The 5 things you need to know when interacting with customers
Now you’re on Revolancer and you’ve made a job listing, so what’s next? That’s simple, now you have to try and get some customers!
However, what’s the key thing about getting customers? Interactions with them. Follow these 5 Revolancer Top Tips on how to interact with customers and whether you plan on interacting with them using our chat function on our site, on social media or via email, these 5 tips should help you beyond a doubt.
So, let’s start with the most basic and simple advice anybody could give you, if you only have enough time to read 1 part of this article then make sure it is this bit.
1. Be personal but professional.
When speaking to anybody it is important to let them know that you are listening to them. As humans, we are imperfect creatures. When speaking to anybody we all have a few fears: are we speaking too much? Are we being too boring? Are we making any sense? This is a problem that spreads to messaging, emails and social media interactions. How do we counteract this? Why do we need to counteract this?
Well, on why we need to counteract this, it’s simple. If, when somebody is speaking to you they feel nervous or worried then they will remember that feeling. Every time they think of your business they will associate those emotions with it.
But don’t let my fearmongering scare you! It’s an easy enough problem to fix, simply be personal but professional. It reassures the person you’re speaking to that you are listening.
What does personal but professional even mean though!? Well, that’s a good question. Think of it like this, personal discussions are ones where you’re not afraid to show emotion, you’re not afraid to bond and communicate. Think about how you speak to your friends and similarly interact with the customer. My degree was in law, and I have worked with real-life clients, and let me tell you, there is nobody on the planet who wants to chat with you less than the client of a legal adviser, but the one way to get anybody to speak to you is to build up that personal relationship. That constant reassurance that you are listening, paying attention and appreciating what they are saying.
So then, where does the professional come in? Well, this is down to your prerogative, simply think about your boss or manager. Keep in mind how they’d feel if they could see every communication that you did. Stay within the bounds of not being fired and 9 times out of 10 this will be fine.
Like I said, keep this tip in mind when encountering any of the other 4 pieces of advice, it will serve you well, not only on Revolancer but in any communication you have with customers.
2. Be informed but honest if you’re not.
Okay, so time for the second tip! Don’t worry, no other tip will reach anywhere near the length of the first tip, I promise.
When dealing with any customer, remember one key factor; the dynamic of your relationship. More often than not, that customer is coming to you as a representative of your field. More often than not this will be a field the customer knows little about, at least from your perspective. They may know what they want but they are unlikely to know on any level similar to yours.
Even then, they may very well not know what they want, and that is where you come in. Make sure that when you’re interacting with a customer that you can confidently answer any questions they have about your field. If they ask something that you are unable to answer, say that. You can always come back to them with the answer if it’s necessary. There are two reasons for admitting you don’t know:
Firstly, it’s only going to hurt you in the long run. We’ve all been in the situation where we are thinking of applying for a job and we can think of that one qualification we most definitely do not have but could all so easily say we do. But anybody who has put one of these qualifications knows it comes back to bite you. If you make a statement which you do not know to be true then it will come back to bite you. (Looking at you “experienced in Microsoft Excel”).
Secondly, think of all those substitute teachers we all had in secondary school, the ones who were called at the last minute, remember how few students respected them? Well, the reasoning is easy, we always knew when a teacher did or did not know what they were on about, well your customers will be the same! Stay informed or they will know when you’re just making it up on the spot.
3. Have examples of your work.
Have examples of your work at the ready. Often, a customer might come to you and ask what you’ve worked on before and whether you’ve worked on matters similar to what they want to be done. And yes, you can reassure them by telling them that you have worked on jobs similar to this before, but nothing will impress them more than showing them the actual examples of completed, client-approved, work.
Not only does showing your previous work show your expertise, but it shows your confidence and professionalism. People like confident people. Remember that kid in secondary school? The one that knew absolutely nothing at all, but all the teachers thought they were a star student simply because they sounded like they knew what they were on about? That’s the power of confidence!
Anybody will believe anything you tell them if you believe yourself.
4. Do not be forceful.
Okay, so we all know that freelancing is a business and at the end of the day that means that freelancers need to sell things to customers to make money.
However, do not try to sell to a customer after they’ve already come to speak to you. You’ll be trying too hard!
Anybody who’s ever flown by Ryanair knows what it feels like to be sold everything you didn’t know you needed. Everyone remembers that one seller who just did not understand that you did not want insurance and would try 50 times to sell you that insurance.
And what impression are we left by companies who try to oversell us these things? Well, not a good one, and that is why when you communicate with a potential customer you should keep in mind how forceful you are being; you should keep in mind how many things you are trying to sell them.
This does not mean don’t make any attempt to sell them anything, just don’t accidentally talk them out of purchasing what you’re selling. Try to avoid being verbose when selling your business. Less is more.
5. Have fun.
We’ve all had that call with customer support, where maybe your printer, laptop, pc or phone have broken. You’ve called them up and then who answers the phone? A zombie, somebody who wants to be anywhere but speaking to you. We all remember speaking to these people, but not in a good way.
In my opinion, make sure when communicating with a customer that you are enthusiastic, make sure that they know you do want to be there, after all, it’s their money which they are entrusting to you!
Now with most freelancers, you will contact the customer back after they have already contacted you but if you ever feel like you aren’t up for human interaction and you need to reply to a client, don’t feel bad about taking a break. Hold back, contact the customer when you want to, but don’t take days upon days. But replying when you are back in the groove will always be better than replying when you aren’t invested in your work.
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Freelance marketplace: Revolancer