Recently my overwhelming writing schedule got the best of me and I ended up making a mistake while working on a regular client's project. It was an honest mistake, and the client was very understanding about it, but this is a pretty big project so it set everything back a couple of days. I immediately apologized for any inconvenience my error may have caused and spent the next two days going back to make the necessary corrections. When I think of the time I spent doing a job twice all because I didn't pay close attention to what my client needed, I could cry.
Did I mention before that I am working on a bunch of projects right now? Sure, I'm busy, but that's no excuse for not giving a client what they ask and pay for. My personality type is such that when an error is brought to my attention I must immediately make moves to fix it. I don't bother making excuses. My goal is to leave each of my clients with a positive impression of our working relationship.
Of course, I am only human. I make lots of mistakes and try not to get too bent out of shape when I do. I make every effort to provide the same quality customer service I would expect when paying someone for a service. If you ever find yourself dealing with a mistake in your freelance writing here are a few helpful tips:
Admit the mistake and correct it immediately
Don't make a lot of excuses because that makes it seem as though you are unwilling to accept responsibility. Simply apologize for the error and correct it as quickly as you can.
Offer to discount the project
Time is money for your client just as much as it is for you. If your error has created an inconvenience that has left your client fuming, offer a discount on the project. It shows empathy and makes your client feel that you have their best interest in mind. Strive to create a win-win solution to the problem. In the end, it's your call.
Make fixing the problem a priority
The best thing you can do is fix the problem as soon as possible to prevent more delay. It sucks if you have lots of other projects going on, but you should follow through on your commitment to your client.
Always provide good customer service
I'm seeing a decline in customer service these days. I don't know about you, but I can't afford to lose clients by not treating them well. I was fortunate enough in my old job as a, advertising sales representative for a newspaper to have had access to some of the best customer service training. They spared no expense in making sure we understood the psychology behind handling customers unhappy due to errors and any other unpleasantness that could potentially affect their bottom line. I put all that good training to use in my own business.
Even if you weren't formally trained, providing good customer service is largely a matter of aplying common sense. You treat others the way you want to be treated. Every situation may not end up the way you hope, but you'll find that many clients will stick with you when you treat them right.