The Perfect Client
When I started out “on my own” I had this picture of the ideal client.
They would be executives with large budgets begging me to do work for them. Over time I would be one of the foremost people in web design in Ireland with an orderly line of CEOs with fat wallets lined up patiently outside my office, some would even have having slept over so as not lose their slot.
Of course the reality is nothing like that.
I now know customers come in all shapes and sizes and with hugely differing budgets and needs.
I had a client last week who cycled across town to talk about his new blog, in contrast I just started a project with a large charity in Dublin working on a large design and development project for 2017. Two vastly different clients.
The most important thing I have learned is to treat all of these clients the same irrespective of the project being delivered. The paybacks are enormous.
The reason is simple. For freelancers referral business is golden. When person A refers person B to you the odds that they are going to use someone else are unlikely.
In addition I have never heard a referral client say to me
Person A gave me your name because the graphics were great on the slider and your CSS was AMAZING!!
The reasons I get referrals are usually that I was prompt, did a good proposal, understood and interpreted their needs, kept in touch and was generally decent to great to deal with.
Am I like that for every single customer. I’m not sure but I try damm hard.
I am 100% certain that the quality of what I produce is 5X better than what I used to produce when I started (through using better designers, improved workflow and more expertise) but I am pretty sure that my focus on making the customer happy has improved by 10X.
Really in the website space people really can’t tell good from great. Of course always aim to deliver great but often good is fine.
But EVERYONE can tell great customer service from shit customer service.
I am not saying develop new design ideas or work on improving your craft. Of course not. But dedicate a significant part of your process improvement time on improving your customer service.
Where I tend to focus is on things
- Great clear easy to read proposals.
- Getting these proposals out quickly
- Great, prompt follow up.
- Automating every single moving part without it looking automated.
- Communications throughout the lifecycle of the project (more on that in another post)
- Closing out efficiently
- Billing promptly (believe it or not people like to get their bills quickly)
- Keeping in touch after the project
Am I amazing at all of the above?
Not at all but I do focus on it and not a week goes by where I don’t examine one or more of these processes with an eye to making them better.
The executives are always thankful.