As a freelancer, a happy client means a happy freelance life. You want your clients to be happy so they pay you on time, leave you a great review, come back for return business, and recommend you to others. But how do you keep your clients happy? Today, we’ll look at the entire process of working with a client and how to keep the client happy at each stage.
1. Understand what they want
The starting point of any great freelancer-client relationship is a 100% understanding of what the client wants. This means read the brief, re-read the brief, and clarify the brief if it’s unclear. Don’t go into a project not being completely sure of what the client wants, as it’s very difficult to keep a client happy if you don’t know what they’re after. If necessary, ask for a call to discuss the project before you start.
2. Keep them updated
Once you know what the client wants—and importantly when they want it by—it’s time to get to work. But don’t just shut yourself off and send the work back when it’s ready. Instead, keep your client updated on your progress, especially on longer projects. Check in with them every now and again. Tell them the date you anticipate returning the work by, and ask them whether they’d like to discuss the work after you sent it back.
3. Deliver on time
It should go without saying, but don’t be date. Don’t miss your deadline because you didn’t leave enough time for the work or messed up the time zones. If you think the work is going to take longer than expected, then tell the client well in advance of the deadline and explain why, so you can adjust the deadline accordingly. If you can (without sacrificing quality of course), then send the work back sooner.
4. Exceed their expectations
If you want truly happy clients, then deliver over and above what the client expects. Don’t just do the basics of what they asked for, but add value to the project. Suggest things that might make the project better or ways to streamline. For example, as a book editor, I don’t just edit the book but give the author tips to improve for the future.
5. Check that they’re happy
When you’ve sent the work over, check that the client is happy with it. Ask whether they have any questions or if there’s anything else they’d like to you do. If they’d like some amendments, then make the changes and send them back promptly. If there’s any problems, then genuinely apologise, be polite in your explanation, and resolve the issue quickly and smoothly.
6. Welcome them back
Before ending the relationship, tell the client that it’s been great to work with them and that you’d love to work with them again in the future. If you offer a discount for multiple services or return customers, now is the time to mention it. Leave the client with a positive impression of the relationship in thinking you’d be happy to work with them again.
Bonus tip: Be personable
This tip relates to the entire process of working with a client. While you may think you have to be uber professional, not all clients want a formal, stiff working relationship with their freelancer. If they seem open to it, then get to know them as another human being. Ask how their week has been, what they’ve got planned for the weekend, and so on. Whether they want to be chatty or not, it’s vital to treat each client as a person, not a transaction. Be friendly, polite, and approachable with each client—and you’re on the right road to keeping every customer happy.
Have any of these methods worked for you? What other ways do you keep your client happy? Comment below or get in touch. And stay tuned for more freelance tips!