Customer Service & Freelancers

There is going to be a brief series on freelancers and customer service. Here is the schedule – the series will last four days.

Day 1 (Today): Introduction and advantages freelancers have when it comes to customer service
Day 2 (Thursday): How freelancers can utilize their advantages and improve customer service
Day 3 (Friday): How freelancers can get additional business through customer service
Day 4 (Monday): Conclusion and overflow day

Over the years, I’ve dealt with a lot of people who would be considered freelancers. Graphic designers, web designers, programmers, writers, builders/contractors – every type of freelancer one can imagine.

Some freelancers seem to think they are excused from giving customer service because they don’t work for a company per say. They work for themselves. However, these freelancers are wrong. The customer service freelancers provide should be as good, if not better, than the customer service their competition provides. A freelancer’s competition? Other freelancers and companies. They better get customer service right, because they have a lot of fields to compete on.

Freelancers do have some customer service advantages.

  1. There is only one person to mess up. It may be a cynical view, but the smaller the customer service department, the less people who can mess up. With freelancers, there is only one person who can mess up on anything, and that is obviously the freelancer.
  2. The customer service experience can be very personal. Since the freelancer knows every client, the customer service experience and all other freelancer-client interactions can be highly personalized.
  3. There are lots of opportunities to go the extra mile. With freelancers, there are lots of opportunities to go the extra mile. Since there isn’t very much corporate bureaucracy, the freelancer can make decisions.
  4. No bureaucracy. Enough said. The freelancer can make decisions.

There are plenty of other benefits that freelancers have over their competition (at least the companies), but these are the main ones that I can think of. Chances are, I’ll edit the post and include more.

Most of the tips in this series will be for freelancers who work on the Internet (graphic/web designers/developers, writers, programmers, etc.), but most of the tips can be applied to more “traditional” freelancers like contractors, plumbers, or anyone else.

Also, if there are any freelancers who read Service Untitled (which I would say is likely), feel free to provide your topic suggestions. I’ve scheduled for one overflow day, but if there are a few really great topic suggestions, they can definitely be covered.

Tomorrow’s post is how to use these advantages for better customer service and some other ways freelancers can improve the level of service they provide.