How to Save Time While Gaining New Customers

Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the Founder and Publisher of Retail Minded, the Co-Founder of the Independent Retailer Conference and a regular Forbes contributor. The author of “Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business” and Spokesperson for Small Business Saturday from American Express. Follow her on Twitter @RetailMinded.

Time is an interesting thing. It can refer an occasion – such as a wedding – or reference an age, such as the ‘70s, or even a specific time, like 3:15 P.M. It also represents the minutes and moments each individual has every day. So while it seems abundant, it also seems to fly by. Keeping this in mind, how can you maximize time to best support your professional hours while aiming to increase customers and personal moments at the same… you guessed it… time?

Tip #1: Focus Your Efforts

To start, answer this simple question. Are you a multi-tasker? If so, consider how you can gain time by narrowing in on your various day-to-day efforts. Juggling too much can often keep you from getting things done, so consider focusing your efforts to help save time. One way to do this is to allocate specific periods throughout the day to specific tasks. For example, you may identify one hour each morning to check emails and not check them again until mid-day, when you’ve identified another half hour to do so. Narrowing time in on specific tasks that include social media, email communication and web browsing can help you manage your day-to-day checklist of things to get done more efficiently – while also helping to keep more time available for you to accomplish Gig assignments and other money generating responsibilities… plus those ever so important moments dedicated to family, friends and even just yourself.

Tip #2: Take Advantage of Technology

Old-fashioned checklists written with pen and paper don’t always do the trick for tech savvy freelancers and entrepreneurs. Keeping this in mind, take advantage of technology to help you prioritize your time, connect with customers and more. Among the ways to help you do this is to use Evernote – an app designed to keep you organized and connected from one device to another. Another favorite app is Neat, which helps simplify your documents, receipt tracking and other operational needs. And if you aren’t using it already, be sure to download the app – a not-to-miss resource that can keep you connected to customers while on the go, as well as offer you the chance to work sitting beachside or on your way to happy hour with friends. In other words, take advantage of technology to take advantage of time. Combined, you will be better positioned to gain more time while simultaneously operating your business more effectively.

Tip #3: Serve Customers Better

Summer Fridays. Weekend getaways. Extended lunch breaks… the list goes on and on as to why so many individuals want to live a Gig-based lifestyle. The catch? The only way to effectively live the life of your dreams is to support your customers as best as possible. After all, it’s returning customers and a constant flow of new ones who keep your dreams alive. Knowing this, what can you currently reflect on that has proven to keep your customers at a 110% satisfaction level? If there’s room for improvement, consider the following.

Customer Care Tip #1: Be Starstruck. In other words, treat your customers as if they are your favorite celebrity, professional athlete or anyone else you may become star struck by… aka someone you wouldn’t want to take your eyes off of or ignore for any reason should they be in your presence. Give them your undivided attention to ensure you can deliver the best customer care possible and as a result, begin your path towards rock star customer care.

Customer Care Tip #2: Give Customers VIP Attention. Stars get VIP care, so why shouldn’t your customers? No matter how large or small a project may be from any given client, treat them each with stellar, VIP customer care so that each and every customer feels as if they are gaining the best customer service possible. Go above and beyond in your client communication, appreciation and of course, delivery of projects and support. Combined, you will increase customer retention and your reputation – a winning duo for any freelancer looking to gain long term success.

Customer Care Tip #3: Get Your Customers Autograph… Virtually, That Is. An autograph to a freelancer is essentially a paycheck. Your goal is to create projects and client support that customers will want to gain again and again. As a result? More money in your pocket… aka more credit cards being swiped, signed and so forth. Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it? The best part is that when you set standards for your business that support customers with strong care, you don’t just gain more money for your business…. But you also gain time as a result.

There are many ways time can impact your business, with technology, stronger customer care and overall time management being among them. No one but yourself, however, has the tools or the resources to identify if you want time to work on your side or against it. Keeping this in mind… what’s your choice? You can either let time control you… or you can control your time. As for customers? Time is money, as the saying goes, so consider your choice.

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