Did you know that it costs you more money to find new clients than it does to keep them? The clients you have now could be the future of your business for years to come. They can come back for repeat sales. They can refer their friends and family.
If looked after now your existing customers can save you thousands in advertisement costs.
Tell It To Them Straight
Be honest with them and have confidence in yourself. They hired you for your professional skills so even when they are insistent about a direction which they want to take, if you believe that it’s against their interests you have to make and win that point.
That’s why the self-belief part is so vital. When someone is paying your mortgage there is tendency for you to want to listen to them, which you should. You would additionally expect them to know their own business inside out. At the same time you have to demonstrate the confidence to make important decisions. To be able to draw a line in the sand on some issues and make very clear that this is your know-how and you’re being paid to make the call.
Once you have gained that trust you will have a client for life.
Respond To Everything, Fast
Clients are going to send you emails that they want answered yesterday! They may have a way of writing emails which is curt and doesn’t reflect how they are in person.
Never take offence at a tone in an email as they are so easily misinterpreted. I have done this on many occasions and you always end up regretting it.
As a side note, email is never ideal. If you can meet with someone face to face this is always the best solution. If this fails then try picking up the phone and have a conversation.
If you’re stuck with email, try to over-answer their questions as this is better than not giving an answer at all. If the question is not clear and you cannot manage to get hold of them, rewrite how you understand it and then answer that. They will always be able to correct you.
Be a Problem Solver
Being a great designer isn’t just about creating beautiful objects or buildings. It’s as much about solving problems.
Being a problem solver sounds easier than it is. The biggest issue with this is knowing the problem in the first place. If you spend lots of time to solve a difficult problem, this is a great achievement, but if it wasn’t the problem your client was talking about in the first place then you have just wasted your valuable time.
Therefore a third and perhaps most important skill comes to the fore and that is to listen. That is to ask questions until you have understood the problem better than your client. Once you have got to this level you are surpassing your client’s needs and therefore, delivering that extra value which is rare.
Be Great On Customer Service
So what is more important, being great at customer service or at designing? Designing one of the core skills of the trade so this in a sense is taken as a given. Being a ninja at customer service can be the difference between working for great clients or just doing designs for yourself at home.
Being great at customer service is about being available for clients all the time, even when it doesn’t suit you. It’s about understanding client needs and meeting them. It’s about building a rapport with your client and creating extra value for them. It works wonders!