At this point, I can tell you one thing for sure: Customer Service and the freelance web designer are a hard (but necessary) pair.
If you aren’t careful, it can lead to rather unfortunate sleep habits…
According to the Wikipedia entry for customer service, it is:
The provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.
With a web designer, that is practically all we do! We are working with the client before, during and after their “purchase” to give them the site that the want. That is our job. Without that aspect of it, we wouldn’t have many clients.
With that in mind (that customer service is our bread and butter) there are four things to keep in mind while dealing with the client according to Dustin Brewer’s article, The Art of Great Customer Service.
A necessary part of dealing with anyone. You need to be able to understand what the client wants, and help the client understand what you can (and sometimes can’t) do. It’s part of getting everyone on the same page.
Understanding their needs
This seems kind of obvious (and I’ve been guilty of not doing this), but it is harder than it seems. Really take the time to get to know your client and what their exact needs are. It is not always a swift process, but it one that will save everyone time and frustration down the road.
Following up with clients
This will help make sure that they haven’t had a change of heart, mind, budget or whatever! It will save heartache from re-designs and time on your part. Check in, it’s just polite!
A part that nearly everyone will have to deal with. There will always be that client who doesn’t give you all that you need, who calls you every ten seconds with a tweak or a change or who doesn’t respect what you do and thinks that they can do it better regardless of the fact that they already hired you. (Yeah, I know you know who I am talking about. They’re out there). Be patient. If need be, take the time to educate them about your process and what you’re doing. Why this code is better than that one. There is a great article about this over at the Design Cubical by Brian Hoff; you should check it out.
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