Effective client/customer communication can be a daunting task. As the world gets ever more complicated, knowing how and when to communicate with a client to move business forward is essential to success. I recently gave a talk about customer service and was surprised to see the amount of people who paid no real attention to this important detail. It seemed to me that they normally would do what was best for them and not for the client.
With that in mind, I shared with them some of the things I do whenever I communicate with a client:
Pay attention to time: Can you discern a pattern to what time they usually call or email you? Many people carve out blocks of time during their day to make calls and answer emails. And when you become aware of these times, you can email or call a client in that time frame and usually get a quicker response.
What’s the medium? Is your client always emailing you and you end up calling him or her back in response to the email? Perhaps you client prefers emails. As I said before, many people do what’s easier for them, but not necessarily ideal for a client. I have a one who only deals with text messages and gets quite annoyed with anything else but. It drives me crazy because I am a phone person, but I have learned to work within her preferences. On the other hand I have another client who only likes phone calls at 3:00am (he is in Europe so it’s 8:00 over there).
Keep it short. Or Long.: Is your client the pithy type? Or are they the detail type? Some clients want you to be short and to the point, while others want lots of details and personal business thrown in. Learn these traits and respond appropriately.
When all else fails, ask.: There’s no harm in asking a client how and when they are available and what their preferences are. At times, I have even sent a questionnaire to my clients asking them about their communication preferences.
If you follow these guidelines and pay attention I think you’ll find that your client not only respects you because you’ve taken the time to truly understand them, but I think you’ll find yourself closing business a lot faster.