Why I love Angry Customers…

Don’t be nervous… think of it as an opportunity! Sounds so damn cheesy. Ya…

Well, it is an opportunity.  An opportunity to showcase your calm disposition, problem solving skills, ability to compromise and listen, and build valuable rapport.

A complaining customer is a customer who is communicating with you – which is far better than an angry customer who doesn’t tell you when they aren’t happy with your service, and just stop hiring you. You know?

A couple of suggestions.

1. Address their concern in a prompt email, be sure to close that email with a statement that lets them know that you want to make things easier for them – as you are of service. Or, something similar and relevant to your product being useful and satisfactory.

2. Call them immediately after your email. As you listen to the phone ringing, force a smile on your damn face and hold it until they answer. Why? Because they CAN HEAR YOUR SMILE. I mean that, and if you think about it – you will agree!

3. Engage them in conversation about your work and their needs. You would be surprised how much you can learn – and don’t be shy about it either. You need to let them know that you find value in their knowledge, input, and/or expertise.

With a smile on your face (that they can hear) and genuine interest – you will be surprised how fast they begin to appreciate you, RIGHT after they were belly aching… its magic. 😉

thanks for reading, if there is anyone out there. I create these posts for me first, for my expression, notes on ideas, and to be my own moral support. So, if no one reads, thats ok too.

this post originated at brazenhustle.com

 

How to keep a client, long term.

For freelancers, client work is on and off. You’ll work with different clients throughout the year.  There will be periods where you don’t work for certain clients at all. If you want to keep a client, be sure to check in on them periodically (not occasionally) during times that you are not working together.

Periodically – meaning intentionally at a predetermined time interval, ex: quarterly, monthly, weekly, etc. You want to be consistent. predictable. persistent. reliable. diligent.  The focus in periodic communication is good service.

Occasionally – meaning randomly at your convenience, or only when you need them.  The focus in occasional communication is selfish service.

If you don’t consistently check in on them, they will think you are busy or forget about you entirely. Then, when their hot water is boiling over they will remember you and wish they had called you to help before it was too late. Which means, you missed out on their business… and you didn’t keep them as a client.

Remember, they are too busy to be thinking of you – and if they do, it will go kinda like this, “Oh ya, I should call them and see if they are available. I’ll do it tomorrow.”  Tomorrow never comes people, its always today and they may never actually call.

The same goes for prospects that would be clients. Keep checking in and letting them know you are here to support their business.

This post originated at http://www.brazenhustle.com

How to inspire confidence in a new client.

You want to be seen a professional? Then you need to inspire your clients to have confidence in you.

You should know what you need from a client to get started.

You should know what they will ask you.

So, take some time to develop a standard list with explanations. This will help you and your client get on the same page before you begin working together.

Write your process out in painful detail. Next, process that information into answers and questions.  You never know what a client doesn’t know, so just assume they have no idea how working with a freelancer works.

Waiting to address your client’s questions and issues as they come up (at the same time that you are supposed to be working on their project) is messy and amateur. They will have many questions and problems coming up.  And, they will awkwardly interrupt you to get answers and assurance on the fly – if you are lucky…

If you are unlucky – your client will think their questions and issues are unique. They will think those issues are signs that your relationship is not going to work out for them. In short, they won’t be inspired to have confidence in you or your work.

If your client don’t have confidence in you, they might just pay your first bill, find someone else to resolve their issues, and brush you off. All without giving you the opportunity to get things in order.

Remember, you are the professional. It is your job to know how to work with your client. So, never give your client the responsibility of knowing how to work with you. That’s just unprofessional and they won’t have the confidence to hire you again.

This post originated at http://www.brazenhustle.com

change = backlash

Change is generally not welcome.

Keep this in mind as you establish patterns of interaction, billing, etc. with your clients.

A beaten path develops ruts. After a while, you may get stuck in a rut – and your client may be very comfortable running you over.

So, when you put a boundary up – or try to establish a change in operation, ie: raising rates, not accepting certain types of work, etc.
You may receive a backlash. You might lose the client, for a while or altogether – that depends on how you conduct yourself.

The best remedy here is to set boundaries early. Don’t do anything for a new client that you would not want to do long term.

Even the best clients can become bad ones if you don’t know what works for you long term.

This post originated at http://www.brazenhustle.com

Where did my day go?

If you manage to get ahead on your workload you should not let emails, last minute changes, and rush jobs eat up your day.

Setting boundaries around scheduling using minimum time frames, ex: 72 hours for revisions, keeps expectations at bay.
And, charging rush fees helps discourage frivolous expediting.

You don’t want to grant any client control over your time.

Contractors don’t do that, unless they are on retainer.

This post originated at http://www.brazenhustle.com

Contractor Suicide

Having 1 client is contractor suicide.

Don’t do it, no matter how much they are paying you.

It is better to have more clients, even if some are paying you less.

Ideally, you will have a tripod of stability with at least 3 clients you do business with on a regular basis and a growing list of prospects that you are contacting occasionally with consistently.

1 client = 0 leverage

You may as well be an employee if you are going to have only 1 client.

This post originated at http://www.brazenhustle.com

You are not waiting for an assignment…

Sometimes your clients will assume that you don’t have much to do – just because you don’t have much to do for them.

At this point they may start sending you “rush” work or expecting things early. They imagine you sitting quietly, refreshing your inbox, waiting for an assignment from them.

But really, you are busy – working for your other clients. And, if you aren’t – then you need to be busy seeking more clients.

In most states its illegal for clients to micromanage you if you aren’t an employee. If you let them, you are blurring the lines between employee and contractor.

You want to keep those lines as sharp and crystal clear. Its really important to you and the tax commission too.

This post originated at http://www.brazenhustle.com