1. Use an Issue-Tracking System
No matter how thorough you are at educating and training your clients on how to use the product your create for them, the client could still encounter problems with it.
As part of your freelance design services, or as a premium or add-on service of some kind, you could provide a quick way for your clients to get help for issues they come across.
Providing 24/7 support over the phone is difficult these days, email can be messy and problematic in adequately tracking the status and progress of a reported issue, and most of all, there are better options.
One better option is to set up a web-based issue-tracking system (also sometimes referred to as help desk software).
Pick an issue-tracking system that is intuitive and uncomplicated to use for both you and the client.
See this list of issue-tracking systems on Wikipedia to help you get an idea of what’s out there right now.
If you need to save on costs, perhaps you’re already using a project management system that has features that allow you to run your support/help system that you can look into.
Then, dedicate 1-2 hours every day to going through the help tickets (or even outsource the task completely). Giving this task its time in the day ensures that you can efficiently and quickly resolve the issues that are submitted by your clients.
Giving your clients a method for getting help easily will increase the chances of your design business having more recurrent clients. That’s because offering access to a help/support system is a relatively uncommon, but excellent service to give.
2. Offer Premium Packages
Your clients could handle all tasks related to, for example, managing a website on their own, but that doesn’t mean they want to.
Most people want to focus on their business, not on tweaking and managing a website or monitoring their social media presence.
For example, some possibilities for premium/add-on services for a web design business are:
- First priority support
- SEO services, anything from simple optimization to full-blown campaigns
- Software and server maintenance
- Social media marketing
- Content management
Not only does offering premium packages give you the potential to earn more money, but it also enhances and augments your service offerings. Having these options for your clients means that they’ll be more likely to work with you instead of hiring someone else.
3. Offer a Guarantee
In the retail industry, guarantees are services that are offered to buyers that allows them to return or replace a defective product.
You might be thinking that websites don’t break down, right? But you know that they do.
WordPress installations, for example, could crash any time it is updated or when a new plugin is installed. Also, it could get hacked.
Offering a guarantee is, in my opinion, simply a must in competitive service sectors. Guarantees build trust. It improves your service to your clients.
You have to be specific about the terms of your guarantees though, or you could be potentially opening yourself up to abuse and scope creep.
4. Use Time-Tested, Dependable Solutions
Some freelancers still prefer to create everything on their own. When there’s a better solution out there that’s accessible to you, you should use them so that you can focus on creating unique, innovative solutions, instead of spending precious project time on reinventing the wheel.
Successful freelancers provide their clients with the best solutions; solutions that are easy for their clients to use and manage. And for that to happen, the solutions need to be based on time-tested technologies, not on reinventions of the wheel.
Leveraging these dependable solutions ensures that your client has a great experience with the products you create for them.
2. Be Outcome-driven
Every product is created for a reason; the tricky part is that even your clients themselves often don’t know what their reason is.
If your client doesn’t have a goal outside of “I want a website” or “I want a logo made”, you can work with them to identify one, and figure out how to make it a reality. This goal should be documented and agreed upon.
For a website, some goals could be:
- To increase online sales of a product by 25%
- To reach out to a segment of the company’s target market that’s being under-served
- To provide existing customers with basic information about the company and its products to make it more convenient for them and to reduce costs associated with maintaining a call center
Goals should be specific and measurable. They should be realistic and doable. Preferably, they should have a time-frame in which they will be achieved.
Good goals affect how you design a particular product, such as a website. You use these goals to guide you in making design decisions.
You could use the SMART criteria as a guide to establishing good goals.
If you don’t have a goal by the time you start working on the project, you’re in big trouble. In fact, such a project is doomed to fail. That, in turn, will negatively impact your client’s experience.
What Are Your Tips for Improving Client Services?
Do you do anything for your clients that they really appreciate? What tricks do you do to enhance the quality of service that you offer your clients? Please share your tips, tricks, and ideas in the comments.