Keep in touch with clients for more work and less anxiety
Today, I’d like to talk to you about ‘customer service’. Sounds boring, right? And yet, I would argue that a little bit of customer service is the easiest thing you can do to grow your business and to keep your business running smoothly.
Who has time for customer service!?
Customer service? Surely that’s something a large company would need to deal with. You don’t have time for that as a freelancer! There are projects to finish, invoices to send out. Not even your dishes get done on time.
Relationships take work to be successful
Here’s the thing: As freelancers, we get so busy completing actual work, that we forget what is going on around us. When work dries up or clients become unresponsive, it creates worry and anxiety. Are they unhappy with your work? Will there be more projects? Are they actually going to pay us?
All these worries can be avoided with a little regular client contact.
We often forget that the relationship with our clients is a relationship with another human being. Relationships take work to be successful – and the relationship with your client is no different.
Customer service can grow (and save!) your business
Here’s how a small amount of regular client care can make all the difference:
- TRUST: First and foremost, regular contact builds trust between you and your client. It strengthens the relationship. You gain a much better understanding of your client as a person and can judge how much future potential there is in the relationship.
- RESOLVE PROBLEMS EARLY: Regular contact with your client means you can deal with potential problems before they grow into something serious!
- SELL MORE: A friendly chat is a great way to get the inside scoop on your client’s business plans and potential new projects. (Or the potential end to an existing project!). This puts you in a great position to sell more services and grow your business!
- REASSURANCE for you: By reading between the lines, you can get reassurance that the client is happy with your work and that your paycheck won’t suddenly finished. I’ve used this with startups: A friendly question about how their funding round is going can tell you whether you’re likely to have more work from them in future.
- REASSURANCE for your client: Even just sticking to a regular, promised routine of contact and update emails will show them that you can be relied upon, are trustworthy and professional. It’s a small and very effective psychological trick.
How to set up regular customer service
Customer service doesn’t need to take much time. We’re talking about 30 minutes per customer per month. Here is how to set it up:
1. Send weekly update emails
At the end of each week, send a basic email with a summary of the work that you completed. Here’s a quick template. This takes about 5 minutes per client.
I hope you’re well. Here is a quick update on work completed this week:
The SEO campaign was successfully brought to an end. We saw a rise in traffic by 10%.
The new blog category went live. I look forward to developing this further with you.
As always, please let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions.
It’s a pleasure working with you, kind regards – xyz
2. Speak with your client once a month
Once a month, schedule a call or meeting with the customer. This can be as short as 10 minutes on Skype – you can make it what you want it to be.
Keep the call or meeting at the same time each month, for example, the last Wednesday, at 10am. You can easily manage this via repeating events in Google Calendar.
The purpose of the call is NOT a hard sell, or to ask probing questions, but just to have a chat. Let your client do the talking. Here’s a good opening line:
Hi Sue, it’s great to speak with you again. How have things been since we last spoke?
And then shut up and LISTEN! You can get most information you need in this way.
Finally, if you do have some direct questions, tag them on at the end:
Oh, before I go. There are 2 invoices that are unpaid. Can you please submit payment this week?
This might sound like a ‘soft’ approach – but you’ve just bonded with your client, they like you and they will find it VERY difficult to refuse pretty much anything you ask them.
Get started now
Over to you. Next Friday (maybe it’s Friday today)? Send an update email to all active clients. You don’t need to announce this in any way, just send the first one and stick to the schedule (set it up in Google Calendar!)
At the end of the month, email each client and set up a call with them for the last week. Again, schedule this in Google Calendar and make it a habit.
Well done, you’ve just taken a HUGE step towards growing a strong freelance business!