“Keeping your clients happy is an art in itself, involving skills that you acquire with time and experience. It’s something essential to your business that will ensure satisfaction for your client and make your life easier.”
It may seem impossible to reach a point where both you and your client(s) are equally happy with the terms of work and the service/product that you deliver. Sometimes it’s your fault—a lack of communication or lack of interest, for example, will affect any business relationship. Other times, it’s the client who’s difficult to please or who tries to take advantage of you.
So how on Earth do you achieve the balance that’s critical to maintaining a long and productive collaboration? Dan Vencatachellum from 99designs has some great advice on keeping your clients happy while keeping yourself sane…
“Over-delivering” seems synonymous with “giving too much”, which sounds great for your customers but unhealthy for you. Yet consider this:
“There is absolutely no need to make unrealistic promises to make this work. If, for example, a client needs something urgently in 4 days and you manage to complete the work in 2 days, that will definitely make a good impression on that client because you gave more than what the person expected from you.”
Think about it: as long as you are not straining yourself or neglecting more urgent work, then something like completing a project quickly is a bonus for your client without putting pressure on yourself.
And not only is this something that sets you apart from your competitors, but it also keeps your clients coming back for more and encourages recommendations. The next tip is an another example of a way to go the extra mile without using up too much of your time or effort.
2. Give Advice
“Sometimes what is written in a brief may not work for the best of a project. Do not be afraid to tell your client what could be a wrong step. You are a professional, discuss and inform your client about any doubts you might have and offer your solutions explaining why it will accomplish better results and positive returns for their business.”
Remember that you are the expert at what you do. Clients trust and hire you so that you can make the best decision for a particular area that they don’t have experience in. So if you don’t think something will work, let them know in the politest way possible (in case they think it’s a good idea). This shows that you care about their brand/business and it will also save you from future complications if something goes wrong.
Similarly, if you do not think you are the best person for a job or even specific task, let your client know. They will appreciate your honesty and return to you for other areas of expertise.
This is something that’s essential for any relationship (professional or otherwise!); it’s something that needs to be emphasized over and over again because the failure to maintain open and constant communication is the reason why many clients and their service providers end up in an unhappy situation.
And of course, communication is always a two-way thing, throughout all aspects of a job—from the project brief to after the final deliverable has been produced. This includes asking questions to clear up any doubts, confirming deadlines, and following up.
Good communication costs you nothing, demonstrates your professionalism, and also encourages your client to be communicative:
“You have to be communicating with your client regularly for feedback and making sure you are approaching the goals. Take time to listen to feedback because you might have an unhappy client if you don’t and this is the last thing you want.”
4. Honesty & Good Manners
“This should not be a hassle for you. Honesty is a quality clients value a lot.
You wouldn’t want people to be dishonest with you and it goes both ways. Therefore, be transparent on your invoices, inform your client what they are paying for exactly… Furthermore, your honesty should not be limited to money… Always show good manners and handle feedback and revision requests with maturity.”
Honesty should be a priority in all aspects of your life, and it’s essential in business. As mentioned above, honesty is not limited to financial matters—it extends to issues such as not being able to deliver work on time, making mistakes on a project, or being dissatisfied with the requirements (for example).
Combining honesty with good manners earns you the respect that you might have not gained otherwise, and puts you in a position of trust that encourages the client to give you benefits such as a bonus or an increase in responsibilities.
5. Follow up
Even when a job is done and dusted, don’t cut ties with your client. For example, if you are offering one-off online marketing services to a user, you could spend a few minutes to quickly advise them on a longer-term strategy.
“Never disappear completely when a project is over. Send emails or call to see how your client is doing with what you provided them… That is why you should monitor how your work is used. The client will definitely value this and may recommend you to others. That can only be good for your business.”
What strategies do you advise for keeping one’s clients happy?