During active projects, we rarely go more than a day or two without talking to our client via Basecamp, a phone call, or in person. Clients appreciate that amount of engagement, and at the end of the project, the relationship is very strong.
Then the project enters a support phase, and communication goes dark. The strong relationship you’ve built starts to fade.
Fast forward a year. That same client is ready for another round of development, but instead of reaching out to you, they shop around and find a new partner.
How do we prevent this? By providing an excellent customer experience–not only during active development, but throughout the support phase.
1. Be Proactive
You can show your client that you care by taking a proactive approach, and there are two easy ways to do it.
- For every Atomic project, we set up a system to alert our team when there’s a production error. When you have a full plate, it can be easy to brush off these alerts and hope nobody notices. We’ve all been there. However, in my experience, it’s only a matter of time before the client will send a support request for that exact issue. Instead of waiting, send a quick message when you see that error come in. Let your customer know that you’re still paying attention to their project.
- Another way you can show your proactivity is by checking in regularly. It doesn’t have to be once a week, and it can be very informal. Set a calendar reminder to email your client once a month. Ask them how everything is going, if they have any concerns, or if they want to share new ideas.
2. Be Responsive
When a customer reaches out, it’s typically for one of two reasons:
- They have a question.
- There is an issue.
In either case, they are probably hoping for an answer or a solution in a quicker turnaround time than you can accommodate. That’s okay. Your initial response doesn’t have to provide the answer or solution.
Instead, respond as an acknowledgment that you’ve seen and prioritized their message. Then give them a timeframe so they’ll know when you will have an answer or time to dig into an issue. It’ll ease their mind to know that you’ve seen their message, and they know when to expect an answer.
3. Be Transparent
As consultants and developers, we are fully allocated to active project development. It’s rare that we are able to drop everything and handle a support request immediately.
I’ve found that usually (when things aren’t on fire), that’s not a problem—as long as you are honest about that fact. The best approach is to first explain your situation and then follow up with a responsible estimate for completing the request.
Customers appreciate when you are engaged and passionate about their project. It’s easy to lose that feeling during a support phase, but with the tips above, you can maintain your relationship instead of letting it fade.