How to secure on-going business through exceptional customer service.

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Exceptional customer service can be achieved by focusing on three principles: treating your customers well, answering their queries and exceeding their expectations. On top of this, being reliable and helping clients out in a pinch will form the basis of a strong (and lasting) working relationship.Retaining a customer is always more cost effective than winning a new customer. A study by Bain & Co. showed that a 5% increase in customer retention generates a 25% increase in profits.Happy customers become repeat customers, who are likely to spend more (67%) on your product or service. Earlier this year we launched the private brief so that clients could engage the regular services of creators that they had worked with previously and have had positive experiences with. The private brief has been a great source of income for creators, with some having made in excess of $15,000 from non-marketplace earnings. The secret? Exceptional customer service.We reviewed hundreds of successful briefs in the Fabulate platform to pull this article together and here were the common things that we found that created an exceptional customer experience.

Build rapport by messaging the client

People buy from people. Every purchase a customer makes ultimately comes down to emotion, which means people buy from people they know, like and trust.Here are some easy ways to build rapport with clients:

  • Send a message as soon as a job is won.Introduce yourself, let them know that you are excited to work on their brief and confirm that there are no changes to your original pitch
  • After pitching ‘check in'.Confirm that your pitch is on point for the brief, ask if they would like any additional information and confirm if they have an expected sign off date.
  • If you say you are going to do something, follow through.No quicker way to erode trust than to not do something that you have promised a client. If you are unsure of a deadline, ask up front - it's better to be safe than sorry.
  • Over communicate with customers.Don't be afraid to ask the silly question, or explain a particular angle that you have taken. You take for granted your knowledge as a subject matter expert, clients don't always have your experience therefore might need a little more hand holding.

It's a fine line between pestering and adding value, but if done correctly it is a simple way to become a trusted advisor to your clients and move to the top of their priority list.

“The platform ate my homework”

Every now and then our sales or customer support team are alerted to messages on or off the platform about errors (either bugs or user error) that have been shared with a client. We treat every creator we onboard to the platform as a partner and uphold and help their reputation with clients every step along the way.The Fabulate team is always here to help, from proofreading to customer service, in order to deliver on the client's requirements (and even mediate when things start to approach scope creep). The platform has been built to identify when things get stuck, which means we will always reach out to you with any questions. In return we ask that if something goes awry on the platform (bug or user error) you report it to support before messaging a client about the issue. Our support email is manned (with local Australian support) throughout the day/night and someone is always there to help, so please feel free to contact us at any time. We don't judge (or bite) and often things are very easily explained.

Ensure that your profile is up to date and accurate

Your portfolio is a representation of your brand and outside of any pitch that you send, could be the first impression that a potential client has of you and your work.The highest converting creators all have the following:

  • A profile photo
  • A catchy profile headline
  • Outlined genre specialism
  • 5-6 examples of your favourite work

You should look at your profile as something that should always be evolving. Updating it frequently with new examples of work and publication experience builds your case for future work. If you have recently undertaken new training (i.e. SEO) adding this to your profile will ensure that the next time there is work in this category you will be notified. To update your profile click here.

Go the extra mile

Roger Staubach famously said “there are no traffic jams along the extra mile”. While everyone is busy doing just enough to scrape by, you can always go one step further and overdeliver your way to an exceptional customer experience.Identifying your customers stated and unstated needs can be a difference maker. These do not need to be large gestures or back breaking volumes of additional work. These are the little things that you can learn about your client whilst building rapport with them early on.Let's apply this to a regular content brief you might receive from a client. Their stated need might be something along the lines of “I need lifestyle content to help me sell my product on my website”. Since you know that this content will be published online, an unstated need of this brief could be anything from proper formatting of their content, right down to recommendations of off page copy, or primary and secondary keywords they should consider.

Ask for a review or testimonial

A tale as old as time, but testimonials can help you get future work. In fact testimonials are such a useful promotional tool that a study by Neilsen proved 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don't know them).Testimonials can also be used as a way to receive closure and feedback from a client, as well as unearth any underlying issues that may not have been voiced to you until now.As a practice we ask all of our clients for testimonials - even if they don't feel comfortable with us publicly publishing and sharing, they will offer feedback and that may not have come up throughout a campaign. This feedback can then be used as a way to follow up later with the client demonstrating a change, a new idea or product.

Take time to learn your client's tone, voice and style

The tone of voice is one of the most important elements of a brand's communication. A lot of effort goes into establishing verbal identity systems (VIS) to standardise how a brand sounds and how it's message is delivered to its customers.Familiarising yourself with these rules and established traditions not only make it easier for you to reduce back and forth in approvals, it is also a great way to show your long term commitment to a brand (and your willingness for additional work).Over the last 12 months we have seen several creators be proactive in this space, by requesting brand guidelines, researching past work and attending brand guidelines sessions.Finding a creator that gets your brand's tone right, is like finding a diamond in the rough. Once you've found them you don't want to work with anyone else.

In summary

Repeat or on-going clients are vital to your sales pipeline, so implementing processes that can help increase your retention rate is vital. This guide offers really simple tips that you can apply with limited effort to your next campaign with Fabulate. Think there are some that we have missed? Do you have any tips that you are using that has helped retain clients? Let us know below in the comments