This post is for website designers and business owners, but can be geared to business people in general. It’s about the importance of treating customers right.
A potential client will come to you for information on designing a website, doing some artwork, or technical work.
Treat each and every person with complete respect. It will generally be reciprocated and will pay out in the future.
I try to generally follow these guidelines when first speaking with a potential client:
- Hear them out as to what service they seem to want from you.
- While they are speaking, quickly assess their level of web-based expertise. This will allow you to know at what level to speak with them. The worst thing you can do is speak over someone’s head. If they don’t understand what you are saying, you likely won’t get the job.
- Ask them about their business – and be interested. If you don’t care about their business, they will sense that and will move on.
- During your conversation, ask any questions about their general goals of what they are looking for – is it just a website? Do they need ongoing SEO? How about brochures? In today’s web-based climate, often people could use the extra services you may offer.
- Once you’ve determined what they need, you have the ability to either give a ballpark quote, or have set the table for asking them more details in an email, or face-to-face conversation before quoting on the project.
OK, you got the project, great! Now, you must be sure to communicate with the client throughout the entire process. Even if you haven’t made much progress for whatever reason, the client will be more accommodating if you let him/her know where you are at. (but be careful not to get them too involved, which may hurt productivity).
BE SOMEWHAT FLEXIBLE IN YOUR SCOPE OF WORK. Even the most organized projects change scope. By nickel and diming the client for more money every time you have to do something different, you will create resentment. Build this flexibility in your quotes. Assess the client as to who may require more “flexibility”. On the other side of the coin, don’t get taken advantage of. Set the limits of how far you are willing to “bend”.
Once the project is done, ask for feedback, both good and bad – you will learn what you did well and where to improve. Keep on good terms with the client. If you haven’t found out already, the majority of your clients will refer you to someone else.