Best Practices for Communicating with Clients
Author Theo Gold said, “Communication is your ticket to success if you pay attention and learn to do it effectively.” This could not be more true for communicating with clients, especially when you’re a business owner.
No matter how great your products or services are, your chances of finding success as a business are slim if you are not effectively communicating with your clients.Thankfully, there are a lot of strategies and tools available in today’s day and age to help you with this.
Read on to discover what they are, and to learn about some of the do’s and don’ts of dealing and communicating with your clients.
Client communication in today’s times
Communication has rapidly evolved in recent years. Before, businesses were used to doing everything under the usual 9-5, in-office setup. But now, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have opened up to the opportunities that remote work has to offer.
This has affected different structural processes, especially communication with your clients. Despite not being in the same office or space, tech has made it possible to connect you and your clients. Additionally, it’s not just about how easy connecting with clients is now – it’s also about the surplus of ways you can do so.
Most businesses use both synchronous and asynchronous work as they are equally important. On one hand, you have synchronous channels like video calls that allow for more personal, real-time communication. On the other, asynchronous channels like messaging and sending files allow for teams to work when it’s most convenient for them.
Finding the balance between the two is essential to effective communication, and can affect how you choose which remote work tools you’ll use. Of course, this also depends on what each project calls for, and what your client prefers.
Some clients stick to Google Suite for sending deliverables, having online meetings, and sending instant messages . Others prefer using a messaging app like Viber for communicating while still sending documents via email.
Then, there are applications like Rock that combine messaging and task management into one platform. There are also tools that can help you better track meeting notes or even record them, such as Fireflies.Ultimately, it’s not how many tools you use, but which ones you and your clients are comfortable using.
Why is effective client communication important?
The most important thing when it comes to client communication isn’t the messaging platform you use; it’s understanding why you need to properly communicate in the first place. The answer to that is simple – it makes life easier for both you and your clients.
With effective communication, you are able to build trust, which is one of the fundamental needs of any good business relationship. Building trust helps assure your clients that you have their best interests at heart, and that they can rely on you to be their partner.
And what happens when a lot of clients trust you? You establish your credibility. It helps you grow your business, lets you genuinely connect with clients, and demonstrates why you deserve their loyalty.
In the day to day aspect of working, it also streamlines your work processes. Effective and clear communication means being on the same page at all times, and cutting out unnecessary back and forths that waste everyone’s time.
Additionally, you can avoid possible setbacks by simply knowing how to communicate with clients. Some examples of these include having delays in your project, having tension with your clients because they’re unhappy with your service, and ultimately, losing clients from poor management.
The do’s and don’ts of client communication
Now you know all about the importance of effectively communicating with each client, as well as how tech can help you with it. The next step is actually putting this knowledge into practice. To help you out, we’ve listed down five things you should do, and five things you shouldn’t, to master effective client communication.
1. Do actively listen
This may sound like something very basic, but it’s still a necessary reminder. When you’re talking to your client, don’t get comfortable with doing all the talking. Give them opportunities to talk, and when they do, actively listen.
This means you’re not just listening so you have something to reply back; you’re listening so that you can get to know them better – their needs, the challenges they are facing, and what they want out of your partnership.
Active listening is the only way to truly be on the same page as your client. It also enriches your partnership because it encourages honesty, collaboration, and mutual understanding.
2. Don’t make it all about you
Any partnership is a two-way street, which means it’s a balance of giving and taking. With that being said, don’t just focus on your perspective or your ideas. It’s okay to give your client recommendations based on your expertise, but it doesn’t mean you should dismiss their opinions.
The key is to collaborate with them, and to share ideas and recommendations together. Work on how these ideas can complement each other. If your ideas are too different, find a way to compromise. At the end of the day, the partnership will only thrive if both parties are happy with its direction.
3. Do respect your client’s time
There’s a saying that “time is gold,” and it rings true especially when it comes to business. Time is something that you can’t get back, which is why it’s important to respect your client’s time. Make it a habit to honor your commitments and avoid being late, whether that’s for showing up in meetings or submitting deliverables.
Effective communication comes into play here, because respecting their time also means communicating more efficiently. The best way to do this is by first choosing the right communication channel.
For example, don’t schedule a meeting if you can just send an email or assign a task and get the same result. Being intentional when you communicate with clients shows them that you take your partnership seriously, and it can eventually help you build rapport over time.
4. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries
Communicating with your client to set boundaries is one of the first things you should do for any project. Setting boundaries helps you and your client know what to expect from each other. This applies to things like the project’s scope of work, or even things like your working hours.
When it comes to communication, this also means that you should take on a professional tone at all times. You might have a number of casual conversations with your client every now and then, but you should still keep that professional boundary intact.
Setting boundaries will help you stay on track of your project and maintain a pleasant but professional relationship.
5. Do document as much as possible
Properly documenting project details is just as important as knowing what to say to your clients. Doing so has multiple benefits: it helps align everyone on the team, even those who can’t attend all the meetings, it makes it easier for your clients to review everything you’ve agreed on, and it helps avoid miscommunication.
Furthermore, taking down notes can give you important takeaways on the needs and preferences of your clients.
6. Don’t be a yes-man
Every business wants to make each of their clients happy. That’s not a bad thing, but it becomes problematic if you find yourself becoming a yes-man. Always remember that your client is working with you for a reason. It’s because you have something to add to their business – something that can help them grow – so don’t just agree to all of their ideas right away.
You have to be open to your client’s ideas without being afraid to challenge them. This is one example of ways your client communication skills will be put to the test. The key is talking to them in a respectful manner, whether or not you disagree with them.
7. Do practice transparency
Being dishonest when you’re communicating with your client is one way to break their trust. Always practice being transparent, even when it’s a difficult conversation.Give updates as necessary, even without them needing to ask. Don’t beat around the bush when talking to them either – favor being straightforward, clear, and direct.
8. Don’t make promises you can’t keep
This point is somehow connected with the previous one. It’s natural to want your client to be happy, but making false promises isn't the right way to do it. Don’t give guarantees on things you aren’t sure of, whether it’s related to project results or the level of service you can provide. That’s one sure way of souring the partnership. Best to just be realistic and be honest.
9. Do ask for feedback
Whether you’re communicating with design clients or any other type of client, it’s best to ask them for feedback.
For example, ask them what they think about the communication tools you use in the partnership. You can also ask them for feedback when it comes to your ways of working, especially with your manner of communication.
Doing this encourages open communication, which is valuable in building trust in a good working relationship. It also helps you be a better communicator and a better business partner.
10. Don’t forget to use effective communication tools
There are so many tools that can help you practice effective communication with clients. Aside from different messaging apps, there are now all-in-one productivity tools that provide multimodal communication. This refers to apps that house different types of communication channels, be it instant messaging, calls, tasks, notes, and files.
One example is Rock, which can help you easily switch between asynchronous and synchronous communication without losing track of any information. By leveraging tech, you and your client will be able to have faster and more seamless ways of connecting.
These are just some of the do’s and don’ts you should remember when communicating with clients. Putting them into practice increases your chances of finding success – both for you and your client. It also has other benefits to it, like making conflict resolution easier and helping you easily build solid relationships founded on trust.
These tips aren’t limited to just business to client communication either. You can also apply them to client to client communication, or business to business communication. Whatever the case, these tips are bound to help you better connect, engage, and understand your business partners.
If you’re looking for the perfect application to help you perfect your client communication skills, Rock might just be the perfect app for you!
The benefits of using Rock for client communication
Rock is an all-in-one messaging app that promotes a more asynchronous way of working. Rock empowers remote and distributed teams to be more productive by providing full-fledged project management functionality in one place.
With Rock, client communication will be easier than ever. The platform is asynchronous by default, but also comes with synchronous options such as video calls and chat. This gives you the flexibility to communicate however you prefer.
Furthermore, Rock integrates with other programs like Zoom, Google Suite, Dropbox, Figma, and Adobe Creative Cloud to simplify your workflow. No more dizzying switches between multiple platforms!
Another key feature of Rock is how it makes task management more efficient. You get to export, create, and track tasks with ease. You can also assign tasks to people and stay updated on their movements in relation to your project. Plus, labels, comments, and attachments can be added to each task in a matter of seconds.
When it comes to keeping note of your projects and collaborations, Rock streamlines everything. The platform allows you to work and communicate with anyone – both inside and outside of your organization.
Simply create different Spaces for your teams! Also, one of the best parts about this is that you get to invite as many collaborators as you need to; there’s no limit for it at all.
Overall, these features make sure that everyone on the team is on the same page, and that communicating about the project doesn’t have to be complicated.