According to marketing experts, it is always necessary to develop friendly relations with clients. The best client is a regular client. But what is the cost of client loyalty and what needs to be done if the client asks you for a free service?
I'll let myself argue the statement that client loyalty should be conquered at any cost. Perhaps, it makes sense in some business sectors, but certainly not in the in the IT industry. When a customer contacts an IT company, he or she is primarily interested in the high level of services. If the client receives poorly done work, who will need free bonus hours for maintaining then? These are quality and professionalism that create a good impression with clients about the company; this is an essential foundation for building a long-term relationship.
Let's model the situation: a client has ordered a particular project at your company. You have provided the services in full, and the project has been successfully launched. Now, the customer asks you to add new functionality, which has not been included in the technical assignment of the project, for free, motivating that this will be an investment in your long-term partnerships. Let's try to figure it out. Most likely, there may be two reasons if the customer wants you to do the extra work for free:
The customer has incorrectly calculated his budget and has spent all his available money on the project.
In this case, it is necessary to clarify how important the new functionality is in order to achieve project objectives. If these additional functions can hinder the success of the entire project, you might want to make a compromise then and offer to carry out the work for free, making an agreement to pay for further maintenance and support at this time. If your concession helps the customer to start making money, he or she will definitely appreciate your gesture and will show their gratitude in the future.
However, if the additional functionality is not useful to achieve the business objectives, or if the client refuses to sign the agreement on further paid service, this brings us to the second option:
The client does not appreciate you as a contractor.
In other words, the client thinks that you have made enough money from the project so that you can work for free. If you have agreed to comply with the task, you shouldn't expect that the client's attitude towards you will change. The client who does not value your time, neither appreciates he or she your work. Such customers aren't worth making cooperation with because such cooperation has no future. Even if you have available resources, and you can afford such expenses now, having announced the cost of additional works to the client in the future, you will only hear, "Why should I pay so much if you have done the same amount of work for free? Do you want to cash in on me?"
Relationships with customers, like any other relationships, should be based on mutual respect. In the pursuit of loyalty, you can very easily get not a regular customer, but a regular freeloader. As a result, this could put at risk the success of your whole business.
Written by Serhiy Lavrynenko | Translated by Vlad Dikan