Effective Tips For Communicating With Clients (No Fluff)
One of the keys to having happy clients is precise and genuine communication. Unfortunately, it is really easy to fall into pitfalls that can lower customer satisfaction, especially when giving bad news or making difficult requests. It can feel like there is no way to approach some more demanding clients, and it is often hard to connect with more distant customers. Luckily, with a bit of patience and time, you can learn to communicate with your clientele in a way that will build rapport and enhance the overall client experience. The first step in avoiding complaints and bringing in happier clients is understanding the importance of good communication.
Why is Client Communication Important?
One of the best ways to create positive customer feedback and ensure your project's success is by learning how to best communicate with clients. A few factors are involved in creating excellent communication, including employing empathy, respecting people's time, and keeping them up to date when it is most crucial. When you can respond promptly and give emergencies immediate attention, you gain the trust and loyalty of the client. Whether talking with a developer or a key stakeholder like the CEO, keeping positive and genuine client communication will help any project run smoothly while also making lifelong partnerships.
What is Client-Centered Communication?
Client-centered communication requires you to focus on making all of your decisions based on more transparent and accommodating communication methods to keep them effortlessly informed. Being client-centered in your contact methodology can mean adapting to their communication preferences, whether tone, medium, or level of detail during case updates.
Some clients will prefer weekly check-ins on their preferred messaging service, while others will want the convenience of using their internal communication tools. Whatever the client's preference, being flexible to their needs can help make future communications smoother and add a personal touch to your service.
Tips for Effective Client Communication
Communicating with your client needs to be direct, personal, and thoughtful. Many companies default to making mass updates through email or on social media such as Facebook or LinkedIn, but that simply won't cut it for getting large-scale messages out in a way that feels genuine. Taking the extra time to make all of your clients feel personally involved and heard is key in creating positive relationships. Here are some tips on how to connect more directly with your clients in a way that will grow your brand loyalty and make projects successful:
Take time to understand your client's goals
Knowing where your client is coming from, why they are reaching for their goals, and what they hope to accomplish can help you better understand how to approach a project. Knowing their chief concerns enables you to identify what parts of your project communication will be most pressing from your client's point of view. For overall project management, knowing your client's goals can also help you better set and communicate timelines in a way that will address their needs more directly. When you know what your client hopes to accomplish, you can better center your whole process from planning to communication!
Try to form an emotional connection
Finding ways to connect personally and emotionally with your clients helps them know that you respect them and value their time. Be flexible where possible, and be respectful not to push into their personal life and interrupt them after business hours when possible. When appropriate, give them handwritten notes of thanks or congratulations, and make an effort to ask them about how they and their family are doing genuinely and kindly.
Treat them like an individual
No matter whom you are talking to in a business hierarchy, whether you work in a law firm or as a service provider, the most vital thing you can do in your communication plan is remember that the person you are talking to is a person. Treat your clients like you want to be treated, with their own unique goals, needs, and preferences. Accommodate them in ways that will be fruitful for both them and your company to help create a lasting, healthy partnership.
Be open-minded and lean toward empathy
Remember that your clients are people with lives and stresses just like you at the end of the day. Be forgiving as much as possible, as long as the client isn't harming you or your company. Be open-minded when it matters. You never know why someone may have been late to your meeting or what might be causing someone to act crabby. Giving grace as much as possible can help the client do the same for you and help make difficult times much more positive for those you work with. Dealing with demanding clients can take delicate and careful steps. Here's an article for more tips on more challenging client situations.
Be clear and concise
Setting clear expectations from the beginning of exchange is crucial. Expressing the project status as concisely as possible through the communication channels that the client prefers can help convey how the project is progressing while being respectful of the client's time. Keep clients up-to-date without long, needless meetings or dozens of emails that will get lost in their inbox. Consider formatting your emails in a structured way that is an easy reference for clients. Use bullet points to help break out lists in an easy-to-read way and title emails with a format that makes them easy to search for in the future.
Mirror and match body language
Whether meeting in person or talking over a video call, one of the best ways to gain rapport is by matching and mirroring your client's body language. When you mimic someone you are talking to, doing so helps build trust with them, something we do instinctively with our friends and family members. If you have ever noticed yourself picking up on phrases or mannerisms of your close acquaintances, this is why! By consciously doing this mirroring with clients, you can build that positive feeling of respect and understanding.
Try to meet in person where possible
There are many types of communication, and it isn't uncommon for virtual messages to be misunderstood and taken the wrong way. While DMs or Slack can be great for getting quick and immediate answers, very little can replace face-to-face meetings. Communication is much clearer when with a client in person, creating strong relationships with new prospects. Meeting in person also helps facilitate more personal connections and allows you to use body language to create more genuine relationships.
Send follow-up summary emails after calls
Some clients are in meetings most of their day. While often we take notes or make mental ones, things can fall through the cracks. To help keep clients in the loop, sending them follow-up summary emails can help them have access to answer their own questions. Summaries can also precisely convey your message if it was misheard or misunderstood in meetings, preventing mix-ups that can cause frustrations in the future. Sending these summaries also solidifies that you respect your client's time while also understanding that you can absorb only so much information during a meeting!
Ask questions until you understand
Sometimes understanding a pain point or point of view can be difficult. Rather than letting it go, ask questions until you truly understand where your client is coming from. Convey that you want to fully understand their perspective, and ask questions that help you see what they are trying to express. By getting to the bottom of what the client wants or is trying to tell you, you prevent miscommunications and misunderstandings that can lead to immense frustration on the client's end further down the line.
Doing your best to express empathy and clarity in your communications with clients can help avoid significant confusion or issues later on in the project. When you take the time to genuinely listen and respond to those you work with, you can strengthen professional bonds that can last a lifetime. Using these communication methods is crucial for more difficult clients, but remember to know when to draw the line to protect yourself and your coworkers.
By fostering your professional relationships through strong interpersonal skills, you can grow your brand loyalty, create a trusting workforce, and help projects exceed client expectations. Using body language and keeping everyone in the loop, you help avoid numerous questions and miscommunications. To help you master your communication workflow, consider implementing tools that can streamline the process.
Make Connecting With Clients a Snap
Portal is a no-code customer portal that lets you offer clients a unified hub for messaging, file-sharing, eSignatures, payments, forms, and self-serve support. Portal lets you design a customized client experience that elevates your brand in all customer interactions. Try Portal for free today.