project from concept through completion. This excitement and added value is something they will remember and an experience they will want to re-live again.