I am knee deep in clients and various projects for See Girl Work Marketing & Branding. I’ve been working on a couple of copy development assignments, web development projects and I’ve also just been retained for a complete brand identity job.
The work is starting to pick up at a steady pace and I’m interacting with various clients. A such, I wanted to talk a little bit about some tips for successful client communications.
It isn’t enough that you do good work, developing strategies for successful client communications is important for the long-term success of your business. Effective communication ensures your product or service meets your clients immediate needs and allows you to adapt and grow so you can continue to meet their needs even in the long run. In the world of mouth-to-mouth and online referrals, you always want to go the extra step in making sure your clients loves you.
1. Respond within 24 Hours
The easiest way to show clients that you care is to consistently respond to all emails or messages within 24 hours. Don’t make your client worry if their project is going to be done on time. Your reply could be as simple as, “Well received. I’ll follow up in a day or two.” Then actually follow through to respond more thoroughly at the later date.
2. Learn More About Your Clients
Take the time to get to know your clients. But don’t just ask them a bunch of intrusive, personal questions. Reveal a little something about yourself while keeping it safe ─ topics like sports or weekend hobbies ─ in order to get them comfortable with you. Ask your clients questions in the closing of your emails. Ask them what they have going on this weekend or if they caught the latest episode of your favourite television program.
3. Start Each Email with Friendly a Greeting
Speaking of emails, take the time to write a friendly intro before you dive into the specifics of the project. Even if the core of the email is “sticky,” still try to write a friendly greeting. If your client told you that they went on vacation then ask how their travels were. Or if they mentioned last week that they were sick, check in to see if they are feeling better now.
4. Send a Welcome Packet
As part of my process, I email a welcome packet. It’s nothing big and yours doesn’t have to be either. It can be as simple as a 4 page PDF document that outlines what they can expect during the project.
5. Be a Good Listener
A great way to improve client communication is to listen to what they say and then reflect their message back to them. Also called reflective listening, many of us do this in person but we often forget to follow the same pattern online.
6. Send Follow-Up Emails
Sending follow-up emails reminds your clients that you are still around. When a project is over take a few minutes to schedule in follow-up emails on your calendar at the 1, 3, and 6 month mark and yearly after that. You can pre-write a script to use with all your clients for each of these time frames and keep it in your copy + paste notebook to make it easier to manage.
7. Send a Hand-Written Thank You Card
Sending a hand-written thank you card is my absolute favourite part of successful client communications. Although there is never a bad time to send a card, consider sending a thank-you card at the beginning or end of your projects. You might even consider creating custom cards with your branding on them!
It’s completely okay and even professional to show your clients that you care and value them. Make your communication genuine by concentrating on your clients as people not projects. And remember the rule of thumb ─ the client is always right.