Communication is key to building a productive relationship with your clients. Every successful company has invested in this department in one way or another. The amount of work and resources you put into your communication strategy will determine your success as a business. The better you interact with your customers, the stronger your relationship, and that can translate to more revenue.
Remember, clients, choose your services because they believe you can help them. However, if your communication leads to more problems, they’re likely to walk away. Therefore, you must prioritize this sector to compete with the best in the market. The main benefits you’re likely to enjoy include strong client trust, enhanced accountability, and better expectation alignment.
As technology advances, new ways of accomplishing old tasks emerge, and communication is no exception. Call Cowboy and other virtual phone system providers, for instance, make it easier for you to create a call system platform. There are many other innovative features and methods that you can use to supercharge your communication style. This article will cover some of the most effective tips to consider.
1. Work On Establishing A Human Connection
Communication in any sector, whether social or business-related, can only be made stronger when there’s a real human connection. Technology has made it easier for companies to interact with their clients. However, many managers have misused these benefits. The main objective of technology is to enhance communication and not to replace one-on-one interaction.
Some business discussions are better done through video calls or one-on-one meetings rather than text messages. Using these channels will make it easier for both parties to understand each other. Your client will also feel more appreciated and part of the project. Text messages are also useful, but they can spike a series of misunderstandings if you’re not careful.
A virtual mailbox solves the problem. If you don’t need the extra features of a virtual office, this is a simpler solution for having mail and deliveries routed to a convenient location for you.
With a digital mailbox, your business receives its regular mail digitally, with the service opening and scanning your mail and sending it to you via email. Most of these providers also allow mail and packages to be forwarded to a local address so you can pick up the ones you need to have in your hands.
But keep in mind that using video calls or opting for one-on-one meetings doesn’t automatically fix your communication. You still need to make use of your communication skills—both verbal and non-verbal. The only reason why these channels are the best is that it’s easier to employ those skills when both parties can see or listen to each other.
Another way of establishing and strengthening that human connection is by making conversations enjoyable. You’re more likely to understand your client better when they feel at ease with you. It’s your responsibility to make them feel appreciated and unjudged.
So, make sure you’re friendly and approachable from the word go. Showing a positive attitude in conversations will also make the client enjoy the interaction, and they won’t dread an upcoming meeting with you.
2. Understand Your Clients’ Preferred Communication Channels
Perhaps one factor that many startup chief executive officers (CEOs) overlook is their clients’ preferences when it comes to communication. For instance, you might be comfortable with email communication, but your client prefers video calls. Inasmuch as your company policies are important, your client’s needs should also be prioritized where necessary.
How will you learn about your customer’s preferences? There is no one-size-fits-all here, but the best way is to inquire at the outset. The moment you send your proposal or respond to that initial booking message, be sure to ask them how they’d like you to send future updates. Never assume they prefer emails just because that’s what they used in your first interaction.
While at it, make sure you mention all the communication methods you currently use or prefer. It’s essential that you come to a consensus about which channel to use so that neither party will be uncomfortable during important meetings. Nevertheless, you should be flexible enough to match your client’s preferences.
It’s worth noting, though, that choosing a preferred communication platform doesn’t necessarily mean you stop using the rest. For instance, if the client is comfortable with video calls, that’s not to say you shouldn’t send emails whenever necessary. Some updates don’t require long calls, especially if you had already talked about them in your previous meeting.
That said, it’s imperative that you limit the number of platforms you use so that you’ll not have many conversations left hanging. Having one or two channels for this task also makes it easier for you to go through the interaction history when needed.
3. Use Modern Technology
There is no doubt that modern technology has taken over the world of technology. Unfortunately, many business owners still struggle to get the best out of all innovative features presented to them.
For instance, there are some companies that still use manual dialing systems even now when auto-dialers have flooded the market. To understand how these automated dialing solutions work, check out this link.
Another tech-related feature that should be on your priority list is a mobile app. Communication with your clients is more streamlined when you have everything in one place. Customized mobile apps make this possible by allowing you to integrate native communication features such as phone calls and short message service (SMS).
4. Schedule Meetings Based On Your Clients’ Preferences
Time is of the essence, but that doesn’t apply solely to your business. It’s very important that you schedule your meetings according to the client’s time. Remember, they’re also running their businesses elsewhere. Therefore, it’s only ethical of you to ask them when they’re free or ready for the next meeting. Take note of that time and record it in your schedule. After all, you’re the one who should be flexible enough to accommodate your customers.
Apart from the time factor, the client’s personal preferences should also be part of your priority list. It’s important to remember that not all clients are willing to hold meetings frequently. Some would rather attend one meeting a week, while others have no issue with daily conversations.
So, as you inquire about the client’s preferred communication channel, ask them how many meetings they’re willing to attend per given period. From there, you can both plan your schedules and set your calendars. Having such plans and consistent contacts can make your customers feel that their needs are taken care of.
5. Prioritize Transparency
Perhaps one thing that has destroyed many businesses is the lack of transparency. Being honest in your dealings builds and strengthens customer loyalty. Every individual would like to be involved with a brand whose operations are clear-cut and well-known to the public. So, your first step towards transparency is to come clean about what you can and cannot provide. There should be no ambiguities when it comes to meeting the client’s expectations.
Honesty should prevail in every meeting you hold with the client. For instance, if they inquire about your company’s financial situation, make sure to state it as clearly as possible. Doing so will ensure that the client walks out of the meeting knowing exactly what’s in store for them.
Remember, this applies whether you’re delivering bad news, good news, or no news. Your transparency will build trust, which is very crucial for the success of any business. If a project is delayed, contact the client as soon as possible so they’ll be aware before the deadline. Waiting until your next meeting for you to deliver the news will only make things worse.
6. Send An Agenda Before The Meeting
What do you intend to discuss in the next meeting? It’s essential that you become purposeful when planning any meetings with your clients. Setting an agenda before contacting the customer helps with your preparation. For instance, if you’re planning to discuss some financial changes in the current project, be sure to send the agenda to the client.
Giving the client an idea of what you’re planning to discuss will help them prepare for the meeting as well. If it’s something that requires a little research, they’ll spend their free time doing that. As such, the meeting will run smoothly without unnecessary delay.
During the meeting, be sure to note down whatever is being discussed. This is crucial, especially if you’re holding a one-on-one conversation. You can record the discussion for reference if the communication is through a video or voice call. At the end of the meeting, it’s good practice to compile everything that was taken up, write a recap and send it to the client. This creates a record of the conversation and can be referenced later if needed.
7. Ask Questions When Necessary
The easiest way to supercharge your client communication is by asking questions in a straightforward manner. A good communication strategy is where both parties understand each other at the end of the meeting. A situation where one party doesn’t contribute to the discussion can lead to misunderstandings.
To ensure that your meetings are interesting and engaging, it’s imperative that you ask relevant questions. Such questions don’t only make the meeting productive but also help clarify any unclear statements. At the end of the day, you’ll be on the same page as your client. Don’t make assumptions if you’re not sure about the specific details of the project. Doing so can have a significant impact on the whole project and your reputation in the market.
While at it, make sure you also answer the client’s questions accordingly. Making your answers as clear as possible will get rid of any doubts and unnecessary assumptions. Remember, every client prefers working with a contractor who is straightforward when answering important questions.
8. Set Expectations Right From The Start
Communication isn’t all about the conversations that transpire during meetings; it’s more than that. Your tone of communication affects your interaction with clients from the beginning until the end of projects. Therefore, the tone that you set on the first day is what the client will expect throughout your relationship.
That said, it’s important to set expectations during your first meeting. With this, the rest of your conversations along the way won’t be mired with disappointments. So, how do you set expectations, and how do you communicate them to your client?
Again, there’s no cut-and-dried rule when it comes to relaying your expectations. All you need to do is let the clients know what to expect from you in terms of service delivery and timing. Many business managers get excited by the fact that they’ve won the contract and end up setting unachievable goals.
For instance, if you’re given a contract to renovate a house, it’s imperative that you set reasonable deadlines. Letting the client know that you’ll be done with the project within one week yet your resources cannot sustain that speed is a blunder. It’d be better to be honest about your speed and any setbacks that you anticipate. Doing so will control the client’s expectations.
9. Set Boundaries As Early As Possible
Another factor that affects client communication is personal boundaries. Many managers don’t give this aspect the seriousness it deserves and end up being a nuisance. It’s vital that you discuss your boundaries and the client’s boundaries early enough, especially if it’s a long-term project.
For example, if you don’t work on weekends because of religious or personal reasons, make that clear early enough. How’s this relevant to client communication? A client who respects your privacy and personal time will take this into consideration when scheduling any meeting.
Therefore, if there’s something that they’d like to communicate with you, they’ll choose a more suitable time to contact you. The same applies to lunch-hour and late-night calls. Scheduling meetings at your preferred times is vital because it allows both parties to give their total concentration on the subject matter.
Client communication is vital to the success of your business. Therefore, you must supercharge this department if you’re looking to compete with the best brands in the market.
Your first step should be selecting the best communication channel. You must do this based on the client’s preference. Prioritizing transparency, setting boundaries, and using modern technology are other factors that should be on your to-do list.
During meetings, ensure you ask and answer questions accordingly to avoid misunderstandings. There are many other ways of supercharging your client communication, but the ones discussed above should be among your priorities.