Communication is vital to building relationships with your clients. Improved communication means that a job will be better done. Through clear communication, you can provide direction and purpose, build trust, increase understanding of a client’s perspective, create accountability and, most importantly, eliminate confusion.
Communication between you and your client is vital at every stage of the relationship. When your service is first offered, you need to align your offerings with their goals. You must tell your client how you can help them. As you prepare a project proposal or work contract, you need to be clear on the project’s deliverables, budgets, and expectations. You must keep your client informed on your progress to build trust and ensure their comfort with the project. Communication is also crucial to extend your relationship with your client for future endeavours.
Eight steps you can take to improve your communication with clients.
- Establish a human connection
Business is about people and relationships, so it’s important that you not view your client as a faceless company. Try to connect with your client on a personal level so you can strengthen that relationship. Doing so will help your client to feel more valued and appreciated.
You don’t have to be best friends with your client, but interactions with you should not be seen as a chore. Regardless of who you are, you can build a bond by being friendly, approachable, and positive. On your busiest days, you should prioritize your client and give them your full attention. Creating a human connection is key to ensuring a good working relationship.
2. Schedule consistent communication
Set and maintain a consistent schedule of correspondence with your client. Learn your client’s preference and set it to daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. Establishing a consistent pattern will help ensure your client that their business is being handled and prioritized.
3. Respect your client’s time
You should never have your client feeling like their time is being wasted. If a client contacts you, answer. Not answering in a timely manner will make them more sceptical and stress them out. If you can’t reply at that exact moment, leave them a message saying that you received the message and will be answering at your earliest availability. This can reassure them that they are not being ignored.
4. Be transparent
Transparency is a critical element of good communication. Be clear and honest about what you are doing to sure up trust throughout your relationship. It is necessary to be straightforward with your client whether you’re delivering good news, bad news or no news at all. If your client doesn’t know what’s going on entirely, they may assume the worst about the job you’re doing. If you don’t have answers right away or the project is delayed, let the client know.
5. Set expectations and boundaries
While it may seem that being available to your client 24/7 is optimal, it is not always realistic. Knowing your limitations and boundaries is essential and should be communicated with your client at the onset of your relationship. If you take a month’s vacation annually and can’t be reached during that time, your client should know that. This is vital in setting expectations, which will help your client to feel more informed and prepared.
6. Set an agenda and send a recap
When it comes to communications with clients, it will behove you to be purposeful. Set an agenda and a timeline for what you want to discuss and stick to it. Get a better understanding of how your client absorbs information and tailor your presentations to satisfy that.
Once that interaction is over, send your client a recap of what was covered. A meeting recap creates a record of what was discussed and can be referenced later. It also holds everyone accountable for what they should be doing and serve as a reminder for anything upcoming.
7. Ask questions
Questions play a significant role in communication. They help you to better understand where your client is coming from and ensure that you’re on the same page. Asking questions also shows your client that you are fully engaged in the project and focused on doing the best job possible.
Ask the client. Never make assumptions if you aren’t clear about something. It’s better to ask a lot of questions instead of delivering something the client doesn’t want.
8. Ask for feedback
Asking for feedback is your best way to improve at the job you do. Asking about specific ways you can be a better partner will help you to be such. Listen if your client takes the time to provide feedback and try to incorporate it.