Most freelancers build their business on repeat customers. These are the loyal people who come to you time and time again to work on their projects. While no work as a freelancer is ‘guaranteed,’ you can begin to build your work schedule around your repeat customers and predict your monthly income. But how do you get repeat customers? And how do you keep them happy? In this post, we share nine brilliantly simple tips that will keep your customers coming back time and time again.
1] Deliver exceptional work.
There’s no better way to attract repeat customers than delivering exceptional work time and time again. Notice here that we say ‘exceptional.’ Repeat customers aren’t interested in mediocrity. If you want to impress and encourage your customers to work with you again, your work should be of extremely high quality and to their exact requirements.
2] Communicate efficiently.
Communication is key to the development of any long-term relationship or collaboration. You need to be open and available when your clients are trying to get hold of you. While nobody can be available 24/7, it’s a good idea to share your ‘office hours,’ as well as your preferred method of communication. For your clients to come back to you, they will want to know how and when they can get hold of you to discuss their project.
3] Go ‘above and beyond.’
Going ‘above and beyond’ is a mindset. When you undertake work for a client, you should be willing to go the extra mile to make them happy. Whether it’s making a small amendment to a previously completed project for free or rearranging your diary to accommodate a last-minute request, your clients will appreciate and remember that you were willing to go above and beyond to help them. This bodes well for future collaborations, and they’re likely to turn to you again.
4] Deliver ahead of schedule.
As a minimum requirement, you should always deliver your projects on time. But if you want to really impress your clients, deliver ahead of schedule. There’s actually a small trick to delivering ahead of schedule that many freelancers employ. For instance, if you know your turnaround time is currently three days for a project, offer a five-day delivery time. That way, when you deliver within three days, your client will be thrilled. Also, if you need an extra couple of days for whatever reason, you have them without putting your clients out.
5] Don’t charge for small extras.
While we’re all out to make money, you don’t need to charge for every second of your time. If you’ve recently helped a client with a particular task, but they come back to you a while later with some super small changes that will take you a few minutes, offer to do them for free, even if they offer to pay. Being kind and showing a willingness to do small things free of charge will motivate your client to work with you again in the future.
6] Offer discounts for bulk orders.
Repeat customers are attracted to discounts for bulk or long-term partnerships. If you’re hoping to work with clients on long-term projects, work out the discounted rate that you can offer for your services. If you’re a writer, this might be based upon how many words your client orders or perhaps on how many articles you produce within a time frame. If you’re clear about discounts for repeat customers on your profile, you will find people contacting you to negotiate a long-term collaboration.
7] Offer friendly feedback.
Feedback is a two-way street. While it’s important to receive feedback as a freelancer in order to grow and improve, it’s also important to present it to your clients. If you’re hoping to work with a client on a future order, you could message them something like this:
“Thank you so much for your order. It was a pleasure working with you – I love how committed you are to your brand and the growth of your business. I’d be delighted to work with you again in the future.”
People love to be complimented, and by reaching out and giving them this feedback, you have also mentioned that you’re available for hire on future collaborations.
8] Provide regular updates.
Even if you’re working within the agreed timeframe on a project, it’s important to keep your client up to date, particularly if it’s a long-term project or is multi-layered. Check in every few days and provide a brief update on how things are going, and you could even send them samples of the ongoing project if relevant. Your client will appreciate being updated, and this will further show them that you’re a freelancer worth considering for a future project.
9] Offer revisions as part of your package.
While we all strive to get our work right the first time around, it’s not possible every single time. Sometimes we misunderstand the brief slightly, or our client envisaged the project in a slightly different way. Providing you’re on the right lines; this is nothing to be worried about, particularly if you offer revisions as part of your package. This is essentially a guarantee to clients that you will work on their piece until you get it right, which is a reassuring component of any package.
Working with repeat customers is fundamental to building a successful career as a freelancer. By maintaining exceptional standards, communicating efficiently, and going above and beyond to make your clients happy, you will significantly increase your chances of attracting repeat customers. But whatever you do, don’t take them for granted. You should see your repeat customers as the heart of your freelancing work and go the extra mile to ensure you’re meeting their requirements.