Freelancers: Get Extra Business with Customer Service

So perhaps this is the post everyone has been waiting for – how freelancers can get additional business through customer service. Some people may be saying “Nah, that’s impossible.” Well, it is possible. There are plenty of companies that have done it, so why can’t individuals?

There were some items discussed in the previous post about tips for freelancers to improve their customer service. Some good ways to get additional business through customer service (mainly by the way of referrals):

  1. Getting to know the client.
  2. Go the extra mile.

By getting to know the client, you have a good chance at identifying what else they may need and you can gain referrals. By going the extra mile, you can introduce your client to additional services you provide and generate some great word of mouth advertising.

So how else can you use customer service to get additional business?

  1. Make yourself the go to guy or girl. Make yourself the go to guy or girl for everything. Build up a network of friends, partners, etc. that do things that your clients need. For example, if you do web design, have friends who do business card design or web hosting. This way, whenever a client needs something, he or she will ask you.You can either get a referral fee from your friends/partners and/or eventually you’ll be asked about something that you can do. Oh, and your friends/partners may very well send you business in return.
  2. Be honest. Be honest and don’t sell clients more than they need (no matter how gullible they may be or how rich they are). Sell them what they need and clients will respect that and continue to do business with you and refer their friends to you.
  3. Be the solution. A big problem with a lot of freelancers is they aren’t very reliable. Don’t make this the case with you. Give clients your cellphone number, your personal email address, or whatever – make it so that you are the solution and that your clients have no reason to go to a full service company. Furthermore, make sure that your friends and partners you refer your clients to are as reliable and as dependable.
  4. Follow-up. Read the posts on Service Untitled about following up. Following up is extremely important and something that you should do. When you are done with a project, follow-up with them. When a potential client says “We’ll need you in three months.” contact them in three months.
  5. Be nice. As always, be friendly and it will pay off. Make yourself easy to work with and keep the client in mind. It also doesn’t hurt if whatever work you produce is what the client wants (note: not good – what the client wants) as well.

Be sure to read other things on Service Untitled as well. The suggestions provided in topics like Little Things, Big Differences and Etiquette really make the difference between an acceptable and great customer service experience.

Monday will finish up this series. If you have any suggestions of things to cover, please do provide them. On Tuesday, I have a post in mind about a customer service call turned disguised as an (effective) sales call.

On an unrelated note, this is an interesting read. It is the manual that the people who prevent members from canceling their AOL subscriptions use (also known as Retention Specialists, I believe).

4 Responses to “Freelancers: Get Extra Business with Customer Service”

  1. Stephanie Weaver said:

    Jul 22, 06 at 1:21 pm

    I just subscribed to your blog. I am a consultant in San Diego, helping businesses and museums improve their overall customer experience. I am amazed at how few people return phone calls or emails these days. For freelancers/consultants, I agree it is absolutely critical to be as professional as possible. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Service Untitled » Could you confirm? said:

    Jul 26, 06 at 12:21 pm

    […] Here are tips to make that information confirmation process a bit smoother. Don’t dwell on it. This is something the guys at AOL actually do right. Their manual on customer retention (discussed here) actually says not to take too much time with the information confirmation/verification process. Though their intent seems to be to make the call go quicker (as opposed to enhancing the customer service experience), it has the same result. […]

  3. A.C> said:

    Nov 24, 08 at 6:01 pm

    Wow, is this well needed. Thank you for the honesty. Go the extra mile… do what you say you’re gonna do… do more than what is expected of you. All great points. Thx for reminding us.

  4. Catherine said:

    Jul 24, 09 at 10:07 am

    Hello I found this blog by Google; it’s by this post I found my answer for what I was looking for. Thanks for the great post looking for more quality post.