Communication is key – you’ve probably heard that sentence more than once in your life under various circumstances, and it’s hard to argue with it. But if you run a service-based business, communication is not only key – it’s a matter of survival.
If you don’t establish strong relationships with your clients, you may as well close your company today. And strong relationships can only be built and maintained through effective communication. It will help you keep your current clients happy, making them come back for more and recommend your services to others, no matter whether you are offering free fax cover sheets or audio equipment. But how can you achieve this?
First of all, you should determine clear and open communication channels. Then, you always need to pay attention to how you communicate; it’s vital for you to realize that it’s all about your clients, not your company or staff. You should be respectful and consistent in your calls and messages, especially if you have more than one person dealing with one client, all the while making sure you keep the perfect balance between professionality and personalized engagement. It also goes without saying that you must always meet the pre-agreed deadlines and stay open to feedback.
The following article will provide you with more specific advice on how to maintain effective communication with your clients.
Establish Clear and Open Communication Channels
There must be a single point of contact for clients to get in touch with the company. This goes for both simple and complex queries, from calling with simple order-related questions to contacting you if they need more specific information regarding your product or service. It is up to you to set up clear and open communication channels so that clients can contact you at all times, without any trouble or waiting for too long.
It’s essential to determine which channels your customers want to use in communicating with you. Do they prefer to talk via the phone, chat, or send you e-mails? That’s why you must know your target audience thoroughly. Moreover, if you provide ongoing services and need to stay in touch with your clients, you will also need to know their preferred way of communication regarding deadlines, updates, feedback, and so on.
Make Contacts Personal but Professional
Communication is all about the human touch. If you do business over the phone, try to make your conversations as personal as possible, rather than sticking to a standard greeting and conversation. This will give your clients the feeling that they can approach you directly when they need any assistance or information.
The content of communications is just as important as the fact that your customers are talking to you in the first place. You need to determine what the right attitude is – people who work with you will have different approaches to business communication, so you need to find a middle ground. However, it’s absolutely vital that you know when to take things seriously and be professional, and when to be a bit relaxed and personal.
For example, it might be a good idea to share a joke or two with a client on a regular basis, but if they e-mail you about a delicate matter, then professionalism would be more appropriate.
Be Open to Feedback
Make no mistake, you’re the expert , and you know your business best. But it doesn’t mean that you know your clients better than they do. Make sure you listen to what your clients have to say and address their needs and concerns. That’s how you’ll be able to build a long-term relationship with them.
Whenever you try to improve your services or products, always ask your clients what they think about them. Do they find them useful? Do they have any suggestions for improvement? This will not only keep your clients happy but will also allow you to improve your business and develop new strategies for better service delivery.
Communicate with Clarity and Respect
Everybody wants to be respected, especially when it comes to business relationships. In order to create and maintain effective communication, you need to make sure that you always communicate clearly and respectfully with your clients.
No matter if they’re coming to you with a simple question or they have some more substantial request, try to respond as quickly as possible, preferably within 24 hours at most. However, if the matter is urgent or requires more research, you can still make each client feel comfortable by letting them know how you’re going to address the situation: for instance, by informing them when you will get back to them or letting them know that processing their request will take longer than usual.
Don’t forget to use polite language and state clear facts, even if the message is negative. Such language is crucial in maintaining professionalism and credibility, which will help keep your clients coming back to you.
Outline How You Operate, Set Deadlines, and Stick to Them
If you fail to meet the agreed-upon deadlines, you will make your clients unhappy and might even lose them. So, it might be a good idea to let your clients know how you operate, agree on the deadlines together, and make sure you meet them. It is critical to keep yourself accountable for everything that you promise and deliver.
The most efficient way to do that is by ensuring that you have a CRM system or a project management software tool. You can then manage tasks and deliverables in a single place. It will also help you keep track of all the information shared between you and your clients.
The quality of communication with clients can make or break your business. The best way to keep your customers happy is by talking to them – listening to them, actually. After all, if your customers don’t feel respected, they will go elsewhere to get their needs met.
Building trust and long-lasting relationships is vital if you want people to return and recommend your products or services to others. Make sure you communicate clearly and respect your clients, understand their needs, and be open to feedback. This will pave the way for mutually beneficial relationships and will ensure that you build a strong and loyal customer base.