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  • Exploring  Customer Service...

    Freelancing during economic recession

    Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

    Looming stock market crashes. Government bailouts. Rate cuts. Recessions. Depressions.  These are all words gladly being thrown around by the mainstream media of late. And we all know the mainstream press loves nothing more than selling us doom by the truck load.

    Recession got you bummed?Photo by lefthand.

    Recession got you bummed? Fear not, there is much you can do.

    I’m no economist, but it seems only natural that markets should correct themselves (level off and perhaps retract) after consecutive years of positive domestic and global growth. In any case, the situation is what it is. So what’s a freelancer to do amidst leaner and tougher economic times? The answer is: Be even more valuable to your clients.

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    30 second customer service pays dividends

    Monday, October 6th, 2008

    One of the best and arguably easiest ways to generate good faith with your clients is via the customer service you provide.  I’m an advocate of providing killer customer service wherever possible for many reasons.  A large part of that killer service is how fast you get back to your clients.

    "Man, our web guy really makes life easier."Photo by marinacvinhal.

    "I got the answers I needed and my boss loves me."

    Yep, speed is important!  The old cliche is that “time is money” and when your clients consistently get super fast responses to their queries, your stock with them invariably goes up. It’s also important to understand that as a freelancer one of your greatest strengths is your mobility. Studios and development teams aren’t generally able to respond as quickly as you are.  So get guerrilla and leverage that competitive advantage to the max!

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    Provide killer customer service

    Thursday, September 11th, 2008

    Customer service.  It sounds like something that only employees of large companies have to worry themselves with.  The fact is though, us freelancers provide customer service every single time we interact with our clients.  Lets take a look at customer service,  how it effects our businesses and how you can shine like a freakin’ rock star in the eyes of your clients.


    Photo by king edward.

    Keep your clients coming back with killer customer service.

    Differentiation

    More than anything else, customer service will make or break your business and set you apart from your competition.  Yep, even more than your design work.  Many clients aren’t sure about what constitutes poor design work but you can be sure most of them know what poor customer services feels like. The good news is this: it’s way easier to consistently provide rock star customer service than it is to provide rock star design.

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    Client satisfaction & farts in the wind

    Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

    When it comes to freelancing, reliability is massively important commodity.  This is doubly true for remote freelancing since people never get a chance to meet each other in person.  Clients who know they can rely on you are happy clients that keep coming back. As a remote freelancer I’ve been both a service provider and a buyer of services. If you play this game long enough, you’ll work with some stand up designers and developers and you’ll work with some freakin’ awful ones.

    Photo by joeshlabotnik.

    Ideally, your clients should always look something like this.

    Wingnuts

    One guy,  lets call him Wingnut, vanished on me like a fart in the wind on the tail end of a project. He was working on the front-end design for a site and two weeks into it he disappears. Trying to call him or email him yielded no reply so I start making alternative arrangements to get the job done.  Meanwhile, he is updating his blog and obviously not dead.

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    Working on retainer

    Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

    Let me set the scene here.  About five years ago I was in London, living in Wembley and working from home (in my undies as usual) and I picked up new client on Elance.  It was a very small project for less than a couple hundred bucks.  The client was in the US and looking for some quick banners to meet a late deadline.  I low balled my bid knowing I could turn it around fast and I needed the cash for some bills.  One thing lead to another and I got the gig.

    Smooth out the ups and downs of freelancing by selling your time in advance Photo by Powerdruns.

    Smooth out the ups and downs of freelancing by selling your time in advance.

    I completed this little project which turned out to be the catalyst for a great working relationship and over the next five years, this client would spend over a $100k with me, all from a small two hundred dollar project.

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