As a freelance website designer I much prefer it if I can meet my clients face-to-face, which can mean quite a bit of travelling. Today I’m driving south to meet a potential client, hopefully the meeting will go well and I’ll soon be working on a new project, but if for some reason we aren’t a ‘good fit’ then it will have been a wasted journey. There isn’t much I can do about this; living miles from anywhere means there aren’t many clients locally so I have to travel – or force them to travel – in order to meet face-to-face.
It isn’t completely necessary to meet face-to-face and I have worked on projects, even large projects, for people I have never met, but if at all possible I like to meet my clients in person.
There are a number of reasons for this. First, a face-to-face meeting is so much more productive than numerous e-mails being sent back and forth. A meeting, even a short one allows me to cover so much more and get a real feeling for the project and the people involved. I really enjoy building websites that my clients love, and getting to know my clients and the intended audience of their website is the first step to achieving this. They can tell me what their requirements and what they want their website to achieve and I can offer various solutions and show them examples. Often my face-to- face conversations with clients go off on tangents and we end up talking about other things of interest outside of work and the web, but it is these insights into the people that really make the difference and allows me to offer a personal service.
Just as important though is the fact that it gives my clients chance to get to know me. Hopefully they find someone that they can easily communicate with and want to have working on their website. I aim to offer a professional service and pride my self on my friendly, helpful nature. However, I may not be for everyone. I’m a freelancer working on my own, not a big expensive agency, so there are times that I can’t offer the services some larger corporate businesses may want. It is much easier to judge these things for both me and my clients at a face-to-face meeting.
Meeting and developing a relationship with my clients is important for me and for them. It makes the whole process of building and maintaining a website so much more enjoyable.
Meeting face-to-face also gives me a chance to have a chat over a coffee and make friends. When you live in the middle of nowhere this is always something to look forward to, although it isn’t always a good thing as it is difficult to charge full-price to friends!