Tips for Managing Client Relationships
If you’re a freelancer, having clients is definitely a good thing. However, I’ll be the first to admit that juggling a bunch of different clients—and, more importantly, my relationships with said clients—can be a bit complicated at times.
We’re all human. We have preferred ways of working and communicating. And, so far, I have yet to find two people that function the exact same way.
But, with that being said, I have found a few foolproof tactics and strategies that I use for managing my client relationships—regardless of who that client is. Curious? Here are my tips for having successful working relationships with your clients and customers!
TIPS FOR MANAGING CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS
1. COMMUNICATE FREQUENTLY
You know, most people don’t like to fork over hefty amounts of cash and just assume that their work is getting done. While they don’t want to handle the project themselves, most clients do anticipate receiving regular status updates.
One of the most effective tactics I’ve found when working with clients is to communicate frequently. They all want to be kept in the loop—even if its just a brief email letting them know that you haven’t started on their project yet, but you will soon.
It might feel unnecessary. But, I assure you, frequent updates are definitely appreciated. I have yet to find someone who was disappointed with too much communication.
2. LAY OUT EXPECTATIONS
As my mom always loves to remind me, people can’t read your mind. You need to make your expectations and desires clear—at least if you expect people to actually respect them.
Of course, your clients will make their expectations clear when they pass along an assignment or project. But, you need to make sure that your requirements are clear as well—including deadline, revisions, payment, and what information you need from them in order to complete the project.
The earlier you can spell out those things, the better.
3. SIGN A CONTRACT
Are you rolling your eyes at me yet? If I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t always follow my own advice in this regard. But, it’s something I still think is super important.
It might sound harsh, but your client’s good word really means nothing. Get it in writing. It’ll cover your butt in case of an unfortunate situation.
I know you never want to think about those bad things happening—but, they still do. So, you might as well cover your bases just in case. Better safe than sorry!
4. BE FLEXIBLE AND ACCOMMODATING
Another thing that I’ve noticed my clients really appreciate is my willingness to be flexible and accommodating to their needs and unexpected surprises. If they have a last-minute change, I’ll do my best to make it happen. If they get hit with a request for a guest post that they need turned around within a short amount of time, I’ll do what I can to help them out.
Being that person they know they can turn to in a pinch? Well, it never hurts. In fact, it’s really helped to solidify my relationship with many of my clients—making me their preferred contractor for most of (if not all) of their work!
5. BUT, STAND YOUR GROUND
On that same token, I never want to encourage you to be so flexible and accommodating that you’re running yourself into the ground. There’s a big difference between being helpful by completing the occasional favor, and giving away the house.
Keep a close eye on your time investment, the original project details, and what you’re getting paid for the project. You want to avoid “scope creep”—meaning you want to stay away from putting way more effort in than what you’re being compensated for. That’s a surefire way to go out of business in a hurry. Be accommodating, but not naive.
How do you manage your relationships with your clients and customers? I’m all ears!
Until next time!