Customers are searching for the right business to solve their problems and cater to their needs. But, how often do you think about what it means to be a good customer or client. As a business owner, we have the expectation of providing stellar customer service in every interaction.
What about the other way around? Is there a level of service business owners expect from their clients and customers?
The answer is yes!
Once a customer chooses a business to work with or purchase from, a partnership is formed. It’s not just a transaction (in the cases where you are not just selecting a size a purchasing a t-shirt). The business may need additional information or have to remain in contact with the customer until the the final product is delivered.
I think we all know what we expect as amazing customer service from a business, but what does it mean to be the perfect client or customer?
You may be thinking “well that’s obvious if I paid and want to receive the final product.” Boy, would you be surprised at some of the horror stories I have heard. If you are working with a service-based business (for example a business like mine that offers a service of designing websites), communication and being responsive is imperative. Responsiveness means the project will be completed on time, within scope, and fulfill all your needs. There are some services that simply cannot be created without the input of the customer, and businesses have processes in place to collect the necessary information. I promise everything they request has a purpose and they have the same goals you do, to produce amazing work and have a satisfied customer.
Here are a few tips to stay as responsive as possible:
- Respond to emails in a timely manner
- Ask questions if you don’t understand a request. Every question is valid and the business is more than happy to answer (and if they are not, run!)
- It’s okay to check in every now and then. I understand trying to give the business some space to do their thing, but it shows you are invested and a partner without being too pushy.
- Read everything they send you! The more you read the better and more efficiently you can respond. This may also eliminate a few emails or phone calls 😉
Great Feedback is Key
Have you ever given feedback to your designer and said “can you make it pop more”?” Or, “make it look a little bit cooler.” These are prime examples of less than great feedback. It doesn’t give a clear idea of the direction the designer needs to go in to get to final design. Be as clear and concise as possible. By being more specific with your feedback, you give your designer a clear visual of what your expectations or idea may be so they can design in that direction. Versus aimlessly designing hoping they are on the right track.
Here are some examples of great feedback:
- “Those colors are a bit too bright. Can we try something more subtle?”
- “I like [insert something really specific] and think it’s right on track but I don’t think [insert another specific element] fits in, can we try going in the direction of the element that’s on brand?”
Now is probably a good time to discuss the ever so common gaining feedback from friends, colleagues, or family members before presenting to your designer. It happens. As a client, sometimes you do not know where to begin, so you turn to the people you trust. But, ultimately the decision is up to you. Gather all the feedback that you can get, then filter through the noise. Really think about the feedback that aligns with your vision, then (and only then) present that to your designer.
Trust me, we can tell when the feedback is coming from elsewhere and not just you 🙂
I know I made this section really specific to designers, but this holds true whenever you are leaving a review or working with any business that provides custom work or services.
Respect the Business and Those You Are Working With
The same level of respect you would expect to receive is the same level of respect you should give to every person related to the business you are working with. You hired them for a reason. They offer something that no other business would have been able to fulfill in the way that you need. You valued their knowledge and expertise enough to hire them, that value should not waiver after hiring them (caveat: unless something negative happens with the relationship or work they produce…still be respectful).
Ways to maintain respect include:
- Abiding to any terms outlined in a contract or agreement
- Paying on time
- Showing up on time for meetings and calls
- Respecting business hours (example: no calls or texts at 4AM)
- Communicating in a respectful manner or tone
I promise if you follow these tips, you will be off to a great partnership with any business you decide to work with. Added bonus, great clients will be recommended to that business network if they need additional work. So you can trust that you will receive the same or greater level of service without having to look very far.