We all know the old saying, “the customer is always right”. However, when you’re a freelance Virtual Assistant that motto can seem a bit off kilter at times. When dealing with a particularly difficult client, for instance, who may want something for next to nothing, you might feel as though they are the furthest from being right as they can be. Though, you should keep in mind that customer service is key to any freelancing business, regardless of the industry. Therefore, here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re focusing on achieving top notch customer service in your freelancing career.
Be patient and try to see it from the customer/client’s point of view. We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve experienced some sort of poor customer service, whether it was dealing with the reps at your cell phone company or trying to return something to a department store. So, use these past experiences to see it from your client’s point of view. Try to be patient and attempt to understand what they need or want and how you can help them. Listen to what it is they are actually saying and put yourself in their shoes.
Follow up and follow through are key. When you say that you’re going to do something, make sure that you do it. Also, once you’re finished with a particular job, follow up with the client to be certain that they are satisfied with the work you did and happy with the end result. It only takes a few minutes to shoot them an email or give them a call to let them know it was a pleasure working with them and ask them if they have any feedback. This will also ensure that they remember you for future jobs.
Make sure you’re on the same page. There are few things worse in freelancing than spending a number of hours and valuable resources on a project, only to find out at the end that it’s not what the client wanted. So, make sure you’re on the same page before you begin. Also, if there’s an issue with communication between the two of you, such as a language barrier or use of terminology that is unfamiliar to you, clear that up beforehand, just so there’s no confusion later on.
Let them know you’re there for them. Keep in contact with your client while you’re working with them and inform them of any important updates and the progress of the work being done. In addition, let them know that you’re there to answer any questions or to listen to their input for the project. Most people like to be assured that you are going to be open to their suggestions or available to talk if they feel the need.
If you should make a mistake…fix it. Never, and I mean absolutely never, will you achieve a good level of customer service if you deny making a mistake or don’t agree to fix a mistake that you know you made. Being prideful when it comes to a project’s errors will get you nowhere, and will only anger the client in the end. If you are they encounter a mistake, apologize and fix it for them. Going that extra mile to admit that you are at fault and that you’ll do what you can to remedy the situation shows that you care about the needs of your clients.
The next time that a client becomes a challenge or becomes impatient with you, simply remember these few simple customer service tips and remain calm. And, keep them in mind in order to avoid these sticky situations in the first place. You might be surprised at how much your freelancing business benefits from it.