What makes your clients 100% satisfied in freelancing
One crucial lesson I've learned as a freelancer is the importance of keeping clients 100% satisfied. It's not just about building your personal brand and ensuring financial stability; it's about fostering trust. What does it take to make a client genuinely happy to work with you? Let's explore it together.
In January 2023, I launched goosebumps.design, a subscription agency offering clients unlimited design and web services in exchange for a monthly, all-inclusive fee.
Before starting Goosebumps, I had been working as a freelancer since 2010, although I spent most of those years working as an employee in various studios and companies. Freelancing has always been my passion.
One crucial lesson I've learned as a freelancer is the importance of keeping clients 100% satisfied. It's not just about building your personal brand and ensuring financial stability; it's about fostering trust.
What does it take to make a client genuinely happy to work with you? Let's explore it together.
Meeting Agreed Deadlines
This forms the cornerstone of any working relationship, especially in the freelancer-client dynamic. Once a deadline is set, it must be honored, no matter what.
It's essential to establish realistic deadlines. One approach I've found effective is, whenever possible, not providing an exact date for project completion but, instead, committing to delivering an initial version of the client's requested work by a specific date.
Determining the right deadline can be challenging, especially if you're a freelancer who hasn't meticulously tracked hours on past projects. Have a conversation with the client, collaborate on setting the deadline, and openly discuss any concerns about potential difficulties in meeting it.
Ensure Swift Responses
Regardless of your preferred mode of communication, whether it's through chat, email, or phone calls, the key is to be responsive. Waiting too long to get back to your clients isn't a good practice.
When a client reaches out, they should feel that you're there for them. If you can't respond immediately, reassure them that you'll get back to them as soon as possible. Clients need to know that you're reliable.
Failing to respond promptly, ignoring their messages, or disappearing for extended periods without explanation will only lead to frustration and a sense of abandonment on their part. This can make them think twice about reaching out for future work, considering the effort it took just to maintain communication.
Only Promise What You Can Deliver
Ensuring client satisfaction isn't about saying "yes" to every request, especially when you know it's impossible due to time constraints or your skillset. If you foresee a challenge in fulfilling a request, don't hesitate to communicate this upfront.
Explain the potential pitfalls of going down that route and why you decided not to take on the task. This is a matter of professionalism.
A seasoned freelancer avoids embarking on unrealistic endeavors that can result in misunderstandings and client dissatisfaction. Being professional doesn't mean you can perform miracles in record time.
Instead, propose an alternative path, an option that the client will appreciate, as it demonstrates respect for their time and showcases your commitment to their satisfaction.
Paying Attention to the Little Things
When a client is paying for a service you're providing, their satisfaction with that service depends on specific details that may appear unimportant but are far from it.
Let me illustrate this with a straightforward example. Suppose you're tasked with designing a 5-page website with a content management system (CMS) that allows the client to add content independently. Accessing the CMS requires a username, a password, and some instructions on where to log in and how to use the CMS, among other things.
You could address this need in two ways: the quick and basic route, sending a two-line email with the username and password and brief login instructions, or the professional approach. The professional approach involves providing a comprehensive guide in a PDF or a link to a Notion page. You might even present the username and password creatively, within a colorful frame featuring your logo. Taking it a step further, you could send this material to the client's office, enabling them to activate it there.
Think of a premium credit card – they come in beautifully designed packaging, not just a plain and hurried email.
Meticulously tending to every aspect of your work as a freelancer will leave the client delighted and give them an enjoyable experience they'll want to repeat.
Providing Transparency in Project Progress
No professional enjoys constant scrutiny while working on a project. However, clients also don't appreciate being left in the dark for prolonged periods.
The key to keeping clients content is to offer them regular, comprehensive reports on what has been accomplished, the ongoing work, any challenges faced, and the milestones reached. This approach makes them feel engaged and valued.
Vanishing for days and only delivering updates when they ask, possibly in an irritated tone, isn't the path to maintaining a happy client relationship.
Especially in the realm of digital work, there's no excuse. There are numerous ways to keep them informed, such as sharing a link to your Figma project, your Webflow website, or a demo of your ongoing work.
By actively involving them, clients will, in turn, place their trust in your services once more.
Offering Discounts on Additional Services
While transparency and meeting deadlines are essential, going the extra mile to provide discounts on additional services can significantly enhance client satisfaction.
Consider this scenario: You've already completed a website design project for a client, and they express interest in having some copywriting work done for the site. Instead of charging the full rate, you might consider offering them a discounted rate, or even a bundled package for the additional service.
This not only saves your client money but also demonstrates your willingness to build a long-term relationship and add value beyond their initial expectations. It's a small investment that can pay off in terms of client loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals.
Remember, happy clients are more likely to become repeat clients and advocates for your freelance services. By ensuring you go the extra mile and consider offering discounts on additional services, you can build stronger, more lasting relationships with your clients.
Completing the Job and Delivering Quality and Value
One of the most fundamental aspects of client satisfaction is delivering quality work that provides real value. This is the obvious but most important rule in the world of freelancing.
When your client receives a project from you, they should not only find it well-executed but also see the value it adds to their business or goals. The work should solve their problem, improve their brand, or contribute to their success in a tangible way.
Quality isn't just about the final result; it's also about the process. Communicate clearly, respond promptly, and address any concerns or changes with professionalism. Provide them with a seamless experience from the beginning to the end of the project.
In the end, your clients want more than just a completed task – they want a solution that makes their lives better. When you consistently deliver quality and value, you'll not only satisfy your clients but also earn their trust and loyalty for the long term.
Building Trust, One Client at a Time
As I reflect on my journey in the world of freelancing, it's clear that client satisfaction isn't just a business strategy; it's a commitment to building trust, one client at a time. It's about going beyond meeting deadlines, offering discounts, and providing detailed project reports. It's about connecting with the people who entrust you with their vision and goals.
In every project, I've discovered that the most valuable currency is the relationship you cultivate with your clients. It's the trust they place in you and the faith that you'll deliver not just a project but a solution that genuinely adds value to their world. This trust isn't forged overnight; it's nurtured through consistent communication, delivering on promises, and going the extra mile when needed.
And so, as you navigate your own path as a freelancer, remember that every interaction with a client is an opportunity to strengthen this bond of trust. The simple act of understanding their needs and demonstrating your unwavering commitment to their success can make all the difference.
In the end, while the freelancing landscape is filled with deadlines, projects, and emails, it's the human connections and the satisfaction of knowing you've positively impacted someone's business or life that make this journey truly rewarding. So, embrace the challenges, celebrate the successes, and continue on the path of creating not just satisfied clients, but thrilled advocates of your work. This, my fellow freelancers, is the essence of lasting success in our craft.