Customer care. Do you really care?

Though web design business sells inanimate products and services, there is always a real person behind each web site order and personal relations between customer and web designer guide web design process. That’s why in this article I want to talk about business philosophy rather than certain marketing strategies and rules.

First impression

No matter how you get orders – from your web site, from paper and Internet ads, by email, by phone, or by personal visit. Always remember that the first impression about you, your company, and your business will set “mood” for further development process.

· Respond ASAP if you get requests by email – better within the next few hours, if you need some time to analyze the request you can send confirmation that you have received the email request and will answer soon. Don’t use auto-responder! Just spend a couple of minutes to write personal message and it will be appreciated.

· Be polite, competent, and logical if you don’t know some details it’s better to specify all before giving exact answers and estimations.

3 don’ts

Treat with the customer, as you want to be treated. Don’t lie, don’t trick, don’t breach. Though it’s rather matter of ethical business running, believe me that boomerang always comes back, maybe with another customer and another project but it will.

If you have some difficulties with project development, deadline, cost, etc, it’s better to be frank and tell the customer about it. Together you will find solution of the problem.

One of our customers told me that before using our services he did business with another web design company that wasn’t able to finish his project in time; they were constantly delayed for main milestones because of developers’ shortage but didn’t inform the customer about it for fear of loosing the project. The customer planned to announce his new web site at the annual exhibition but if he knew that the web site wouldn’t be finished until the date he could change his plans. However he wasn’t informed and had many unpleasant moments because of this failure. Obviously, that he doesn’t even want to hear the name of that web design company ever again.

Let them speak for you

When you have already made your customers happy with their web sites it’s time to ask them be your witness and prove that it’s worth doing business with you. Ask your customers to write testimonials – just a couple of sentences what they think about your company and work you have done for them, so you can post this at your web site.

It is better to place the customer’s site URL, screenshot, and description near the testimonial as it will give more cogency and obviousness. Always ask your customer’s permission before placing his/her email address in the testimonial -and if you do it – do in clever way, using some anti-spam script for the email address encrypting, otherwise you are risking to be damn by your customers for junk mail bombing.

Make it warmer

Don’t be afraid to add more warmth to cold business relations – but only by mutually wish and interest of both parties and if it doesn’t hamper the progress of project development. You can discuss themes closely related to the web site design as well as something else like world situation, politics, weather, or even family news.

There are a few of our customers with whom I maintain friendly relations and discuss by email or chat many topics other than just their web sites design. Why? Because it helps better understand each other, learn something interesting about each other’s business and life, and I just respect and like these persons.

Loyal customers – who are they?

It’s a kind of art to “grow” your first-time-customer into loyal one who will return to you again and again with more projects.

I am not talking about marketing strategies and complex calculations for loyalty programs. There is something more valuable than just benefit that makes customers return to you. They must feel that will find all they need – high quality services at affordable and reasonable price along with nice discounts and bonuses, competent and respectful communication, and just feeling that everything is going perfect.

Do you think it’s very difficult to build such relationship? Not at all, but it requires patience, respectfulness, farsightedness, and some generosity. Don’t try to get “all and now” from your customer, but give him something he needs for free or with good discount and it will return to you.

For some of our loyal clients I offer free maintenance for their web sites – it doesn’t take much time for me but make them happy and in their turn they are always ready to help me with anything I need.

I would even compare your customers with fructiferous garden and the more you care about the more it yields.

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