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CAREER
10 Proven Ways To Hold On To Your
Clients With Better Customer Service
May 3, 2016

By Guy Harris
Voice Actor

We are now working in a more competitive industry than ever before. Every day more people are getting into this industry.

So how are you going to stand out? And why will your clients come back to you? High quality audio? Yup. Fast or timely delivery? Oh yes. Being easy to work with? For sure.  

But believe it or not, there are still voice actors who are a pain in the arse to work with.

I hear time and again from producers who feel they are battling with voice talent to get the job done.

And what's the result? Well, these producers donít book the difficult voice talents again unless they really have to.  

IT'S ABOUT CUSTOMER SERVICE!


If customer service isn't at the top of your list for voice over career success, then it should be. Yet itís still being missed by some.  

If you wake up in the morning, brush your teeth and stare in the mirror and claim "The world owes me a living" and that "My voice is so fantastic that my clients will get what I give them," or "Itís my rules, they do what I say!" - then there is a chance you will experience a shorter and less financially rewarding career.  

When you get that new client and you enjoy that work, you want to hang on to them. You need that repeat customer. So you gotta look after them. And are some pointers for that ...

1. Be Helpful.

If the script comes in and itís not grammatically correct, maybe point out the mistakes and see if you can do another read-through before the recording starts, just to be 100% sure this is the way they would like the script.  

2. Do The Odd Freebie (scowls from the back, no doubt).

Say you get a nice email from a student at media college who is finishing a project, and they need a voice. So why not do it?

Who knows, they may just remember you in the future. You never know where it might lead. But it actually doesnít have to lead anywhere. If you can help someone out for one minute of your time, then why wouldnít you?

There are plenty of other jobs where people do favors but have to labor for a few hours for it to make a difference. Yet we can jump in the booth for two minutes and help a show sound more professional, help someone trying to get on the entertainment ladder, or even just provide a funny voice for a best man's speech.

Caution: Donít let them come back every 12 months for more freebies. ;-)  

3. Offer To Read A Sample Before They Book You.

I do this a lot: read one or two sentences of the proposed script, and send it back to the client.

You can do this to check if you are right for the job. Is your voice right for their brand? Donít take the money unless you are right for it.  

4. Know Your Limits.

Donít do every job.

I spent some time with Anna Parker-Naples in L.A. in 2015, and she is an awesome audiobook narrator. I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for people in that field. Itís a long process, and to be honest, my concentration threshold is quite short so I turn down those jobs.

Most audiobook narrators have a background in acting, and there are far better people available to do it than me.

The same for coaching. Iíll throw suggestions out that work for me, but there are far better and more experienced people to guide others on voice technique. I can guide someone to deliver it like me, but you need to be guided to deliver as you.  

So, know your limits.

5. Be Selective With Pay-To-Play Auditions

Picking through the jobs carefully on the online casting (pay-to-play) sites can deliver great rewards.

Donít audition for everything. I find myself deleting more potential jobs than ones I audition for. Only go for the ones you feel your are really really sure about.

Why? Imagine being the producer faced with 70 auditions for a national TV spot, for £75, and you are looking for a male in his 60ís. That producer will sift through 30 auditions of a 30 year-old trying to sound older. Let it go. They will remember you if you wasted their time!

6. Talk About Payments Last.

With good reputable clients, I tend to agree on the fee at the start but then say, "Weíll sort out payments once you are happy with the recording." This takes the pressure off them a little.

However, there are some clients you may want to get payment from up front. For instance, jobs that come from Hotmail addresses or companies that donít have websites often ring alarm bells.

Company Check is a great website for researching a company. Itís free, and tells you how companies are doing financially. You can pay an annual fee for more detailed account info. But to check if the company has money in the bank, itís a pretty good free tool.  

7. Fix It For Free.

Tell your good client, "If there is anything not quite right, then let me know as soon as possible so I can fix it for you."

Make the client feel good so that they wonít have to try and make a bad or obvious edit for the sake of asking you to correct a phone number.

I know some people will be reading this who charge for everything, but itís all about balance.  

8. Be Available.

If someone wants it same day, then why not be flexible and try to achieve it? Or if you canít, then make it clear from the beginning and offer a solution.

Offer up other voices instead if you are not going to be around. They will respect that and remember you.  

Also invest in gear to make yourself as connectable as possible.
  • Can the client listen in by Skype? Yes.
  • Can they direct by IP? Yes.
  • Can we listen in by phone? Yes.
The technology is out there to make it possible. The help is also out there to get you set up right. Sure, you may have to pay a day rate to an engineer to spend a few hours at your place to get you set up, but youíll make that back very quickly on the job you nearly lost because you couldnít allow them to direct you by their preferred means.  

9. Tidy the file.

I entered into a Facebook discussion on this recently. Not everyone wants you to do it, I agree. But why not ask?

If you can help the client, this can only be a good thing. If you can save someone time, theyíll respect that.

We deal with audio all day, however a lot of video or graphic producers donít. I work pretty fast with digital editing and can do breath and tidy a file in roughly the same amount of time it takes to listen back to check for mistakes. This is a combination of hotkeys and tricks during recordings to make spotting obvious mistakes after in the waveform.

Ok, Iím a geek. But help is available. In quiet periods, practice editing. Hotkeys will save you time.  

10. Make Paying Easy.

Can they pay by Pay Pal? Can they use a credit card? Western Union? Or some other way that is convenient for them?

Yes, itís getting more competitive in our business - but hold on to your clients and youíll survive.
-------------------
ABOUT GUY
UK-based voice actor Guy Harris is heard worldwide on TV, radio, web videos, apps and virals, and was the UK's 2014 VOX Awards winner for Best Male Voice Over Performance. He was also a finalist nominee in three categories for the 2015 Voice Arts Awards: Outstanding Radio Commercial - Best Voiceover; Outstanding Commercial Demo Reel - Best Voiceover; and Outstanding Animation Demo Reel - Best Voiceover. Booking and voicing up to 20+ jobs a day, his client base spans the globe - making client retention a key in his business model.


Email: guy@voiceoverguy.co.uk
Web: www.voiceoverguy.co.uk

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Comments (4)
Rick Lance
5/4/2016 at 10:49 AM
Good advice worth being repeated.... again... and again... and again... and...
Hubert Williams
5/4/2016 at 5:37 AM
Very good and helpful article, Guy. Thanks for posting.
j. valentino
5/3/2016 at 6:01 PM
Good tips. The reason "We are now working in a more competitive industry than ever before. Every day more people are getting into this industry" is because there are so many articles like this that give away all the secrets for free!
Howard Ellison
5/3/2016 at 4:43 AM
Absoluuutely, Guy. And you get all those awards. Says it all.
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