Freelancers & Customer Service: Conclusion

Today is the closing of Service Untitled’s series on freelancers and customer service. The series has been well received and I’m glad some freelancers have found it useful. So, here is the conclusion.

Do the right thing.
In his interview, Craig Newmark said “Well, I think everyone should do the right thing.” That applies to everyone from freelancers to the biggest companies in the world. As a freelancer, try and do the right thing. Don’t cheat your clients, be nice to your partners, and try and do the right thing whenever possible. In a different interview, Craig said something along the lines of “Screwing people can produce short term success, but never long term success.” Try and think of that all the time.

Go the extra mile.
Remember to go the extra mile whenever you can, especially when you aren’t that busy. It’ll pay off in the long run and most of your clients that you do go the extra mile for will really appreciate it.

Be appreciative and follow-up.
When you finish a project for a client, do something nice for them. Order them a book they mentioned they wanted on Amazon, send them a bottle of wine or a fruit basket, or at least send a personalized thank you note. If your client ending up paying you two, three, four, or five thousand dollars (and up), it is worth it to send them a nice bottle of wine. When a month or two has passed, follow-up with your client and make sure everything turned out as they wanted and ask if they need anything else.

Pay attention to little details and try and make keep the principle of “Little Things, Big Differences” in mind whenever possible. Your clients are using you for a reason, so make sure that every little detail is exactly how they want it.

Do what the client wants.
On a similar note, do what the client wants. Unfortunately, good design, great writing, etc. doesn’t always pay the bills – it has to make the client happy in the end to get the money and to get referrals. Some clients will listen to you and do what you say, others will want it their way. You can try to reason with the client and present some supporting facts for your opinion (and better yet, examples), but remember about the power of the purse. Some of your clients may not care if it looks good, they want it their way and unless it is done how they want it (or at least to a point where they agree it makes sense), you won’t get any referrals.

I hope everyone enjoyed the series on customer service for freelancers. If any freelancers have anything they’d like me to elaborate on or post about, feel free to suggest it by posting your idea in the comments.