What if there was a way for you to increase customer satisfaction, get more repeat business, and multiply new business from referrals?
You’d definitely want to take advantage of any technique that could do all of that, right?
Good news! There actually IS a method of doing business that you can use to achieve all of those results. In fact, it is a method that you probably already know (but might have forgotten).
Are you ready? Here it is:
Listening… good listening… The real secret to increased customer satisfaction, getting repeat business and referrals is often to listen, really listen, to what your customers have to say.
It’s just that simple (and just that hard).
As freelancers, we talk too much. We’re so anxious to sell our services that we jump right into our spiel, often without really hearing what the customer has to say.
As you listen, see if you can understand what the customer really needs.
Five Answers To Listen For
As you are listening to your customer, see if you can find the answers to the following five questions about their project:
- What does the customer hope to accomplish? – Understanding the purpose of a project is crucial to ensuring its success.
- Why has the customer decided to pursue this? – Listening to the reasons why the customer is pursuing the project can give you key clues to what the customer really wants.
- Who is the customer’s audience? – Determining the target audience for a project is vital to the project’s success.
- How will the customer deal with the desired response? – Make sure that the customer has a plan in place for dealing with a successful project.
- Is there an example of what the customer has in mind? – You can learn a lot by examining an existing example of what the customer likes.
If you can’t hear the answer to these questions in what the customer is saying, then (and only then) you will have to ask the questions directly to the customer.
With these questions answered, you should have a clearer picture of what the customer needs and wants. Once you have this understanding, then you can follow through with specific questions concerning delivery:
- When do you want this?
- Who will be my contact on this project?
- How will you take delivery of the project?
- What are you willing to pay?
(The problem for many freelancers is that we START by asking the delivery questions, when delivery questions are actually the last questions that we should ask.)
Three Reasons It Makes a Difference
Good listening does make a positive difference in your customer satisfaction, here’s why:
- Your competition doesn’t listen. How many times have you heard someone say something like this, “when I got [it], I realized that it wasn’t quite what I needed.” Your competition doesn’t listen. Make sure that you do.
- Your customer doesn’t always say what they really mean. It’s true, they really don’t. They may think that they do, but they often leave out crucial details. That’s where effective listening comes in.
- Your results speak for themselves. By taking the time to really listen to your customer, not only are you letting them know that you value them, you are also much more likely to deliver what they had in mind for the project.
Good listening does makes a difference! By exercising good listening skills, you set your freelancing business apart and position yourself for success.
What’s holding you back?
Get out there and start listening.
About the author: Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 18 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy Laura’s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts.