Communication is Key: 8 Ways to Improve Communication with Your Clients
Your clients are important. Without them, you wouldn’t even have a business in the first place. If you have a service-based business, communication with your employees is critical. It is this communication that keeps your business alive and well. When your communications suffer, you are at risk for losing customers, making fewer sales, and having less follow-ups. And when these things happen, you end up needing to spend more money in marketing to gain back new clients. The next thing you know, your revenue and profits are taking a serious hit. Already, a huge amount of working capital spent while settling up the setup of the business in the beginning or day to day operations. Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your client meetings.
If you are running a larger operation, you probably have employees who interact with customers on a regular basis. Don’t send your employees out there to meet with clients without letting them know what’s expected of them. Instead, it is imperative that you provide training, and set clear guidelines for your employees to follow. This way, your employees know exactly how to prepare for, and how to act in, any meeting. It is also important that you set clear rules and expectations for how email communications should be handled. When everyone knows how to act, and what to do, it greatly reduces the risk for confusion for clients. So, in case one of your clients is suddenly interacting with a different employee than they usually work with, the experience will still be the same.
Do Your Homework
Don’t walk into a meeting blind. Before you meet with new, or potential, clients, make sure that you do your homework first. Research everything you can about the client and their specific needs. This way, you are familiar with them before you even meet them. Even with longstanding clients, it is important to look over their files, and even speak with other employees who may have already worked with them.
It could also be helpful to give new (and potential) clients a little homework of their own. Create a general questionnaire for them to fill out, which will enable you to get a better understanding of their needs. And, finally, make sure that you take the time to have a really good discussion with your clients, no matter if they’re new, or if they’ve been with you for years.
While knowing your client is important, it is also essential that you are knowledgeable of the products and services that your business provides. Know what they are and how much they cost. It can also be very helpful to know how long it will take for products or services to be delivered to your clients. Can’t remember everything off the top of your head? That’s okay. Write the information down somewhere and have it readily available. In the event that you need to communicate information through emails, be brief and to the point. You don’t want them to feel like you’re wasting their time.
Schedule Regular Communications
You want your company to be on your client’s mind. How do you do this? Develop a system of communication. Frequently this is done by email. Your communications can help to keep your clients informed and feel connected. One way in which you can do this is by emailing information about sales and/or promotions, which can aid in getting your clients back in the door. You can have the sales team reach out to clients around the time you would expect your services to be needed again. Social media is also an easy way to communicate regularly with your clients. With social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you can provide regular updates about new products and services, sales, promotional deals and general happenings, and will keep your company at the top of the feed.
Consider Their Comfort Zone
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to how they like to communicate. It is very important that you take your client’s comfort zone into consideration when it comes to how, and when, to contact them. While some clients may hint at how they like to communicate, others may not. In this instance, you may need to ask them outright. By communicating in a way that is comfortable for them, you can greatly improve your relationship with them.
There are a number of different ways in which clients may prefer to communicate. Some like an old-fashioned phone call, while others like to communicate through email. Some like social media, while others like video conferencing. UberConference provides online video conferencing software that enables you to easily meet with your clients whether it’s from your desktop in the office or your cellphone on the road. And, you can easily schedule meetings by selecting your clients and the time you want to meet. You can customize your hold music, record meetings for later review, and there’s no need for a PIN.
Add a Personal Touch
A personal touch can make a major difference in the experience your clients have. Even the smallest of gestures can let your clients know that you care. But it’s all in the thoughtfulness of the act. For instance, a handwritten note thanking the client for their business can be effective, but it shouldn’t be a generic note with just their name written on the top. Let your client know that you were really paying attention, and you truly appreciate them.
Disagreeing with a client can seem like a frightening concept. After all, you want them to be happy. By disagreeing, it might seem like you’re insulting them. However, if you agree with them, even though you know their idea won’t turn out well, you are knowingly letting them make a mistake that could ruin them. It is your job to steer your clients in the right direction, but it should be done gently. Provide substantial information to back up what you have to say. But don’t force it on them. It needs to be presented in a way that lets your clients come to the decision on their own. With the right tactics, a disagreement can actually let your clients know you care.
How can you know what you’re doing right, and what you’re doing wrong, if no one ever tells you? There’s no way to improve meetings with your clients without feedback. Make it a habit to get feedback from your clients. This can be done with a questionnaire or a follow up phone call. Feedback is a valuable tool in enabling you to have the best possible client meetings.
Losing a client can hurt, especially when it’s one that you’ve had a longstanding relationship with. If it happens, it is important to take a step back and determine why it happened in the first place. Did it have something to do with communications? If so, it’s a relatively simple fix. And by taking the time to correct what went wrong, you can improve your client meetings, keep them happy, and retain their business.
Abut the Author: Norah Abraham has been a freelance writer since 2005. She attended the University of Boston and graduated with a Bachelor in English Literature. She loves public speaking and motivates people in her own comic style. She loves gadgets and techie stuffs. In her career, she has written dozens of Press Releases, Articles, and Essays. You can follow her on Google+ and Twitter.
Edited by Mandi Nowitz