Note to the freelancer: customer service rules

    The great freelancer was asked: how to control the artist? He replied that this was a matter of trust: they trust one performer, they do not work with others.

    This is freelance, Carl! Nothing personal!

    Meet by clothes

    Make a portfolio. Yes, with most customers you have an NDA, but take the time to invest in yourself. Do your work for yourself so that you have something to be proud of. You can hide a couple of easter eggs, if the customer has doubts about authorship, you can demonstrate them.

    Look around

    Before getting involved in a relationship with a customer, get to know him. Meet trite, arrange a video conference, talk on the phone. You interact with him. This, fortunately, is not for life, but I hope you will be able to assess whether you understand him, whether you are ready to take the job to him. Managing to talk to the previous contractor is great, but you can believe his words, for obvious reasons, by no more than 50%.
    There was once a case. The unknown calls. So and so, I want to hire you. There is noise in the phone, I say, let's talk on Skype. Turn on skype. We are talking. But I do not understand him. Each word individually is understandable, but the meaning eludes. I say: let's meet. We are meeting. Audibility is excellent. The articulation of the interlocutor is excellent. The words are correct. But the meaning eludes me. I refused, citing high load. And so we parted.

    Feel free to say: No

    Request customer documentation for work already done. According to it, you will understand how much the customer wishes, correspond to the submitted works and whether it is possible to formally submit them at all according to the statement of work.
    I read the technical specifications for the database: Field "Age of the 1st child" - digital (etc. up to 4 children). I ask, what if there are more children? - answer, well, then we add more fields. - Will you recount the base every year, adjusting the age? - a brilliant answer: Why?

    Look in the mirror

    Imagine subcontracting your work. How will you be worth the relationship with the subcontractor? What are the risks? How will you control the process? Perhaps the customer is concerned about the same issues. Perhaps you can help him answer them.

    Do not dump

    There is a certain kind of customer who likes to bargain. This is their professional. Respect yourself. Stand your ground. For this they will respect you too.
    To one great freelancer, a native school ordered a website. He said it would cost so much. But the school did not find the money. It took a long time to trade. During this time he made a website. And when the school was ready to pay for the site (at a price significantly lower than the market price), he said - let it be a gift. So the resourceful freelancer did not set a precedent for discounts on his services and saved his face.

    Use the project management system

    You can send a report to customers every day, but what a torment to bring these notes into a beautiful monthly report, and even with labor costs and prices. You can significantly save your energy by providing the customer access to this system. I like the free teamwork.

    Do not disappear

    Let the customer get used to receiving reports from you (daily, weekly ...). Unfortunately, customers are different: one needs to report by phone, the other will crawl onto the project’s website on his own, find the overdue tasks, call himself and tell him what he’ll do with you to eliminate the backlog. Lead the customer, tame it to the thought that you are nearby, in a convenient way. For the most part, it is unprofitable for him to spend his resources on control. Build a long-term relationship.

    Meet the customer

    Yes, it’s hard (and not always possible) to drag your body to where the hell and spend your time moving in space. But if you are preparing to speak at a specialized conference, invite the customer there. This is another reason for you to remind yourself, scratch the CSD, and if suddenly the customer arrives, remind him that you are a person, not a line in the expense sheet. Perhaps this is the beginning of a great friendship.


    If you have a force majeure event: you were flooded, a child was born, your favorite laptop crunched - honestly inform the customer about the problem and when it will be fixed. A review of the priorities of the tasks may be required. Perhaps some tasks can be shifted, some can be abandoned. But the customer will understand what is happening and he will have the illusion of control. It happens the other way around: the family leaves for the cottage - time is freed for work. Tell the customer that productivity will increase next week, more tasks can be done, with the caveat that this is temporary.

    Keep deadlines

    Check with the customer which tasks have fixed deadlines (other work depends on their execution) and which are not. It sounds pathetic: promise a little, do a lot. But it does work.


    Some people like it when a sword of Damocles hangs over them, others like the illusion of freedom. Nevertheless, after the next victory over the customer by the project, arrange yourself a small holiday. Take time for yourself beloved beloved. Secure success with positive reinforcement. Life consists of the most distressing sorrows and the little joys of

    work. The work has been handed over, the money received. Time has passed. Call the customer, congratulate him, for example, on Independence Day, find out if he is satisfied with your work (well, at the same time and if he has more orders in mind)!

    PS Then they reproached me with perfectionism. Therefore, below the survey.
    My reasons
    With such detailing of the types of phones, I forgot about Iridium, a phone in the country (where a particular operator does not catch) ... Forgot that a home phone may be preferred. From my point of view, TK is raw. Therefore, a process of continuous alterations is expected. As a result, either the deadlines will be violated, or the budget, or the relationship ... The customer will not be satisfied. Do you need it?

    Only registered users can participate in the survey. Please come in.

    The customer provided the statement of work: there are 3 fields for telephones (mobile, home, work) and a field for an e-mail address. Next is the “preferred communication channel” field: {Mobile | Email}. Are you ready to work with such a customer?

    • 66.1% Yes 86
    • 33.8% No 44

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