Being a great freelancer or business owner is all about surprising your clients with exceptional service. When a client is delighted by both the work you produce and the way you go about the project, they are far more likely to hire you again and recommend you to others.
Growing a business is about developing a positive reputation. It’s where people flock to you enthusiastically rather than you almost begging people for scraps of work. And this can only happen when you exceed expectations, with ninja-like focus, in every single facet of your work.
Your brand is everything and when you become known for the quality of what you do, then finding new lucrative clients will no longer be a problem. In fact, you’ll be turning people away.
Intrigued? Here are 7 ways to surprise your clients with exceptional service.
Spend time getting to know their requirements
The simple fact is, if you don’t know what your freelance client really needs then the project is doomed to failure. You will waste their time and money, which will reflect poorly on you.
The best freelancers, with a true ninja spirit, spend time getting to know their clients and their unique requirements. When you understand the intricacies of the client’s reality and goals, it’s far easier to put together a plan that will meet with success.
What’s more, the client will notice this extra effort and develop a deeper respect for your professionalism and brand. This can go a long way when it comes to recommending your freelance services to their colleagues and friends.
Reputation is everything when you’re a lance for hire.
Provide them with different options
Clients will understand you are the expert in your field, so in many cases they will wish to be led. However, they also want some input in the decision processes and planning of the project. When a client feels you are taking a singular route which might not be entirely beneficial to their needs, they might begin to feel alienated and anxious.
Include your client in all decision making processes and present them with more than one option at each important crossroad. Tell them what you believe is the best way forward out of all the choices and in most cases, if you’ve developed a rapport and mutual respect, they’re likely to follow.
Giving your clients the power to choose, with informed reasoning, enables them to feel part of the process. In turn this cultivates an important aura of transparency, which imbues trust.
Care about their success
For run-of-the-mill freelancers, client work is merely something to get done as quickly as possible before then getting paid. It’s all about a conveyer belt of work which has no inherent meaning. While this philosophy can certainly bring in money, it’s never usually lucrative and entails mind-numbingly tedious work.
The better alternative is to genuinely care about the success of your clients. Become a partner in their efforts and do all you can to bring them closer to the results they desire. This involves getting to know their reality and taking greater care in the planning and execution of their project.
When you build your freelance reputation on excellence and genuine caring, then you attract the best clients who respect your professionalism and worth. You can soon begin to charge higher rates that reflect the time, effort, and expertise you put into client work.
There’s nothing worse, for clients or for freelancers, then radio silence. This is when a contact goes quiet and you’re left hanging, unsure what to do next and having to rearrange schedules.
As a freelance professional it’s imperative to maintain open communication channels and provide frequent updates about the progress of the project. This allays any fears or concerns the client may have and allows them to feel everything is running smoothly and to plan.
You don’t need to be available every hour of the day. It’s important to set some expectations at the beginning of a project, so you’re not answering emails or the phone during the evening or at weekends.
Answering a client, as fast as you are able to, within acceptable parameters which don’t negatively impact on your work, is generally a good rule of thumb.
Use the best collaboration and work tools
Exceptional service as a freelancer is keeping your clients in the loop. When they can see the different stages of their project being completed, they feel better about the overall process.
Collaboration tools are a great way to show clients exactly what you’re doing at any given time. They also allow for two-way communication, allowing the client to add notes or suggest edits. These tools include apps like Kanban Boards where each task within a project is labeled and clearly defined, for both the freelancer and client(s) to view.
You can also offer your client an invoicing portal in which they get to see all the invoices they’ve paid and any related time-tracking data, all in one place. When a client has this level of insight into your working processes, they feel a lot more relaxed and confident in the results.
Meet deadlines in advance
Deadlines are deadlines and they have to be met. This is a minimum requirement for a successful career and it’s a core pillar of any ninja warrior code. If you’re continually late with work, then you’ll gain a poor reputation.
However, you can do better than merely meeting deadlines. Great freelancers and solopreneurs, with an inherent ninja spirit, set a deadline and then deliver the work long before that deadline arrives.
The client is pleasantly surprised by the speed and when the quality of work is high, they then become absolutely delighted as well. You can do no wrong in their eyes after that.
Producing high quality work, as mentioned above, is essential. When you combine proper research, dedicated planning, clear communication, hard work, and a genuinely caring mindset, then together with your expertise, you’re bound to produce stellar work.
This is all about exceeding expectations and this is vital if you want to command the highest rates in your field and attract the best clients. This is what a ninja spirit is all about.
Great clients are those who respect your professionalism and let you get on with doing what you do best, safe in the knowledge you will produce the results. They are usually a pleasure to work with and allow you to be truly creative when it comes to doing what you love to do.
Exceptional service brings exceptional results
Exceed the expectations of your clients and you’re more likely to also exceed your dreams. Those very same dreams you may have originally held about the wonderful benefits of a freelancing lifestyle.