When you hear the word customer service, what comes to mind? Is it answering customer questions, solving problems, delivering on a promise? Customer service is even more than that. If you want to make a powerful impression on your customers, you need to level up your customer service skills.
As an animator, you’re expected to be great at animating, of course. Some animators are better at animating than you are, but it doesn’t automatically mean they do a better job than you.
Being an animator not only includes making great animated videos but also promoting your freelance animation business, meeting clients, managing your budget, and excellent customer service.
If you look at the idea closely, giving great customer service from the first to the last meeting and eventually gaining clients isn’t that difficult. Plus, the result is winning more clients and even getting paid more than your competitors.
Retently says that in the future, customer experience will have an even bigger impact on customer satisfaction, making it bigger than price and product as a brand differentiator.
In this blog post, we discuss the 9 ways animators provide great customer service.
1) Purchase Your Client’s Product or Service
Does your customer sell a product or service that is affordable and something you can use? Web Designer Depot suggests that you go to their shop and purchase it.
Not only is this a way to show that you support your customer’s business, but it’s also a great way to know more about your customer and build a good relationship.
2) Tell Them What You Think They Need
From your very first meeting with your customer, you should start off on the right foot with your customer service. Before the meeting, you should do initial research about your animation customer and gain some understanding about what they want you to do for them.
This will make you look on top of things and make them feel like you know them and care about their needs.
Aside from doing all the talking about your knowledge, also take time to ask them questions about themselves. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. The best way to show you care is to ask them questions. It can range from personal to business talk.
What’s important is that you become genuinely interested in your client. This will make a memorable impression and set the tone for your relationship as you work together.
3) Thank Your Customer
GIF via GIPHY
If you really want to go above and beyond, after meeting your customer, write them a handwritten or typewritten letter and send it to them.
In the letter, thank them for their time to meet with you, sum up points that were discussed in the meeting, and tell them that you look forward to working with them after you present to them a proposal.
It’s a simple yet powerful nicety that not few take the time to do. This kind gesture will make your client remember you and look forward to working with you.
4) Prepare Well for Meetings
Whether you’re having an in-person meeting, phone call, or video call, you should be prepared to answer your client’s questions. Arrive early for your meeting, bringing with you your previous work, progress reports, proposals, and other ideas.
Atomic Object suggests that you go over the agenda of the meeting based on what you previously discussed with your client and spend enough time to prepare what you have to say. Having a set agenda will help you focus on the topics that need to be discussed which you have answers for.
You should also dress appropriately and look presentable. Even if you’re not working for an animation studio or business, you have to dress well. Dressing poorly can lower the image you portray as an animator.
After your meeting, talk with your client about the actionable steps you need to take. Let your client know what you need from them and what you have to give them on a specific date and time.
This can help you stay on the same page, remind each other of payments and important dates, and finish the project smoothly.
5) Under-Promise and Over-Deliver
Overcommitting and overpromising will leave you stressed and make your client disappointed. Give yourself enough time to work on an animation project in order to not have to rush your work or miss a deadline. This is not a good way to build client relationships.
Interaction Design Foundation suggests that if you want to add value to your clients, under-promise and over-deliver. This is the easiest form of customer service and is a way to keep them happy.
Stan Phelps of Purple Goldfish says that you either fail to meet expectations or exceed expectations. There is no in-between. You need to have a mindset of giving your best on the animation project and meet deadlines.
6) Invest in Relationships
According to Content Mender, you should go the extra mile not just when it comes to your efforts working on an animation project for your customer, but also knowing your customer. This means you should treat them like how you would treat your friend.
You have to remember details such as the animators or animation studios they hired for an animation project and their experiences.
It also includes calling them by the name they prefer to be called, sending them a card or gift on their birthdays and anniversaries, knowing the names of their family members, and remembering their likes and dislikes.
Showing that you care about them as a person and not just a client will keep them loyal to you.
7) Be Respectful
GIF via GIPHY
Customer service can sometimes involve our emotions. It is important to remember to be respectful when dealing with customers and make them happy. A way to show respect is to do what you promise. Don’t let your customers down.
If you tell your client that you will have solved a specific problem by this specific date, then do it. Keeping says that when you’ve made a mistake, honestly and humbly admit it as soon as you discover it.
Don’t look for someone or something to blame or cover it up. It will only create a bigger tension between you and your customer. Telling the truth will make your client appreciate your honesty and build trust in you. After apologizing, do whatever it takes to correct your mistake.
Another way to be respectful is to not easily lose your temper when your customer raises the tone of their voice, talks too much, or asks too many questions. You must be calm and patient when communicating with your customer, whether in-person, text message, video call, email, or phone call.
8) Respond Quickly
Aside from being respectful, you also need to give importance to your customer’s time. Nowadays, when customers have a concern or problem, they expect you to provide them with a quick response, whether via email, text message, phone call, or live chat.
Your animation clients deal with many other problems. Don’t be the cause for another thing they have to get stressed about.
Respond to them in a timely manner even if you’re a freelancer who has full control of your time. This shows that you’re responsive and professional. You have to make it easy for your animation clients to contact you. The best time to respond is within 24 hours.
If you can’t contact them within 24 hours, let them know how soon you can get back to them, so that they won’t have to wait for you all day. Some customers want to get in touch with you as soon as possible, some clients would rather figure things out themselves.
According to Zendesk, 69% of customers want to resolve as many problems as they can without any assistance. They would rather look for information on a website. This is an important reason to consider when building or updating your website.
To cater to customers who want self-service, add an additional page for frequently asked questions, knowledge base, or live chat.
Make them feel heard and that you genuinely care for them. When they have a problem or concern, use phrases such as:
- “I’m sorry that this happened.”
- “I’ll find a solution to this problem.”
9) Ask for Feedback
Asking your animation clients for feedback lets them know that you truly care about what they think and feel about your performance as an animator. It allows them to feel valued and important.
You can ask for feedback via customer surveys and questionnaires before and during working with you. Here are some questions you can ask:
- Find out what they need and what they think of your animation business.
- How was it received?
- What was great about it?
- What could have been improved?
- Is there anything I can help you with?
The importance of customer service should not be overlooked. It’s easy just to keep animating and not pay attention to your animation clients especially when you have so much work to do.
Providing great customer service is essential if you want to gain success as an animator and keep your customers happy. Treat your clients like how you would treat your friend and respect their time as well as their feedback. These send them a message that you genuinely care for them and their business.
All of the items we mentioned above, when combined, are sure to help you stand out among other animators and gain animation clients.