Once you get freelance clients you want to keep them. And like any business, one of the best ways to earn customer loyalty is to keep your customers happy.
Here are eight ways can make your freelance clients happier.
Communicating and collaborating effectively is one of the biggest challenges companies say have when dealing with freelancers, according to a survey by The Creative Group.
On your end, this is an issue that’s easy to resolve.
From the beginning, let your clients know when you can be reached—the hours and days—and how you can be reached—email, Skype, Slack, etc. And make sure you include any invitation links or usernames they’ll need to contact you on each platform.
When our schedule is tight we tend to put production ahead of administration. Sometimes that means sending out invoices whenever we get around to it.
It’s understandable that you’re busy but keep in mind that many companies’ accounting process is much more complicated than yours. Dealing with invoices for services rendered months ago can create a real hassle for several people, including the editors you work with since they commonly have to confirm details such as the publication date, word count, rate, etc.
For the sake of providing excellent customer service, it’s best to bill your clients whenever they’ve asked you to. And if they haven’t specified when they want to be billed, I would advise you to always keep it within a 30-day period. For their sake and yours.
Report Problems Early
If there’s an issue with a project that requires action from your client, make it known early on.
First off, when you do it early all the details are fresh in your mind—how you encountered it, what part of the project it affects, things you’ll need to fix the problem, etc.
Second, you may plenty of time before the due date, which makes it seem like something you can get back to later. But you don’t know how much time the client needs to rectify the issue. Just think, the person with the answers may be on vacation or leaving for vacation.
It’s inconsiderate to put your clients under pressure to resolve an issue that can be handled in more timely fashion.
Don’t Leave Them Hanging
Have you ever needed something and went to a store or business to get it only to find the place was closed? So you know that feeling of disappointment?
Don’t be reason your clients experience it.
If you’re taking off, be courteous and let your regular clients know the dates you’ll be unavailable. And use an auto-responder that will inform others who may try to contact you during that time.
Going MIA just because you’re a freelancer and you can isn’t cool.
Allow Time for Changes
If you’re going to cut your workload, severe ties, or raise your rates, let your clients know in advance. Don’t announce major changes and expect your clients to be prepared for them to take effect immediately.
List Your Needs
I have accepted projects with just a quick skim of the details and a glance at the pay and due date. In some of those cases, I realized later that I needed documents, images, database access, or interviews with company executives.
Asking for these things a week or two after I accepted the assignment probably didn’t leave a good impression since it clearly showed I hadn’t been working on the clients’ projects. And sometimes, it put an unnecessary strain on them to pull together what I needed for me to get the job done in time.
Be wiser. Review your projects in a timely manner and give your clients a list of everything you need at once.
Review Client Specs
Recently, I received a “Dear Freelancers” email from one my clients. It was a friendly reminder that certain specifications seemed to be slipping through the cracks. They were mostly style issues, like spelling out “percent” instead of using the %, and using one City, State format opposed to another.
When you’re working with clients for a while and you have multiple clients, you can easily forget or mix-up their preferences. Reviewing your style guides and spec sheets periodically helps you make sure clients are getting what they asked for.
Conduct Welfare Checks
Some clients aren’t comfortable contacting you to report little problems or to suggest minor changes. That’s why you, as a service provider (and one who is focused on excellent customer service), should reach out to them.
From time to time, contact your freelance clients to ask them for feedback and suggestions to improve your service. I promise you they’ll appreciate it.