If you provide services to clients who run a business that depends on the outcome of your services things can get pretty emotional and misunderstood really quickly. Very often, because of misunderstandings, the quality of the project that is in the works might decrease to a level that the end result won’t be satisfying for both parties. One day, your client might love what you have done so far, and the other they can’t the stand the sight of it. This might lead to serious turmoil and to the appearance of new obstacles on the way to the finish line.
Hence, building a relationship based on great communication with your client is integral for the collaboration and the project to be successful. How you communicate with your client is how the finished product will turn up to be. That is why today I am writing about the importance of this relationship by offering some advice on how to achieve a healthy and productive relationship with your clients.
Have the Basic Rules Established
Before you start dealing with any clients you need to prepare a set of guidelines for proper communication for the teammates and yourself. Working out on such guidelines will not only make it easier for everyone on the team to know how to communicate with the client but also it will establish a professional way of communicating with the clients, which will help make your brand trustworthy and reliable. You can even brainstorm and have all the team members participate in the session by giving out ideas on the best way to talk to the clients.
Some of the guidelines we follow in our team are politeness, openness, and simple and straight-to-the-point messages. We also encourage questions and tend to answer them by giving precise and concise answers by explaining in familiar analogies so that the client can be on top of the project at all times.
Keep Relevancy as a Priority
Another thing before you get in touch with the client is to know what you can offer them — and present this in a straightforward manner. In this way, your client will know what to expect from you and there will be no doubts or hidden truths along the way. You can even brag about your accomplishments but only if you have arguments to support your statements. The single reason the client will choose to work with you is that you are relevant to them, so you must take this quality as a priority.
Be in Constant Scheduled Contact
In order to have successful results, both of you must be regularly engaged in schedules meetings where you will catch them up with the way the process is developing. You can provide them information tete a tete, via Skype call or in a detailed email message, depending on your previous deal. Sometimes, if there are urgent matters that need to be taken care of, you must take into consideration the time/time zone they are in and decide how you will contact them. On the other hand, make sure they respect your non – working time whereas it is your responsibility to be available at all time while you are working.
Give the Communication a Personal Touch
People are not computers, so communication shouldn’t be cold, computerised and strict all the time. That being said, you should never underestimate the power of the personalised message. You can always send them a handwritten note to thank them for the mutual trust you have been building in the period of working together or you can send them an email with a link to an article they would find useful. It will leave a good impression and it might lead to developing an even stronger business relationship. Keep in mind that generic notes where only the name of the recipient is changed are not going to do wonders for the business atmosphere between the two parties, so try to avoid sending them.
Disagree the Right Way
Of course, you can’t agree with everything your client wants or says. Disagreeing is a very normal part of the process; one can say it is even necessary for the successful development of the project. However, how you tackle the situation is very important. So far, you might have pushed back their ideas thus insulting them or you have agreed with time even though you knew that what they won’t be right for their business. So, what is the best thing to do? My advice is to gently provide as much info as you can and explain to them why you don’t think that will be the right next step of the process. Provide them plenty of facts and figures that will support your opinion and let them consider and reflect on the received feedback. Don’t force them your ideas, but explain to them why you think your ideas will result in success. If you disagree in the right way, you will prove to them that you care about their business success.
Apart from asking your client for feedback on the whole process, you should also ask for feedback about the way your mutual communication is evolving. You can even prepare a questionnaire they can complete and the results will help you find out why some client stopped working with you or is dissatisfied with a certain aspect. Make it obvious to them that you are always in the mood for improvement and ready to work to get better.