Freelance Tip: Provide Stellar Customer Service

Tip 5: Providing Stellar Customer Service

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Even the best professional websites and self-promotion campaigns won’t help you if you don’t come through for your clients. Never agree to more than you’re capable of; in fact, less is more when making commitments.

“I often give my clients a delivery date two days later than when I know I can complete the project,” says Fort Lauderdale, FL-based freelance creative director Halyna Shaw. “When you give them the product early, they’re thrilled. By doing more than you promised, you can build great relationships.”

Listening well is also imperative. “I think half the battle is listening to the client,” Shaw says. “They’re the ones who know the most about their business.”

Shaw doesn’t lend an ear only to those at the top, either. “Talk to the day-to-day operational people, not just the executives,” she advises. “When I take on a project, I’m an information gatherer; my job is to visually output the information, so the more of it, the better.”

Other tips for providing strong customer service include:

  • Put it on paper. Develop a written agreement that includes the scope of project, time frame and fee schedule so you and your client can reference it if questions arise.

  • Communicate in their style. Find out how your client prefers to exchange information and follow suit. Provide updates. Give the project team periodic status reports detailing your progress.

  • Search for solutions. Before approaching the client with potential problems, try to identify several options that you can present for overcoming the dilemma. Remember, you’re being paid to provide a solution, not define obstacles.

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