Building Client Trust: The Four Cs
A business, just like a relationship, is nothing without trust. When it comes to freelance success, client trust is imperative. It leads to regular work, regular referrals, and a continually healthy and conflict-free work environment.
How do you build client trust? It's pretty simple, and we've broken it down for you.
Trust is built through The Four Cs: Communication, C0-Operation, Consistency and Care.
Communication is the absolute foundation of building a positive working relationship.
Set parameters and boundaries early on
Offer clear, concise answers to queries
Speak honestly and politely
Are patient and understanding
Take on, and positively respond to, feedback
Client work should be a collaborative, supportive experience. In order to produce the best possible end result, both parties ought to be co-operative and helpful to one another.
To be co-operative is to:
Be a listener, not just a talker
Be open to other people's ideas, rather than precious about your own
Work towards a team victory, rather than an individual success
Understand the various strengths of everyone involved, and play to them
Nobody enjoys working with a flake. Showing up consistently will help you to build a trustworthy reputation, which will only benefit your future career.
Consistency in business is:
Sticking to deadlines and pre-agreed plans
Sending and paying invoices promptly
Setting client expectations at the right level and continuing to meet them
Fourth and finally, it's important to care. To remember that the client at the other end of your email is a person with a rich and complex existence beyond their business connection with you.
Caring is about more than a "hope you are well" thrown onto the beginning of a message. Though that never hurts.
Offering clients the benefit of the doubt when there is a delay/issue, not assuming the worst before an explanation has been offered
A willingness to be flexible with deadlines and payment plans where it feels appropriate/possible for you to do so
Behaving respectfully, even when disagreements arise
There you have it: The Four Cs.