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There’s no B2B or B2C – there is only person to person. Every business relationship is just that: a relationship. Client communication is an integral part of every business, no matter the size, in every industry. So, what do we need to keep in mind when communicating with our clients? How do we build that particular level of trust that leaves clients wanting to work with you above others – and keep working with you?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind that will ensure your clients develop a certain level of trust and respect with you rather quickly – which are key components to foster any successful, long lasting relationship! [Debbie, please come back, we’ve changed!! We’re a wreck without you]
#1: Learn Your Client’s Communication Preferences
Some clients like to email, some like to text, some like to hop on the phone, some like you to shine a signal in the sky and meet them on a rooftop – learn what your client likes, and match your communication style to their preference. Not only does this make things easier on the client – it will also increase response times on their end, allowing you to get the information you need in a timelier manner.
#2: Be Consistent
Trust is the building block of any relationship. Gaining trust with your client is crucial: the best way to do this is to remain consistent. If a client requests something the next day and you provide it no problem, but then on the next request you say it will take a week, they may be confused. You need to remain consistent, so they know what to expect from you, and truly build that trust.
This also applies to your response time and frequency of communication. Whether you decide to always be on email, or give yourself a 48-hour response time, choose early and stick with it. Clients will start to expect this after a time, and it makes the relationship that much smoother. They’ll find comfort that you’re the constant in their sure-to-be crazy days managing their own businesses!
Consider having an overall “Touch Base” meeting, either virtually or in person, in consistent intervals during your business relationship. These intervals can adjust based on how many projects you have open with your client, but meeting every week, every other week, or once a month, strengthens your relationship and ensures that both parties get face-to-(maybe virtual)face time on a regular basis.
#3: Keep Emails Simple, Concise, & Organized
I hope this email finds you well in these unprecedented times what lovely weather we’re having omg I hear you.???? I see you. ???? I support you. ???? YOU ???? ARE ???? VALID.♥️ ♥️
You can be kind and cordial always, but don’t waste a client’s time. Email communication should be simple, concise, and organized – every time. It helps to use bolded headers, bullet points, and color-coding/highlighting for emails that include a lot of information. For example, if you’re setting up a new campaign, you can have a bulleted list that outlines the creative deliverables, the campaign timeline, and a third list for immediate next steps. These three lists will be easier for your client to digest over a long, lengthy paragraph.
#4: Answer Questions Before They’re Asked
Anticipating and serving a clients’ needs is the name of the game. Sending an email or leaving a voicemail? Think of any follow up questions that a client may have and answer them right there on the spot. The best response you can get from a client is “Thanks!” – meaning, they received all the information they need from you at this time. If you are having a hard time guessing the client’s questions, maybe have a coworker read your email before sending and see what questions they may have. It’s easy to get tunnel vision in your communications when you’re the main point of contact all day every day with a client!
#5: Keep it Real.
Remember how trust is the foundation? We don’t need to sugarcoat anything here – it’s business. If you need to deliver some not-so-awesome news, like how a due date may be missed or costs are proving to be higher than expected, keep it real with your clients. Lay out the entire situation that you are dealing with and explain why the situation occurred the way it did. Your client will respect your honesty, over being given the run-around.
Talking about money? It’s cool – your clients know they are paying you. If you keep your rates and any hard costs that may incur transparent to your client, the client will be more likely to pay invoices on time and without trying to negotiate rates after the project/service has been completed. [sidenote: always check for Mr. Monopoly on the bills MACLYN copywriters pay bets with]
Show the client your true self. People like to work with people they connect with. Often times when working with clients, we want to show them how professional and perfect we are, but that tends to drive more a divide between you and your client. If you allow yourself to break free of how you “should” act, and simply weave in your personality with your professionalism, the client relationship will be quickly bound and built to last.
Of course, every client is different, and every client relationship should be considered when determining the best methods of communication. But with these tips in mind, you should have a good start. By building a solid rapport with your client, you’re forging not only a long-term business relationship, but a partnership built to last.
Written by: Carly Slomski, Account Executive