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    Customer Experience Lessons for Freelancers: To Grow Your Client Base, Add Your Personal Touch

    For small businesses and freelancers alike, it’s important to recognize that your business is as strong as the relationships you build with your customers.

    We can learn a lot about creating those relationships from the customer experience industry. In particular, we can learn how to create customer-centric messages and how to weave the customer relationship into marketing strategies and plans. This starts with something as simple as reaching out directly to customers with a personal note.

    As you grow, you may implement more complex systems to reach out to customers with consistent, branded messages. Make sure that, no matter what technologies you use, the goal remains the same. To create lasting, personal connection with customers and clients.

    Shorten the Distance Between You and Your Customer

    The shorter the distance (or perceived distance) between you and your customer, the stronger the relationship. Freelancers and small business owners can learn from the CEO of men’s apparel brand Masorini and how he uses email to connect with customers in a crowded market.

    After every purchase, Masorini sends a personal thank you note from the CEO directly to the customer. This small online store is demonstrating that they recognize the value of every customer and every customer’s experience.

    Make A Personal Commitment

    By doing this, the CEO shows his personal commitment to his customers. He inserts himself into the customer journey in a unique and powerful way.

    This mindset applies in the freelancer-client relationship, too. Consider these questions:

      • Are you reaching out to your clients with clear messages?
      • Are you taking a moment to say thank you, or to connect in a person-to-person way, beyond outlining deliverables?

    Express Gratitude

    With the thank you note, the Masorini CEO accomplishes three goals: create a relationship, build loyalty, and increase sales. All of this applies to the freelancer-client relationship.

    As part of expressing gratitude for your client and the work you are creating, you also want to connect with and listen to the client so that you can better structure your workflow and manage your relationship in a way that benefits both you and the client.

    Personalizing your outreach helps to accomplish those goals in a positive context that builds, rather than challenges the relationship.

    Acknowledge Challenges and Limitations

    When you acknowledge challenges and limitations on the client’s side and your own, you reinforce trust and loyalty. Both trust and loyalty are key to creating a better experience for your client and a strong relationship that is profitable for you.

    Here we learn another lesson from the small business, boutique retail space. Online retailer Hello Spud did something truly impressive by using email and handwritten correspondence. They made me a loyal customer by making me wait!

    Apply Lessons and Customize to Your Needs

    In many ways, the retail space can be a much easier space in which to create loyalty and customer retention. Of course, there are many situations that are specific to freelance projects. And there is no one size fits all solution.

    However, the best practices we see in place as customers are a great place to start. Create experiences for your clients and build relationships that make your clients excited to work with you and eager to spread the word about the unique value that you provide.

    Culture and Access to Information

    By and large, people perceive culture as an HR discipline. The most common perception is that culture covers the soft side of performance. Culture is about how you do things, not so much about what you do. This approach to culture could not be more wrong. In fact, organizational culture is about so much more than a few words in a performance review sheet.  It is about leaders expressing values, and the action guidance their cultural behaviors provide.

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    Get Customer Experience Basics Right and You Don’t Need to Invest in Wow Moments

    Wow Moments are a Customer Experience hot topic. Customer experience professionals ideate how to build, prioritize, finance, and measure these Wow Moments. Chip and Dan Heath wrote a whole book on the topic: The Power of Moments. No Wow Moment saves you from negative word of mouth if your brand fails to get the customer experience basics right or to deliver the expected brand experience consistently.

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    How a Personal Interaction builds Customer Loyalty

    A customer-centric methodology is key to the successful outcome of my interaction with Hello Spud. It is the reason this story appears here, and not among the CX Big Fails! The company did not send an automated response. It did not deliver a message stating “sorry we couldn’t help you, would you like something else.” Instead, the company co-founder reached out to me personally across multiple channels (a handwritten note, followed by personal emails).

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