How to Turn A Completely Shit Customer/Client Experience Into A Business Transformer
If you're a freelancer you probably know two things:
1. Most of your business comes from sweet, sweet referrals
2. Sweet, sweet referrals come from really awesome client interactions and projects smooth as single malt scotch (which I still think is gross, but hey, the metaphor works)
When you deliver on-time, when you're pleasant to work with, and your work is good, you get good referrals. But what happens when unforeseen circumstances threaten to throw everything under the bus?
If you've worked in retail (hello, that's why we freelance), then you will also probably have heard that sickly saying 'the customer is always right". It could just be my experience, but this statement has never done anything but make me dwell on past abuse from customers, pile on the resentment, and leave me feeling less than empowered.
But when you're in business for yourself whether you own a small business (or a large one), or you're a freelancer, the shitty customer interactions that make you want to crawl into a cave of shame and never come out are actually situations that give you power, not take it away.
They're opportunities for you to make something awesome happen in your business. It might be hard (it will almost certainly be hard), it might be uncomfortable, and it might even temporarily disadvantage you, but in the long run, you win.
If your customer or client isn't happy with something and it is within your power to make it not just better, but to go unbelievably above and beyond, THIS IS THE GOOD BUSINESS DECISION ALMOST ALWAYS.
I was reading a story on Reddit the other day about a guy who had the most outrageous amount of good reviews for his product he sells on Amazon. When a customer's wallet split at the side, he not only refunded her the purchase price, but sent her MORE WALLETS FOR FREE. Not begrudgingly, not just a refund, but made that experience SO DAMN MEMORABLE.
It's easy for us to remember bad experiences, because they're usually not the norm. Shitty events stick in our head because they're exciting and different (you know how you stub your toe in the morning and then declare this entire day is garbage and the universe hates me? ). Your clients and customers are not very likely to remember an average interaction. They're absolutely going to remember a crappy one, and for far longer than you'd like (and they're going to tell people about it).
So when the situation gets a little hairy, make it so awesome the inciting incident will be scoured out of their brains by Customer-Service Wondermoments™. They'll absolutely tell people about it, and that word-of-mouth singing your praises will be well worth the extra few hours of work, or the cost of a product or two.