My life as a PHP freelancer depends entirely on client satisfaction. Getting a new client every other day is quite impossible, but a lot easier thing is client retention. It is critical for a freelancer and it entirely depends on the client satisfaction. This article is part of a series where I pen down my experience as PHP freelancer and aim to help you to become a great PHP freelancer and consultant.
This is not only applicable for a PHP freelancer like me, but can also be extrapolated to a startup, and so to a large enterprise. However huge your investments might be, the very existence of your enterprise would turn out to be pointless if there are no clients. On the other hand even a start-up could burst into bloom if it manages to keep its clients contented.
Clients, good or bad would bring you more business if you could keep them satisfied and if you couldn’t, The good one shall simply walk away but the bad one would take the bad word all around as he goes. It is obvious that we wouldn’t want this to happen, would we? Well then check this set of ‘be’s which would make you the first choice to all types of clients.
As an online based PHP freelancer most of the times, I never talk to a client. Of course Internet seems to have made the most agreeable means of contact but still, the anonymity that it creates a times of doubts could put our clients under pressure. To simply shun all these, encourage a face-to-face encounter with your client, show him you are there as fresh as a daisy to solve his problem and then get down to work. Sometimes this might not be possible, over such occasions make use of some video calling applications and fill the gap. This personal confrontation would establish a mutual trust and make the partnership more considerate in the long run.
Having his heart set on solving the problem, the client hunts for an expert freelancer. He finds you suitable and chooses to work with you. Amidst a kind of anticipation and excitement the client tends to literally drill you with his questions and doubts. This constant interference for a freelancer might perturb your creativity but this is where you need to stay calm and keep them satisfied.
It is indeed impossible to diligently respond to his every email then and there. In such cases rather ignoring those emails just let them know that you have received their note and assure them that you shall get back to them. By doing so, you are making your client feel assured of his importance. Always stay prompt in keeping the client posted of the development of your work. This practice of being quick and respectful shall surely seek you scores even if you couldn’t explain a technical factor.
You could even win a hard-headed client and make him your friend if you could practice empathy. This trait can’t be shown. Rather it has to be communicated through your words and deeds. To start with, listen to your client’s expectations through and through. Step into his shoes and perceive things from his view. Then simply take him through the problem and his expectations. If possible put some of the words that he used to do so just to make him understand your understanding. Signing a contract as a freelancer, working on it and just leaving aren’t empathy. In short empathy is the only tool through which you could reciprocate your client’s trust and keep him satisfied.
As a freelancer, it is true that you are on a business relationship with your client but that doesn’t mean that you are expected to just stay so. When free design them a brochure, send a birthday note, pick your mutual interests and share related things and so on. You need to go down the lane and let your client know that you are interested in the overall development of his business. This is where most of the freelancers fail. Make sure your client feels good and comfortable working with you. If you could establish such a bond with all your clients, you will not only retain them, you shall even have them bring clients for you.
The most important principle a freelancer must follow is ‘be reliable’. As a practicing PHP freelancer for many successful years, I found this attribute to be most necessary. Reliability is all about keeping your promise. In my early article top 10 skills to be a successful freelancer, I have emphasized about this in detail. To start with, no client is your friend until he sees you moving on schedule. Being cool and composed would comfort your client but it is of your steady progress that he stays satisfied. Reflect his enthusiasm.
Make your client feel that you are equally interested in the project. There are even clients out there who do not look for demeanours rather they just wait for the product, examine its progress then and there and finally leave contented. You shall be the perfect choice of those who find you reliable and your work credible.
Client satisfaction like any aspect of business, is an art that takes time and effort to master. All you ought to do to achieve this is to stop and switch roles with your clients. What would you want from your business if you were a client? How would you wish to be treated? As a freelancer, treat your clients as your friends and you’ll see them coming back. Make this happen by putting on these ‘be’s buddy. Good luck to you to become a great freelancer!