One of the best consulting assignments in the world is when your top client (i.e. your main source of income) has you perform all the work from your home office. However, while it is very optimal to work from home and you have advantages over people that commute to the office, you do have to consider building and keeping client trust.
After all consulting is a very simple concept: you are paid to get results through completing projects for your client. Otherwise you are not worth the money the client pays you. Building client trust makes consulting assignments easier and also provides opportunity for more work. If you want to build trust with your client then try these three practices (or exercises) to build trust through exceptional service.
Be available most of your client’s business hours
One sure fire way of gaining the trust of your client is to be available during your client’s business hours. Remember is that most corporate offices operate and communicate with their clients and vendors from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday. Being available during business hours not only builds trust with your client but can also be rewarding in the form of more work.
Businesses always need to be supported during the work day. You never know when you’re needed as a resource other than the project you’re working on. You become part of the team as you are establishing a presence with your client. You are becoming part of your client’s support system. Most clients want to trust their consultants. Your goals should always be an integral part of your client’s team.
The best ways to be available for your client are to provide a mobile phone number, and be on Windows Live Messenger and AOL Instant messenger. If you plan to be away during the business day, make sure to let your client know via the messenger status window. Using instant messenger programs is becoming very popular among businesses, which leads me to our next practice to build client trust.
Learn to work with distraction
One thing about any work day whether you are working from home or not is the fact that there will always be distractions. This usually comes in the form of client requests or if you’re working from home personal requests.
No one likes to be distracted from their projects. However, I would recommend that one of the best ways to work with distractions is to embrace them. However, some thought must go into the importance of the distraction.
Working on a project and juggling multiple clients can be trying at times. No matter what you are working on it seems you’re destined to get calls from your clients. If a client is calling you during the day, your best bet is to take the call. If you look at it from your clients point of view, they have your call on their “to do” list. Meaning they are blocking of time from their day to reach out to you. This call can mean anything from a simple question or more billable work. It’s definitely worth it.
Try to finish the project you are working on before going to the next one
The main reason you are hired as a freelance consultant is to get the job done. Have you heard of the old saying “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”? This saying holds very true in the IT small business consulting world. So remember results get you more work.
So what’s the best way to get results, you ask? If you are working on multiple projects, always work toward completing a project milestone before you work on another project. Always make your closest project due date your central point of your workday until it’s completed. This will provide you and your client the mental boost necessary to show progress with your projects.
Hopefully you can see now why it’s possible to be at a disadvantage while working from home. With the 3 methods mentioned above, you should be able to provide exceptional customer service to your client.