Saturday, December 22, 2007

Five Rules for Keeping Clients Happy

This article originally appeared in the first issue of Resume Writers' Digest. Eight years later, the information is still relevant. Enjoy!

Use these guidelines as an informal set of "rules" you can use to keep clients happy with the services you provide.

1. Keep clients informed about the current job market. Be a news source for your resume clients. Let them know what is going on in the overall job market as well as within their own industry. Read career magazines. If you specialize in an industry -- for example, healthcare professionals -- check out industry publications at the library, or take a subscription yourself.

2. Know what's important to clients. Would your client sacrifice an increase in salary for some time off? Are they looking for a job without evening or weekend hours? Having a good idea of your client's prorities can save their time -- and yours -- by weeding out job opportunities that clearly don't match up with what is important to them.

3. Stay in touch. After a year or two, it's easy to lose contact. But you can position yourself for repeat business -- and happy customers -- by keeping in touch with clients even after they've found their dream job.

Send out a note of congratulations when they get the job or for birthdays, graudations, and other significant dates.

4. Be punctual. Never be unprepared for a scheduled appointment. And, if you say you're going to send something, do it right then.

If you are sloppy with handling the routine details of the resume writing transaction, the client will take that as an indication that you are sloppy in other areas as well. He or she may begin to distrust your recommendations.

5. Confidentiality is key. Sometimes clients jeopardize their jobs simply by preparing their resume. One client relayed the story of a colleague who had submitted his resume "confidentially" to a job fair. It turns out his current employer was participating in the job fair. Confronted with the evidence that he was "job shopping," he was pressured to resign.

Don't put your client's job at risk. If you call him or her at work, leave only your name, not your company name or why you are calling -- even if you get the person's voice mail. You can never tell who is monitoring voice mail or e-mail nowadays.

Advise your client about confidentiality issues -- such as not responding to blind post office box advertisements or faxing a resume for distribution at a career fair. Change names and identifying details on sample resumes. Destroy draft copies of resumes and don't leave documents out where they can be seen.

Following these five simple guidelines can help assure that your client stays happy with you -- and the services you provide.

-- From the July/August 1999 issue of Resume Writers' Digest (p. 4)

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