How To Deliver Quality Customer Service as A Freelancer
The lifeblood of a business includes a few controllable components, one of which is namely, “Customer”.
Yes, you read that right, “Customer”.
As much as lack of or insufficient capital can sabotage the existence of a business, or mismanagement of funds, so also can customers of a business determine the progress of the business depending on how much care goes into their experience and how they are made to perceive the business by the business owner’s actions.
For any freelancer or freelance business, it is customers that keep it going. And, if they don’t feel right working with you, you are sure to be closing shop sooner than you can envisage. Hence, the need for you as a freelancer to invest in delivering delightsome customer service to each of your clients. This (good customer service), much more than your expertise, is what will make them come back for more. Trust me, every freelancer thrives mainly because of return customers. So, you too, sure want your customers to keep coming back for more of you. One-off doesn’t contribute to the long run. It’s the customer experience you consciously give your clients that will determine if they are coming back or not; it also contributes to whether or not they would refer you to others or if they would give you a good rating.
Quality customer service is never a happenstance. It is a product of a deliberate system that is consciously executed from time to time. This means that for a customer or client to feel good about your service, you must have, at a point in time, deliberated on a suitable friendly way of interacting with them; also, you painstakingly adopt that manner of approach with every client, no matter the turn of events or stakes involved in the business. As such, you have included quality customer service/experience as a key added deliverable in your business operations.
4 Key Areas of Quality Customer Service.
As was noted above, quality customer service is a system of interacting with customers and clients. It is a system of closely-knitted steps and actions in no particular order or hierarchy. Each step or action is required and important in itself. Let’s look at them one by one, remember, in no particular order or hierarchy:
- Defining Deliverables and Duties. As a freelancer, it is always important to define what you can and would deliver effectively to your clients at the beginning of every business transaction. You should also endeavor to define along with any client duties involved in the business process and who does what. This also includes setting a plausible and feasible timeline for updates, reviews, and submissions. Doing this can serve as quick answers to frequently asked questions and reminders for what’s up and next. You can’t afford to assume that your client knows what to expect from you without both of you taking out time to define things at the beginning.
- Courteous and Timely Communication. The tone of messages to clients is a key effort every freelancer must ensure to keep pleasant and professional. This is needed especially in cases of receiving complaints and reviews of displeasure. Avoiding nasty adjectives and expletives can’t be more needed than in such situations. Also, don’t be too casual and street with your choice of words. Slangs and abbreviations should be flagged as misgivings, thus, must be avoided. As a freelancer, you must know that the end-user of what you want to create or provide is for your client/customer, so you have to make sure that you understand and discuss all issues from their perspective. Your work is to help them achieve their dream as a professional; not force down their throats what you think is doable even if you are universally accurate. Always give off the feeling that you are most happy to hear from them and work with them each time you communicate. On timing communication, you don’t want to slack on that as a freelancer. Timing in business communication is like a rhythm. Each response is a loop in the overall rhythm, and if not properly timed, messes up the melody of the rhythm. Any response delayed is a potent blow that dents your reputation as a professional and says, a leader. Never keep clients and customers waiting for too long (whatever’s the measure of that) without any response. Even when they fail to contact you, nothing stops you from providing them with updates. Always let them know that you are working on their project, and you are committed to giving them the best.
- Doing a Little More. Here’s one secret most service-based businesses often miss out on. Sticking to the dictates of the contract is important, however, doing a bit more is needful. It is never out of line as it is always appreciated. More can be finishing up the project before the actual due date; it can be creating other ways of accessing the final product in case anything happens to the first medium of delivery; you could provide them with an extra design to take care of future rebranding; and so on. Don’t be business as usual. Let your clients trust that you truly care and are willing to help them.
- Quality Job. After all, the first reason a client hires you as a freelancer is for you to get a job done for them. Doing it as best as possible, then, is one of the many sweet experiences you want them to have in the process. A standard product is customer service. As they say, “you are as good as your last performance”. If your last performance is something a client wishes to forget in a hurry, you have not done well for yourself. Your works must always speak well of you; they should naturally make clients praise you whenever they get the opportunity to in your presence or absence. As a freelancer, you should set a standard of quality for your performance on your job that can stand any test, and always perform at that level. Be known for quality.
In conclusion, every freelancer must know that they are actually business persons; their services are business products. And, no serious business jokes with the emotional needs of its customers/clients towards their activities. So, whether you are freelancing part-time or full-time, you just have to deliver quality customer service/experience to your customers and clients. It’s the way we show that we value them so much and have respect for them.