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As a freelancer, your responsibilities don't just end with the end of a project or the handover of deliverables. Establishing long-term relationships with clients is crucial to your business!

In this article, we share insights on delivering top-notch customer service in your field, along with the essential traits you should cultivate to succeed in this endeavor.

 

Becoming your own Customer Success Manager

Empathy, responsiveness, adaptability, and assertiveness.

A Customer Success Manager embodies certain characteristics to support their client throughout a project, and it's time you learn these four qualities in addition to your own expertise!

Empathy tops the list because effective customer service starts with listening and understanding your client's perspective. How can you address their issues if you don't put yourself in their shoes?

Next, adaptability and responsiveness go hand in hand. You'll need to adapt swiftly and flexibly to meet client demands and expectations. Quick responses meet client needs and set you apart from the competition.

Still, you're the expert your client relies on, which means guiding them decisively. Managing a client involves assertiveness, saying no when necessary, and suggesting alternative solutions. This demonstrates your expertise and prevents you from being overwhelmed by excessive demands.

 

Customer service begins before the project even starts

Whether you sought out the client or they came to you, remember that first impressions count and are hard to change. Thus, be as professional as possible from your first interaction. After making a good first impression, you likely conducted a "needs assessment," gathering information about the client's requirements, obstacles, and budget. This step is where empathy is crucial: understanding your client's mindset and concerns allows you to effectively tailor your service to their needs.

At the end of this assessment, make sure the client knows you're available should they remember any project details they initially omitted that could refine your service. Moreover, remember that a client's contact doesn't automatically seal the project. Maintain professionalism from start to finish.

 

Having a steady and solid client base reduces the need for prospecting

A common statistic suggests freelancers should spend 15 to 20% of their weekly work time on prospecting. For a 35-hour workweek, that's 7 hours that could be allocated to other projects. Naturally, you can't escape prospecting early in your career, whether it be through email, phone, or networking, as new clients won't magically find you.

One way to minimize this necessity is by maintaining a regular client base. Make yourself indispensable so that when clients need a service like yours, you're at the top of their list. We also advise establishing yourself as an expert by regularly interacting with clients through various channels. Strive for excellence in every project, be proactive, remain professional, and, more importantly, engage and interact with the client at every project milestone.

 

Satisfied clients tend to be your best source of referrals

Recall earlier when we mentioned that new clients don't appear from thin air? Well, that isn't entirely true...

Have you heard of the "Pirate Funnel" or AAARRR Funnel by Dave McClure? It outlines the customer journey and their touchpoints with your services. You can learn more about this by clicking this link. This funnel includes 6 stages: Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, and Referrals. The final stage, "Referrals," interests us here.

If the previous stages of your client's journey were successful, there's no reason they wouldn't promote your services within their professional or personal networks. Achieving this stage requires flawless customer service from start to finish of each project, which is key to acquiring new clients with minimal effort, essentially the Holy Grail for any freelancer who dislikes prospecting and struggles to build a regular client base.