A successful freelancer career, whether in professional translation, graphic design, website building or any other capacity, means building up a base of happy, loyal customers. To some people, customer service comes naturally. Others have to work to develop their customer service skills, just as some people work on their marketing skills or IT skills.
For freelancers looking for some customer service quick wins, we’ve put the ideas below together to get you started. They can all be implemented quickly and easily, so why not put them all into practice now and see what you can achieve through the delivery of enhanced customer service to your clients?
This is such a simple quick win, but one that can make a real difference. From the way that you answer the phone to the way you sign off emails, inject a bit of additional sunshine and positivity into everything you do. Your customers will appreciate the change and respond in kind – and having happier customers is one step closer to them becoming repeat clients.
When you work freelance, the only person who will actively seek to boost your income is you. As such, be sure to upsell to your customers whenever it is appropriate to do so.
If a client asks for a marketing translation, for example, why not explain to them the benefits and superb value for money of using your expert localization services as well? Upselling of this nature doesn’t have to be to ‘salesy’ – it’s about showing the customer that they have additional options at their disposal that can make their life easier.
Desktop publishing services are another great example of this. If you’re a whizz on the computer, it may well save the client a great deal of time and effort for you to produce the layout for their foreign-language form/presentation/brochure. However, the customer won’t know you’re capable of such things unless you mention it!
Produce standard email responses
Part of delivering great customer service is providing personalized interactions for each and every customer. However, there are certain parts of your work that you can standardize to a certain extent. The ‘new customer email’ is a great example of this. Take the time to sit down and create an email response to an imaginary potential new client. Include all the things that client might like to know about your services, from what you offer and at what price, to expected timescales and details of what you will need from the client.
You now have a template that you can personalize based on each individual enquiry that you receive. As such, potential customers can receive fast, detailed information from you, even during your busiest periods.
Another very basic customer service hack for freelancers is to care more. If a client has been on holiday, ask him/her how it was – and take a genuine interest in their answer. Engaging clients in conversation and getting to know them can help to build up a trusting relationship that will enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. You need to be genuine in your approach though – as insincerity can often backfire!
Buy your customers’ loyalty
This is another really simple concept. What can you give to your customers (other than fantastic, top quality translations, of course) that will make them want to use your services next time? You can be as creative as you like in this respect. Some freelance translators offer a discount for loyal customers on their next translation. Others set up referral schemes whereby a client is rewarded for referring a contact who goes on to become one of your customers. Or how about a free box of chocolates for all clients who order translations over a certain word limit?
How you go about buying customer loyalty is up to you – but it’s well worth putting a bit of thought into. This is an easy way to ensure that your customer service stands out from the crowd, which is a great method of winning repeat business.
Do you have any other freelancing customer service hacks that you would like to share with your fellow translators? If so, leave a comment below.