Communicating Professionally with Clients
As a writer, every single time you submit an article or another piece of writing to a client you put your ego on the line a little bit. Read Meaghan's tips on handling criticism and praise professionally.
As a writer, every single time you submit an article or another piece of writing to a client you put your ego on the line a little bit. I’m all too familiar with the concept of being thrilled as the favorable comments and ratings of my clients roll in – but always tend to dwell on the rare times that I receive an “acceptable” rating, or when clients make comments that I deem to be unfair. Writers can be a thin-skinned lot, and receiving a revision request for an article you were sure would knock the client’s socks off can be disheartening, to say the least.
Whether a client raves about your abilities, gives you lukewarm feedback, fails to offer any feedback whatsoever – or, worse yet, criticizes your efforts and demands a revision – it’s imperative that you always communicate with him using grace, tact and professionalism. A bruised ego may make issuing a snarky reply ridiculously tempting, but at the end of the day your conduct not only reflects upon your own professionalism, but on the services of Textbroker as a whole. Fair or unfair, justified or unjustified, the criticism meted out by the occasional client should be viewed as an opportunity to make things right, exceed expectations – or to just develop a thicker skin.
The Concept of Customer Service
The beautiful thing about Textbroker is that it allows anyone with a decent grasp of basic spelling and grammar to make money by writing. There is no extensive screening process, and no one has to sit down for an interview with Jan or Christina before being signed on. It’s a wonderfully democratic system in which those with the ability to write can take a stab at it without jumping through a lot of hoops; however, for many Textbroker writers it may be the first time they’ve ever been on the other side of the customer service dynamic. If you've never really had to interact with customers before, remember the old cliche: the customer is always right. Keep your cool and always do your best to meet their needs whenever possible.
Diffusing A Situation Can Lead To Rewards
More than once, I've had clients who've sent back revision requests that have completely baffled me. What I've discovered is that by looking at these requests as an opportunity to go the extra mile, I can earn loyal new customers. By trying your best to meet the change requests sent by a client, you have the opportunity to show them that you're willing to work extra hard to get them what they need. In the end, a situation that looked like it would result in a rejection can turn into one where you've won over a new regular client. At the very least, you'll know that you did everything that you could to meet your customer's needs.
There’s no reason why Textbroker should have to run interference between its writers and its clients, with the exception of very special circumstances. It should be a given that any correspondence a writer has with a client should always be professional, friendly, cordial – not insulting, defensive, snippy or dismissive. Whether freelance writing is your primary source of income – or if you just do it to earn a bit of spending money – you should always strive to maintain professional, measured tones in the messages you send to your clients.
When you communicate through the Textbroker messaging system, you should always maintain a cordial, reasonable – and helpful – tone. Over email – unlike in face-to-face situations, or over the phone – you have the time and space to calm yourself down, lick your wounds and respond in a measured, reasonable tone. If nothing else, if you receive exceptionally abrasive or unreasonable messages from a client you can always bring them to the attention of the Textbroker staff. The point is there is never a good reason to alienate a client with a rude message.
Writing Skills Matter – But They’re Not The Only Important Thing
It’s important to not only always put forth your best effort in every Open Order and DirectOrder you write, but with every bit of communication you engage in via the Textbroker system. Remember, too, that disclosing your personal contact information to clients is strictly prohibited. Bear in mind that clients routinely read this blog, and that the comments you make reflect directly back on you. Writing for Textbroker should be a fun way to make money; considering today’s dismal economy and job market, it’s an amazing opportunity. Don’t ruin it by letting hurt feelings tarnish your professionalism. Write, have fun and earn money – that's what it's all about!