10 Tips for Providing Great Customer Service to Your Clients

Jan 28 2011 by Raphael Caixeta | 29 Comments

10 Tips for Providing Great Customer Service to Your Clients

The way your customers feel towards you is important. The more you show you care about them, the more they’ll likely want to continue working with you. With that in mind, providing good customer service to your clients should naturally be a major priority in your day-to-day schedule. This article lists tips and suggestions for ensuring that you’re treating your clients well.

1. Respond to Clients as Soon as Possible

Speed is everything, especially when a client is requesting something that’s time-sensitive. Try to reply to your clients as soon as you can. Procrastinating on a response to a client’s email, phone call or voicemail doesn’t help anyone; you’re going to have to reply eventually, so why not do it as soon as possible? Avoid that "mark as unread" button in your email client.

Even if you can’t work on the task they’re requesting you to accomplish right away, at least let them know you got their request and then supply them with a timeline of when you’re able to get the task completed. If you can’t find the time to perform the task, it will be considerate of you to let them know as soon as possible so that they can make alternative arrangements.

2. Keep Clients Updated

Feeling like you’re lost and that you don’t know what’s going on is one of the worst situations you can be in when you hire someone. Even if you don’t have anything major to report, you can still let your employer know what you’re working on and how things are progressing. Are you on track on milestones? Did you find something that might become an issue later on? Status updates give clients reinforcements that they’re involved in the project.

If you’re experiencing trouble with something, let them know right away. It shows that you’re keeping them in the loop and that you have things under control. If it’s something major, communicating your concern right away allows clients to plan for possible delays in the project’s completion.

3. Go the Extra Mile

If a client asks for you to do something that truly won’t cost you a lot in time and income, you have the option of going the extra mile and doing it for them. Not only will this result in an indebted and happy client, it can also go a long way in terms of keeping yourself in their radar for future projects.

4. Fix Your Mistakes

If you did something that didn’t end up working, you should repair it. A quick way to lose a client forever is not admitting that you are at fault and not fixing your own mistakes. You should always strive for a high-quality output; it shows that you have a high level of standards in your craftsmanship.

Not taking responsibility of your own blunders is a sure-fire way of gaining a bad business reputation. Transparency is important in any business; service work is no different.

5. Listen to Your Clients

It’s important to listen to what your clients are communicating to you. Like, really listen. Understand what they are saying and ask for clarifications on things that might be ambiguous. Clients might be unfamiliar with certain terminologies in our profession, and what you think they mean might be different to what they actually mean. For example, they might be saying "pop-up window," which we know to be annoying HTML browser windows opened using JavaScript, but what they really want is a modal window (often called a Lightbox window).

Listen to what their needs are, and then offer your suggestion on the best way to go about fulfilling their needs.

6. Keep Your Promises

If you say you’re going to do something, make sure you do it. It’s part of being a professional. If you need more time on something, you should let them know as soon as possible, not after you’ve already missed the deadline. Honoring your commitments is very important.

7. Don’t Confuse Clients with Jargon

Try to explain whatever the problem is as best as you can without making the client feel stupid. When proposing a solution, make sure you state it in terms they understand. You could use analogies that are relevant to them. Read more about how to talk to clients effectively as well as how to get your ideas across to clients.

8. Be Patient

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve exhausted my patience on my clients. But I’ve never actually showed them my agitation. If you feel like the client is overstepping their boundaries, let them know in a cordial and professional manner. You just don’t want to start yelling and cursing at the people you make a living off of. Maintain professionalism at all times.

9. Know Everything You Need to Know

You are a paid expert. Someone is giving you their hard-earned money to do something they believe you have a high level of mastery of. You need to keep yourself up-to-date with the profession and always be ready to answer questions your client needs to know. If you exhibit signs that you don’t know your craft inside out, you risk the chance of ruining your professional reputation.

10. Put Yourself in Their Shoes

If you were in their shoes and were being treated the way you’re treating them, would you enjoy that experience? If so, you’re doing a good job. If not, you probably want to get a little better. It’s important to constantly evaluate the way you communicate with others. Our profession is heavily reliant on communication skills.

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About the Author

Raphael Caixeta is a PHP and iOS developer and co-founder of Grip’d. He likes to blog about web and iOS development at raphaelcaixeta.com. If you’d like to connect with him, you can follow him on Twitter @raphaelcaixeta and add him on Facebook (raphaelcaixeta).

29 Comments

Bjarte Edvardsen

January 28th, 2011

Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

Another good idea is to figure out early in the process how the client prefer to communicate. From my experiences I’ve gathered that there are some clients you won’t get as much/specific information from if you only stick to email for the entire process of the project. My preferred way is to plan a meeting or a skype conversation early on and then use email, or phone calls if necessary, through the rest of the project.

Vivek Parmar

January 28th, 2011

Great article mentioning all the tips which offer you to get more clients. One more thing i like to add, if you are loosing deadlines or have any urgent work (i.e. personal work) do let him know so that i would add a credit to your work, that he is so honest and working for you only

Nicolo'

January 28th, 2011

Raphael,
they seems pretty simple advices but it’s really easy to forget them, so thanks for sharing.
With Creonomy we are really trying to build the best product for designers to provide an excellent customer service (and actually save time to both the customer and the designer)

We are about to launch and we would love offer you a free account and maybe some more for Six Revision’s readers. What do you think?

Nik

Powelly

January 28th, 2011

Great article Raph, all of your articles as of late have been fantastic!

Nice and easy to follow tips in a day and age where common sense isn’t so common…

Jonathan Goldford

January 28th, 2011

Great article. When companies start to get busy customer service seems to be the first thing to go.

Thanks for the reminder to always try to take the extra step to treat your clients well.

Jonathan Goldford

January 28th, 2011

Great article. I wish more companies focused on delivering great customer service.

Masenchipz

January 28th, 2011

nice tips, but how about arrogant client?

Muax

January 28th, 2011

Great very helpful. Thank you

Strixy

January 28th, 2011

Great article. These points hold true when dealing with “internal clients” aka “coworkers” as well.

steff

January 28th, 2011

thanks Raphael, this is a great read!

Daquan Wright

January 28th, 2011

Great points, I agree with all of them. :)

Marios

January 28th, 2011

Great article Raphael, Yes dealing with customers is not easy, however knowing how to deal with customers is the key. Going the extra mile and fixing my mistakes are probably the 2 big ones for me, going extra mile the customer feels special and appreciated, and we all make mistakes so just fix it and move on, good stuff man

josue

January 29th, 2011

This is very interesting :)

Burhanuddin Tezabwala

January 29th, 2011

Its true,
the photo indeed speaks everything.Rather than giving so many options to client and indirectly confusing them, listen to their description ,understand and then evaluate properly providing them the desired result.

paul

January 29th, 2011

You nailed it Raphael, great list! I will print it out and frame it

Maraz Ali

January 29th, 2011

great list! thanks a lot 6revisions..

peter

January 29th, 2011

we being in online retail industry know and acknowledge the importance of client support for business. The points made out by you to provide quality service to a client are very good and easy to understand. thanks for posting

peter

January 29th, 2011

Masenchipz, arrogant clients should always be handled with a calm tone of voice or chat. always maintain a professional behavious regardless of what bad words client is using.

Hannah Hurst

January 29th, 2011

This is a great article with every point covered. I definitely agree with going that extra mile as there is so much competition out there today that you need to show them that you can create what they want with an added bonus that will let you stand out from the crowd.

It is also crucial to keep your clients updated as they generally don’t know much about the processes involved and you need to re-assure them at each stage. Also when it comes to fixing errors you have made, this is something you shouldn’t be ashamed of, you just need to own up and show them that you are not computers.

Just as crucial is keeping the promises you have made, nobody likes to disappoint their clients but if you cant complete the task when they want it done you should be honest. Making promises you cant keep will only anger the client and form a bad relationship.

Thanks for sharing.

Sara Domini

January 29th, 2011

Your article unquestionally instructs on some infallible business wisdom. Great share! May God inspire you to write on more such topics!

Yatin Mulay

January 29th, 2011

Nice summary Raphael.

One of the most helpful customer service feature is providing immediate,real time response.

This can be achieved via installing open source “live chat” option on your site ( like Livezilla )

Lucian

January 30th, 2011

I think that fast response and a nice talk is the key. Despite I always talk nice I am still facing problems with some clients that can’t accept the arguments.

Alex

January 30th, 2011

Totally agree, most of all with latest statement “put yourself on their shoes”, needless to say with their knowledge limited or expanded point of view. However, I miss a start point, let’s say a zero statement saying “Keep as concise & simple as possible in your communication”, this article title gives us a good example of what’s a redundant confusing communication: “10 Tips for Providing Great Customer Service to Your Clients”, I mean customer service can’t be for your mom!

ryan

February 1st, 2011

useful in having good customer relationship and retention.

Joel Bouckaert

February 1st, 2011

Unfortunately, much of what is described in this post is ‘lost’ with many service providers. This is a good reminder of where we stand in the business equation and the etiquette that is required to maintain strong client relationships.

Kevin

February 1st, 2011

Great Read!

The only thing I would add is to remember the age old saying ‘Under Promise and Over Deliver’. In my experience clients are always overly happy to know that you did X, X, and X as well as saved them $xxx on the budget.

Ash Menon

February 6th, 2011

I’d also like to point out in number #3, be alert for clients who keep asking more and more out of you. There comes a time where you have to define it as taking advantage, and begin charging them. Usually it’ll be your contact person who does this, to ease his/her job.

Sasha Endoh

February 9th, 2011

Thanks for this great article! Bad customer service has always been a pet peeve of mine, so when I started my own business I wanted to make sure that my clients are never frustrated with the service they get.

Really it’s all about “Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

Personally I’m a big fan of giving clients options. So, for example, if their budget doesn’t fit the scope of their project, give them some options that do. In the end, you’ll probably get the project and may have a return client to boot.

Neo

September 12th, 2011

It’s a very nice sharing. I am Sales Director at Magestore, responsible for developing a support system. It really helps me much. Added you in Facebook and hope to have a chance talking with you.
Thanks,
Neo.

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