As a freelance copywriter, the writing part of an assignment is only one aspect of your business. You also have to market yourself to land the job and collect payment when it’s complete. Attention to customer service is the glue that holds everything together and facilitates a smooth, trouble-free process. Here are 3 tips to make sure your customer service is exceptional. Communicate clearly Making assumptions is a recipe for disaster. It is probably the main cause of miscommunication and the subsequent problems between you and a client. You assume they know your price only includes 3 drafts. They assume your price includes as many drafts as needed to complete the job. If this is not communicated clearly in advance and a 4th draft is necessary, it presents an awkward moment. Some writers use a contract. This is the ultimate method of communication and form of legal protection. It’s also an administrative headache that slows down the process. I’ve managed to survive without it. I do however, write a paragraph that outlines the scope of the project along with my quoted price and send it by e-mail before I begin. And I ask the client to respond back their acceptance. I keep both a printed hard copy and store the e-mail electronically. Establish a deadline Some clients already have a deadline in mind. Some don’t. But every freelance writer I know is used to working by deadlines. If your client doesn’t give you a deadline, set one yourself. It keeps you focused and productive. It suggests to the client that you take an industrious, business-like approach to your work. And it discourages you from indulging in other distractions that are not so productive like socializing on Facebook or over indulging in NCAA March madness basketball games. Follow-up Promptly Clients may set a deadline for you and then procrastinate themselves. You sacrifice sleep to make the deadline and then the copy ends up at the bottom of a pile on their desk. Irritating, I know, but it happens. So if I haven’t heard anything yet, I follow-up with a client after a few days by asking them for feedback on the copy I sent. If they are procrastinating, this prods them into action. But be gracious and understanding in how you communicate with them (even though you’re grinding your teeth). The more comfortable they feel with you, the more likely they are to offer more work. You can always drop them as a client later once you have others you like better. When the job is complete and I’ve sent an invoice, I usually wait about 2 weeks and then ask about payment. Although 30 business days is standard, many clients will pay you sooner when you ask. And if not, the advanced notice encourages them to pay on time according to standard business practice. Consistent follow-up helps you keep the job moving (which you have to do to keep invoices moving) and clients often appreciate the fact that you help them stay on track too. By following up, you present yourself as a professional and demonstrate the fact that you care about completing an assignment to the customer’s satisfaction. And when you keep your end of the bargain, they are more likely to reciprocate.