It is generally said that one satisfied customer is worth two. More concretely, a client who is satisfied with the work provided is in a position to propose new assignments and to recommend his service provider to other professionals. Here are 4 tips to manage your customer relationship.
1 - Be present
As a service provider, relationships are paramount. The current digital trend encourages remote collaboration. Not being present becomes a frequent pitfall.
It is not necessarily a physical presence. There are dozens of ways today to make a client feel as though you are walking beside him, holding his hand, and accompanying him.
Very concretely, being present can be: sending a text message to say that we have had a new idea, calling (except for calls planned in advance) and leaving a voice message to report on the progress of the mission, putting your client in Cc / Cci of the exchanges of emails with other employees, etc...
Your presence can be better felt by the customer if you systematically define with him the date of your next contact (appointment, phone call or other).
2 - Be transparent
This point is closely related to the previous one. In an economy that relies more and more on the intangible, it is very important to reassure the customer, by showing him all the concrete elements possible.
Here again, the tools are already available: Dropbox, Google Driveand other nails allow your client to track your progress. Whenever he wonders if he has spent his precious resources to hire you, he can be reassured by watching his project progress live.
Transparency helps to avoid misunderstandings. Be clear from the outset about what you know, what you can do, and what is not possible in the mission. There is nothing more disastrous for a freelance reputation than a disgruntled client who feels like he has been ripped off!
Being transparent with your client starts with a step that is often taken too lightly: the detailed estimate of the service. Clearly defining each step of the mission allows the client to better understand how you will meet his needs.
Once the mission has started, giving the customer access to a cloud where he can regularly check your progress will ensure the transparency of your service. If giving access to a cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox or other) seems a little too much, fixing in the quote regular renderings can be a more reasonable alternative.
3 - Be attentive
The previous points were very basic. Now we get into the more subtle elements that make the difference.
As in love, small attentions preserve the flame. A beautiful presentation of the deliverables, an attentive listening of the client's needs, but also of his worries and concerns (even if they are not always within the scope of the mission).
Do not hesitate to go further, and propose elements that are not in the quote, but do not require much effort for you. Maybe it's that hour lost adding an icing on the cake that will maybe make you get the next mission of your dreams!
These attentions can be very varied and added at each stage of the performance:
The list can go on and on. It is more of a posture, implied, than a list of best practices.
4 - Open your network
As a Freelancer, we often hope that our client will recommend us to his peers, friends and colleagues, and thus bring us new clients.
Young freelancers generally have the false belief that they do not yet have a network and that they must expand it permanently.
In reality, networking is also an activity based on reciprocity. One of the ways to please a client, and make a difference, is to dare to connect your client with other talented freelancers, or former clients who might have common interests. This is a key strategy to be a reference for your client, and thus build loyalty.
All these ideas are grouped together in one: just "CARE". Freelancers are turning more and more to virtual performances, performed remotely.
It's about taking the mission on his own and showing the client that, for the duration of the mission (and more), HIS problem is YOUR problem, HIS need is YOUR need. The client must feel that you are ready to go all the way to get the deliverable, the information, the product that you plan to have, and that you will not stick to the minimum agreed in the quote.
Beyond a good relationship with your client, it ensures you a good freelance posture; commitment is generally a guarantee of quality work.