When you are dealing with clients, the little things do matter. The way you decide to conduct yourself is an indication to them of the kind of person you are. The suggestions I want to share with you don’t take a lot of time, but it you incorporate them into your work practices, your work relationships will run more smoothly and you may find you are getting more work as a result.
Make Them Feel Welcome
One of my clients (who has now become a good friend besides our business relationship), used to e-mail and say, “I don’t want to distract you, but…” I explained to him that he is never a distraction, in that the people paying me are not a distraction from my business. They are the reason for it.
I may be juggling multiple assignments, but none of my clients need to know that. I answer their e-mails promptly and if it’s someone I haven’t heard from for a while, I make a point of putting something like, “How nice to hear from you again” somewhere in the message. (I suppose it does help that I genuinely like my clients, and I do look forward to hearing from them.)
Keep Clients Updated
If you are working on a lengthy assignment, give your client a progress report every now and then. Let them know how where you are in the process and give them an idea of when you will be finished.
In a situation where something happens and you will be late turning something in, let your client know as soon possible. I don’t get sick often but there have been a couple of times when I just couldn’t continue working and my clients have been very understanding.
Say Thank You
This is a very simple thing, but a sincere thank you goes a long way when you are relating with your clients and other people in your freelance career. If a client pays promptly, has just given you a new assignment, or shared some feedback with you, take a minute to send an e-mail thanking them.
I have a couple of clients who find it more convenient to pay by check and I e-mail them when the check arrives to let them know and to thank them for their business. If I found an assignment particularly interesting, I make a point of mentioning that as well.
Do you look after the “little things” when you are dealing with clients? What strategies have you found most effective?