Finding clients, where competition is fierce, is not easy. That’s why keeping the clients that you have is the best option. The problem with graphic designers is that they often only focus on the artwork that they’re delivering. Thinking that as long as the work provided is good enough, that customers will stay.
But the reality is that clients are people with feelings. And although you’re an expert at graphic design, you lack in other areas that keep them happy.
It’s important to know what your clients’ needs and wants are. But, figuring this out is hard.
I’ll show you these proven, yet often overlooked, strategies that will help you thrill your current customers.
1. PROVIDE SIGNIFICANT VALUE
Providing value to your client simply means that you help them achieve their goals with your skills. So, as a graphic designer; the value that you provide is not the actual design, but what the design will give to them.
For your client; value means that your artwork lets them establish a professional reputation, better branding, better communication, and higher conversion rates.
This is paramount as it means that you earn money, can ask for referrals, and build your own reputation.
Let’s look at three ways that you can do this:
Understand your clients’ business by knowing what makes them money.
By doing this you’re able to create designs that will benefit them as it identifies with their audience. And the work that you give them will resonate with both parties (your client and theirs).
Ultimately, knowing what their audience wants increases their sales.
Use your expertise to identify opportunities or help them overcome challenges.
Besides your graphic design skills; you have other skills too.
This could be project management tools or invoicing software that you share with them. I would even go as far as to surprise them by referring new clients to them. You’ll show them that you care about their business and this strengthens your relationship.
Learn from your client and appreciate their point of view
You are an expert in graphic design. But, understanding that their brand is an extension of them, means that you create artwork that they’ll feel comfortable with.
On the other hand; incorporating aspects that you learned from them in your business, is a good start. This makes them feel appreciated and that you’re building a relationship more than just delivering a service.
And the key to thrilling clients is to make them feel appreciated.
2. COMMUNICATE REGULARLY
Approximately 281 billion emails were sent and received daily in 2018 and expected to increase yearly. This alone makes communicating effectively vital.
When clients are unable to get hold of you, it breaks down communication. This causes delays and frustration. Because it’s important for clients to feel like they’re being heard and their business matters; keep communication channels open.
Let’s say; your website is slow to load. Your customer becomes frustrated and clicks off. This means you’ve lost a potential sale.
By sending a message apologizing for the slow speed of your website and even offering them a gift (perhaps a 15-minute consultation) as a part of the apology; you’ll gain trust and sales.
There are three ways to achieve this, strategically:
Before, during, and after projects
Ask questions to clarify that you understand what the client wants to achieve before you begin the work.
Also, send work-in-progress samples to make sure that you are on track with what they are looking for.
Once you’ve completed the project; ask for feedback. This lets you determine if they’re satisfied with your work.
Monthly/quarterly throughout the year.
This is especially important for long-term projects. Setting up monthly meetings to make sure that expectations are still being met, helps you deliver value consistently.
How to do this. There are three main methods:
A. Check-in to see if they have any needs
By asking your client if there is anything else they need during and after the project, you keep communication flowing. It often serves as a reminder to them if they need to tell you something or that you’re still available to do more.
B. Send them helpful tips or online resources
The best way to thrill your clients is by showing that you want to see their business grow. Letting them know about tools and resources that would make their life easier doesn’t go unnoticed.
C. Simple handwritten notes are a powerful tool
The power of a handwritten, personalized thank you note is beyond words. Customers can see a generic email and it does not stir emotion within them. And since happiness is an emotion, using generic emails or cards does nothing for you.
Reply to calls and emails promptly (the sooner the better)
Replying to any communication is important. Even if it’s only to let them know that you cannot provide them with their request immediately. Also, let them know in your response when you’ll be able to get back to them.
Make it a standard to reply within 24 hours or less. The speed of your response determines if clients stick with you, or go with another service provider.
“If you don’t appreciate your customers, someone else will.” ― Jason Langella
3. UNDER-PROMISE and OVER-DELIVER
Under-promising and over-delivering is a sure-fire way to keep your clients happy.
It’s important that you don’t promise too much, and to be realistic.
Work hard to deliver more than you had agreed on.
Clients want you to give the best of what they asked you. But delivering more than what they expected, excites them.
It’s a bonus if you can deliver before the deadline and under budget.
Another way to thrill the socks off your client is to deliver before the deadline and under the budget that they expected. This sets you apart from your competitors as clients will realize that you value them and not just their money.
Be honest, not perfect—Why and how this is important
Setting yourself up for failure by agreeing to something that you can’t deliver, not only ruins your reputation but annoys your client.
When you’re vulnerable, your customers feel that they can do the same. This is important in establishing honesty from the get-go.
Here’s how to make your clients happy by bypassing perfection:
Be transparent with your strengths and weaknesses.
While it’s important to show yourself as the expert, it’s equally important to let your customers know what you can’t do. Frustrating your customer by wasting their resources is the last thing you want to do.
Be eager and willing to find answers to their questions that you don’t know the answer to.
Clients love working with people who go the extra mile. By do this, you show that you’re an asset to their business.
Strive for excellence, not perfection
Excellence and perfection are 2 different things. While perfection is what you think design should look like, excellence embraces the aspects of what works for your customer. And that isnotalways perfect.
Exciting clients is the #1 aspect of keeping them. By providing value through improving their branding and showing them as the professional; you help them increase their conversion rates.
Keeping clients is not easy. So, using these 3 strategies will take all the guesswork out of making them happy.