I have a “confession” to make, and I want it to be read by both my clients as well as by the skilled web designer who is struggling to get customers coming back for more business.
The truth is that offering low pricing and providing quality work is not the reason why most web designers get repeat business. In fact, the web designers I know who are at the top are charging above average pricing, and still get multiple clients and recurring business.
So, what is the secret? How one can handle their customer service like a pro, and get clients to come back more often?
Here is my personal approach – what I’ve done, and what I am currently doing – that might work for others. I am not saying that I am right, and this is the ultimate client-approaching model.
I just share what I believe in, plain and simple.
Now, don’t forget I also have a small team I work with, so not all tips might be applicable to the solo web designer who is alone in his attempt to keep clients.
1. I respond to emails within 1 working day
There are some cases when my clients require a prompt response the same day. When I get emergency issues, I ensure my clients get heard, and I stand up for them, ready to help.
When you provide clients with the ultimate support and guidance, meaning fast reply and quick-fix, then you win their hearts and wallets, legally and morally.
Every professional business should have a policy to respond to customers’ emails within 24 hours, the same business day. They can hire a full or part time support guy who does just that, and save a lot of money and frustration down the road.
Sadly, this is a smart investment that most web designers and companies are not willing to make; a safe risk that astute marketers are gladly assuming.
Do you want to be smart or sorry?
2. I do not hide behind the computer or under the desk
In fact, I am easily accessible not only through email, but also via phone/Skype and in-person meetings – something that not all web designers have the guts for!
I charge RM100 (USD $33) per hour, so my customers get to benefit from years of web design/sales/marketing experience and no-strings-attached friendly support!
Look beyond your competitors, do what they don’t want to or cannot. That’s how you win more and better customers, and keep them long-term.
3. I treat all my clients with respect and imagine their businesses as my own
When I do so, their interest is mine. Their goal is mine. Their objective is mine. This is really the fundamental reason why I built myself a loyal customer base over time. This is where everything else starts from and expands.
No respect means no trust, no referrals, no sales, and no business!
If businesses all over the globe would embrace this practice, the entire economy would probably flourish faster than ever and customers would look up for more services that respect them and serve them on a superior level, instead of hunting for discounts and prizes.
This leads us to the next reason…
4. There are NO sales gimmick and hidden charges in my business
Did you ever buy something just to find later on you’ve gotten scammed either by a fake “deadline” script or a so-called “promotion”? Who didn’t, right?
There’s a concept I truly believe in: if you lie once, you’ll probably do it more often. If your business is based on gimmicks and tricks, what are the chances you’ll attract loyal clients and repeat businesses?
There’s a universal law or principle that states an interesting fact you probably have already experienced in your own life: we attract the kind of people we are. In other words, if you like to scam, you’ll probably attract scammers and/or people who will tell others about their negative experience.
Why are scams and gimmicks so popular? Because humans are lazy by nature, or maybe the society and cultural context condition our brain to act differently than we were supposed to.
I think we both agree here when I say that most people prefer instant gratification over product delays (that’s why the “instant download” concept is so popular) and would love a discount in 9 out of 10 cases. Some people were trained to believe that everything online is free, and they are used to looking for free alternatives to every paid or premium product out there.
It won’t be easy to convert this kind of customers into raving fans, that’s for sure! You’d be better off attracting those who are looking for quality service instead of “everybody” looking for the next cheap design or discount deal.
5. Up-front value
There’s a saying: give before you receive, and you’ll be happier. I am sure you’ve experienced this not only in business, but in life too!
Before customers hire me, I make a habit to advise them on what needs to be done or answer any questions they might have.
Sometimes I take 10 minutes to answer a single question, and share some helpful insights.
Give everybody who needs your help real VALUE first – whether they work with you, or not. They’ll remember your kind gesture and professional approach. Money will follow, sometimes in greater quantities!
This is a different way of doing business, as most web designers don’t take the time to respond to emails, or handle their customer support like a pro. They just do what they know best, and completely forget about the other things, which are as important as the design itself, if not even more important!
6. Always over deliver (surprise them!)
This is an often overlooked strategy that could pull in more orders, clients and referrals all together.
For example, when you get done with a site for a client, reward them with a special PDF report (audio MP3 file, WEBINAR, or whatever) that will help the owner to get traffic to their site, generate more customers, or run the business more efficiently.
Anything that works hand in hand with your web design service can be offered as a special “thank you for your business” GIFT item – don’t you think?
Now that will really impress your clients, and generate more business for you! They’ll think: “If I buy this other service from him, I wonder what else he has to offer!”
TIP: brainstorm for the ideal gift. Make that something special. Do your homework. What is the kind of product or the type of information that will best resonate with your client? Offer that, with no strings attached! SURPRISE!
7. I get results (i.e. 1st page rankings, traffic increase, etc…)
With web design, I do not only provide a great-looking website, but offer a special bonus where I work with the site owner to bring traffic to his/her website, and rank his/her page on Google for example.
If I get results, clients trust me, and are happy to come back for more or additional services!
So it is in my interest to ensure I provide real results that my clients are craving for. There’s no other option.
8. I have a secret “weapon”
With the help of a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, I never forget/miss an appointment or follow-up with customers weeks, months and years later.
I could talk all day long about how this solution saved my business and made my company thrive, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.
Sadly, most business owners put cash first, and people second.
What you need to understand though is a simple concept: if you put your customer at the center of your business, and do (a bit) more than the average competitor to make his/her life better, easier, more enjoyable, then you have what it takes to out-rank yourself on a daily basis and win long-term customers and raving fans.