Being Accessible

If you’re an independent web worker, one of your selling points is probably that you’re readily accessible to your customers. Many of us can be contacted by an almost embarassing variety of ways: multiple email accounts, multiple phone numbers, contact forms on our web sites, Get Satisfaction accounts, instant messenger accounts, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and (as a last resort) even snail mail. But if you think that having multiple points of contact is enough – think again.

Particularly when working with less-web-savvy customers, I’ve found two extra steps help set my service apart. First, make it clear to your customers what the best way to contact you is, for routine communication or for emergencies. Something like “I always read my email within a day, but if something’s important use my cell phone number” will help avoid overwhelming people with choices they don’t quite understand. Second, go where your customers are, rather than making them come to you. For example, if a new client is used to AIM, get yourself an AIM account, rather than forcing them to switch to GTalk. A little of this sort of service will be remembered for a long time.

What do you do to be memorably available to your customers?

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