Last week, we published an article on how to be a better client. But as the saying goes, “the customer is always right!” so you, as a service provider, also have to learn how to be awesome so your clients always come back!
Stick to your timeline
Creatives are the worst with sticking to deadlines! With the worst culprits being seamstresses/tailors who have the amazing ability of whipping up absurd excuses as to why your cloth is still at the bottom of the pile, untouched. You do not want to be diagnosed with the ‘lateness’ disease as a service provider in this country because then you become like everyone else. Be the difference and everyone will come flocking to you.
Yes we know creativity takes time. But if you want your business to be sustainable and not remain as a non-paying hobby forever, punctuality is your friend.
Firstly, only give reasonable timelines. It is okay to turn away a job if all efforts to push it down the calendar fails. A good client will even appreciate the fact that you are not trying to rush his job. (Actually, a good client will not bring you work under short notice. But this post is about designers so…)
Meeting your deadline gets you a lot of respect, especially if you want your trade to cross borders.
Once you begin to see your client as a partner and not just as a business opportunity, you realise that by investing in the work you are doing for them, your business begins to grow, alongside theirs. You realise that by doing all you can in your capability as a designer to help their business, you promote your business through theirs indirectly. Always go the extra mile.
Don’t Just be a Salesperson
I want to reiterate the previous point in case you did not get how important it is. Certain hairdressers can waste an extra 10 minutes fixing a loose strand because they know you are a walking advertisement. You are tired from sitting down for so long but no, you cannot leave before they get you spick and span! They know that by making you look your best, people will automatically want to know about them. Hence, more business!
Yes, you are working for money, but it’s okay to sometimes put ”a cherry on top” without expecting payment. One cherry.
[Good faith (Latin: bona fides) is fair and open dealing in human interactions. This is often thought to require sincere, honest intentions or belief, regardless of the outcome of an action.]
We all may have one time pushed aside work we have had because a bigger fish come through at the last minute. Again, yes I know it is a business you’re running. But if you have cultivated a friendship with your client, imagine his dismay when he finds out he was pushed aside for bigger work! Even though he came first. Loyalty, truthfulness and good faith will get you far in this world.
Open ears, open mind
A good service provider is a good listener and is able to garner what the client wants. A good designer is also able to detect when what the client wants will not necessarily generate the best results for the project. A good designer does not use his power as the designer to impose design ideas just because he has the technical know how.
A successful job is partly your expertise ( that is why the client came to you), your human instincts and the client’s design needs. Your expertise is derived by years of practising your book knowledge or the technicalities of the job. Your human instincts or touch is what will give the design the edge that the client won’t get from other designers.
Do not just listen to what the client wants and use only that information to work. Like we say at The Workspace,
great design isn’t always beautiful, it’s one that works!
I now pronounce you ready to be an awesome service provider!
Five ways to be a good service provider by Efua Dufu for the Thrive blog.