Client Relationship and Communication

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April Ramos
May 2024
Client Relationship and Communication

In this article, we will share tips on communicating with clients and improving client relationships. 

We will also explore essential client communication skills and how they can benefit your company.

What Is Client Communication? 

Client communication refers to the exchange of information and feedback between a business or service provider and their clients. It encompasses various forms of communication such as emails, phone calls, meetings, and reports, and aims to ensure that clients are satisfied with the service provided. Effective client communication builds trust, fosters long-term relationships, and helps to identify and address any issues or concerns in a timely manner.

Core Client Communication Skills

The following are essential communication skills to have when working with others. The combination of these emotional and interpersonal abilities can help you hold clear and meaningful conversations.

  • Empathy - Empathy means understanding clients’ perspectives and responding accordingly. Hone this skill by considering yourself a legitimate member of your client’s team to feel more engaged with the work and evaluate every situation from their perspective. 

  • Flexibility - Adjusting to different clients is essential, including their personalities, schedules, and preferred ways to communicate with customers. Be flexible to make your clients comfortable and strengthen the relationship. For instance, some clients may treat you like a co-worker by sharing personal stories, while others prefer discussing business only. 

  • Patience - Patience can reward your business with increased client satisfaction, better sales, and positive recognition. Don't rush the process. Take the time to fully understand the client's vision, enabling you to develop the proper solution for them. This may require addressing multiple rounds of questions or adjusting proposals, the key to success in these areas is patience. 

  • Transparency - Transparency sets the foundation of an honest, open, and long-lasting relationship. Tell clients what they need to know, whether it’s good or bad news. Some examples are being upfront about pricing and its changes, announcing policy changes, and letting a client know about your mistakes as soon as possible. When talking about your mistakes, remember to explain how you will resolve them. 

Best Practices for Effective Client Communication 

Now that we have reviewed some important client communication skills, let’s put those into action by following the client communication best practices below. 

  1. Maintain context-driven communication - Keeping the client communication context-driven helps avoid confusion and increases mutual respect.

  1. Communicate in definite terms - Avoid using words like "almost" or "perhaps" because they can lead to confusion, especially when discussing progress status and deadlines. State the exact information to let the clients know when or what to expect. 

  1. Give a brief explanation - Obstacles that cause project delays can happen sometimes. In this case, give advance notice that you will not meet the deadline and provide an alternative date. This will help clients readjust their schedules and keep their trust in your company. 

  1. Discuss what matters - Hold discussions on important matters and avoid fitting too much information in a single conversation as it can overwhelm clients.

  1. Listen actively - Being an active listener helps you know the client’s needs, especially during the initial inquiry. The more information you gather beforehand, the less the risk of errors and changes later in the process.

  1. Remember what clients say - Focus on the key points and remember their names. If you want to take notes, have your tools ready before the meeting begins. 

  1. Ask questions - Keep the conversation flowing and show you’re interested in the conversation by asking open-ended questions. Examples are “Can you tell me a bit more about that?” and “What did you think about the proposal?”. 

  1. Reflect on their points - After the client finished speaking, paraphrase and summarize the conversation. For instance, you might say, “In other words, what you’re saying is that you need…” to ensure you have received the correct message. 

Additionally, pay attention to non-verbal cues, like facial expressions and gestures, because they make up over 60% of communication. For example, clients rolling their eyes or glancing at their watches may indicate boredom and a lack of interest. 

During active listening, your non-verbal cues are just as important. These include nodding at key points, maintaining eye contact, and avoiding folding your arms. 

Check the Conversation Tone 

The right tone, grammar, and language structure demonstrate high-quality client communication, attention to detail, and professionalism. The tone is also important. It’s one of the essential parts of non-verbal communication, along with the volume of voice, intonation, and speed. These non-verbal cues generally say a lot about a person. For example, a strong tone of voice may indicate enthusiasm and approval, while a hesitant tone can imply a lack of interest or disapproval. 

Consider the Client’s Time 

How quickly you respond significantly affects the client’s experience, especially in the initial stages. Taking too long to reply can make the client think you’re too busy to take on a project or give them special attention. 

Decide on schedules to communicate with clients, especially when you work with international ones. Generally, the frequency depends on the length of the project. 

Don’t Make Assumptions 

The next tip for better client communication is abstaining from jumping to conclusions. These can cause misunderstanding and faulty outcomes because such assumptions are the basis of human biases. Common wrong assumptions in client communication include thinking that: 

  • Clients are aware of all our products or services. 

  • All clients understand or use the same industry terminology and jargon. 

  • The same strategies and treatment work for all clients. 

  • Cultural differences don’t significantly affect client behaviors and beliefs. 

Some reasons for underlying assumptions are when business owners think too fast, ignore data and facts, and over-rely on their own experiences. Therefore, be informed of who you’re communicating with and re-assess your beliefs about the customers. 

If you’re unsure, being open and asking many questions is better than passing judgment. Ensure you’re on the same page with clients about the metrics, goals, and jargon. It’s also essential to encourage them to ask questions if they have doubts or don’t understand something. 

Follow Up with the Client 

A follow-up's purpose is to remind clients of previous projects, achievements, or emails. A rule of thumb is to give your contacts around two to three days to answer your email. Following up too soon can make you look pushy or intrusive, and doing it too long can make the recipient lose the context. Also, find the right time to send messages and get a response. We recommend communicating with clients when they’re not busy, and their minds are uncluttered.

Why is Client Communication Important? 

Now that you know the best tips for effective customer communication, let’s discover why these practices can help you. 

  1. Project Alignment - Poor client communications often lead to delays and missed deadlines. Imagine that you’re not on the same level as your client. It may cause a lot of revisions and misunderstandings, making them unsatisfied with your service. In fact, people will stop dealing with a company if they feel it’s disorganized. That said, having an effective communication tool and maintaining context-driven communication is important. 

  1. Clients Feel Valued and Trusted - Most people research multiple companies before dealing with them, so giving them quick responses helps gain trust and respect that you’ll care about them. Actively listening to customers’ needs and problems and meeting their expectations during the project can make them feel appreciated and turn them into loyal customers. 

  1. Long-Term Business Relationships and Attracting New Clients - Making clients feel valued will guarantee loyalty because appreciation, customer service, and communication are some reasons why clients continue to do business with their partners. Happy clients can help attract new clients to you as they share their good experiences with others.

Conclusion 

Delivering excellent client communication in any form will help businesses gain trust and develop lasting connections. Self-awareness, patience, and active listening are among the essential communication skills a business needs to master. 

To communicate effectively, start by being empathetic towards clients and keeping the communication context driven. Be careful with your tone and biases to avoid misunderstandings and find the best communication tools to accommodate your needs. Additionally, constantly train your customer service agents because they’re the first touch points. 

We hope these tips will help you deliver effective client communication, gain their trust, and bring your company to the next level.