How important is it to be a nice guy to my clients? Specifically, I'm wondering if I need to make efforts outside my work responsibility. The other option is getting the work done and leaving. The advantages of 'just getting the work done and leaving' is that there's no personal expectations and I can focus on the job. I'd like to hear from other people who may or may not have gained from certain extra niceties with regards to their clients and how it effected the project and the freelancer-client relationship.
Mutual kindness, gentleness and thankfulness is very important to keep long term good relationships with clients.
I have many clients who could go to any other freelance but they always wants me because we enstablished a good work relationship based on mutual respect, personality affinity and things that goes beyond the work task to complete.
For example sometimes clients call me or email me to ask for casual advices or opinions on something not related to work or that I may know, I'm glad to help and that takes me 5 minutes. Sometimes I do the same with them. They are small but good favours that we exhange and so on.
The result is that I get most work by word of mouth than by other means. If people are happy with you they talk about that with others.
For me is not good to work with a Sheldon-type freelance that acts like a robot and disappear, because in work too is important to have a pleasant experience if I have to deal personally with someone.
But if the goal is to "sell and disappear" because of the nature of the product I guess it can be OK too to focus only in the task with a minimum acceptable social interaction.
If you're a nice guy, clients will like you. But they also want to try to take advantage of you.
The more important is to be a professional guy. Utmost professional. When you are a professional, it means that you are also responsible, and client will like you because their project will progress and they will be often informed of the project status. However, they will probably not try to take advantage of you and if they try, they are ready to get No from you. Like asking for discount or similar things.
Being a civil and civilised person is what is required. You're not trying to date these people you're trying to help. Civility with a healthy heaping of professionalism is what works best.