Though web design business sells inanimate products and services, there is always a real person behind each web site order and personal relations between customer and web designer guide web design process. Thatís why in this article I want to talk about business philosophy rather than certain marketing strategies and rules.
No matter how you get orders Ė from your web site, from paper and Internet ads, by email, by phone, or by personal visit. Always remember that the first impression about you, your company, and your business will set ďmoodĒ for further development process.
∑ Respond ASAP if you get requests by email - better within the next few hours, if you need some time to analyze the request you can send confirmation that you have received the email request and will answer soon. Donít use auto-responder! Just spend a couple of minutes to write personal message and it will be appreciated.
∑ Be polite, competent, and logical if you donít know some details itís better to specify all before giving exact answers and estimations.
Treat with the customer, as you want to be treated. Donít lie, donít trick, donít breach. Though itís rather matter of ethical business running, believe me that boomerang always comes back, maybe with another customer and another project but it will.
If you have some difficulties with project development, deadline, cost, etc, itís better to be frank and tell the customer about it. Together you will find solution of the problem.
One of our customers told me that before using our services he did business with another web design company that wasnít able to finish his project in time; they were constantly delayed for main milestones because of developersí shortage but didnít inform the customer about it for fear of loosing the project. The customer planned to announce his new web site at the annual exhibition but if he knew that the web site wouldnít be finished until the date he could change his plans. However he wasnít informed and had many unpleasant moments because of this failure. Obviously, that he doesnít even want to hear the name of that web design company ever again.
Let them speak for you
When you have already made your customers happy with their web sites itís time to ask them be your witness and prove that itís worth doing business with you. Ask your customers to write testimonials Ė just a couple of sentences what they think about your company and work you have done for them, so you can post this at your web site.
It is better to place the customerís site URL, screenshot, and description near the testimonial as it will give more cogency and obviousness. Always ask your customerís permission before placing his/her email address in the testimonial Ėand if you do it Ė do in clever way, using some anti-spam script for the email address encrypting, otherwise you are risking to be damn by your customers for junk mail bombing.
Make it warmer
Donít be afraid to add more warmth to cold business relations Ė but only by mutually wish and interest of both parties and if it doesnít hamper the progress of project development. You can discuss themes closely related to the web site design as well as something else like world situation, politics, weather, or even family news.
There are a few of our customers with whom I maintain friendly relations and discuss by email or chat many topics other than just their web sites design. Why? Because it helps better understand each other, learn something interesting about each otherís business and life, and I just respect and like these persons.
Loyal customers Ė who are they?
Itís a kind of art to ďgrowĒ your first-time-customer into loyal one who will return to you again and again with more projects.
I am not talking about marketing strategies and complex calculations for loyalty programs. There is something more valuable than just benefit that makes customers return to you. They must feel that will find all they need Ė high quality services at affordable and reasonable price along with nice discounts and bonuses, competent and respectful communication, and just feeling that everything is going perfect.
Do you think itís very difficult to build such relationship? Not at all, but it requires patience, respectfulness, farsightedness, and some generosity. Donít try to get ďall and nowĒ from your customer, but give him something he needs for free or with good discount and it will return to you.
For some of our loyal clients I offer free maintenance for their web sites Ė it doesnít take much time for me but make them happy and in their turn they are always ready to help me with anything I need.
I would even compare your customers with fructiferous garden and the more you care about the more it yields.
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