I fully agree with -
1) Treat your clients as humans,
2) Engage your clients with respect NOT fear
3) Start 'communicating from now, you'll be raising your rates as of January 1, 2013
4) Start communicating from now, 'Any new clients you'll be taking on will be charged X per hour AND/OR X for a menu list of services'
5) Give a cost breakdown for what a full-time employee in your area would cost - a line by line summary ESPECIALLY if you're not getting any health benefits. For example, itemized lines would include salary, cost of benefits, cost of training, cost of employee insurance, cost of 401(k) contribution - etc. This demonstrates to them immediate cost benefits AND to you where and how much you're NOT charging
6) Create a customer service package for each client - break them into levels bronze, gold and platinum and respective benefits of each (for old clients say that they've automatically been enrolled into the 'bronze package' -- they'll automatically want to know the difference between bronze, gold and platinum packages)
7) Evaluate which clients are costing you the most in time AND which clients you're not billing for that time; these are the clients that you'll have to decide whether you'll want to keep --- rule of thumb: we teach clients what to expect. And they always expect more.
8) You're not performing favors for your clients; and they aren't performing favors for you. They're paying for outstanding service, ability to solve their problems and your ability to speak with them in non-technical language.
Clients will respect you for being upfront with them. The ones that give you a hard time are the ones who really don't value your services and KNOW that they're taking advantage.
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