You have successfully gone through the onboarding phase with your client, and now it's time to work on your project. Apart from delivering the best quality, obviously, you also have to shift your focus to something else: communication. Although it may come naturally to some people, effective communication is not as easy as we initially think — there are many steps and aspects to a successful one.
What It Takes To Be a Good Communicator
Customers are the core of any business, and yours is not an exception. Delivering a great product to them is good and all, but they value the process as much as the end product. Let's see into some tips which will help you improve:
Outline Communications Times
Even though we are focusing on customers in this article, it has to be said. You have to be clear about the exact time range when you are available to get in contact with and talk. You don't want to go around answering all the e-mails that come your way 24/7. Apart from creating a mess in your inbox, you will get tired of your work quickly. Emotional burnout is not a myth and catering to people's needs day and night is a very quick way to get one. You also want to show that you can be strict about your business hours, which means that you simply respect yourself as a person. Self-respect is an important part of your personality for every part of your life, not only work.
Work On Your Tone
When talking about customer service, your tone is the most important part of it — a foundation of every relationship you're building. You want your tone to be welcoming and friendly at all times. Imagine that you are working at a resort, and have to cater to people's needs. Every service has to be done with a smile. Don't make people feel that you are bothered by them asking questions, make them invited to interact with you instead.
Be a Good Listener
Some may be too eager to push their customers straight into buying their services, or just to proceed. Even in real life, people don't like those who can't listen to them. Active listening is something that you want to practice. Apart from asking questions and selling, be sure to actually listen and make mental or actual notes, understand what the person is saying — and then do your thing. Good listening skills are good in many ways, because some people may make a small point somewhere deep in their monologue, and it might be very important for the gig you're about to do.
Nobody likes to being pressured into practically anything, especially when they have to make a big decision. It's one of the reasons why IT sales are so slow — big decisions take big time. To build perfect customer service, give them all the information they need, consult them, answer their questions, and let them take their time. The only thing you can do is a follow-up, but they have to be well-timed, and not sent, like, every day.
Respond In 24 Hours
Being quick to respond is another skill that you have to train. Apart from being a good communication practice, it can sometimes save you a gig — if you are slow to respond, your potential contractor may find someone else for the job. With a little digression out of the way, your response time is an important part of your communication game. If you have a CRM, it is easier, as it automates all the reminders and timings for you, if not — that's not too big of a problem. You can use Notion for a quick and easy CRM system and set notifications there.
Explain In Simple Language
Chances are your client is not a technical genius, they've come to you for this, after all. When you get on a call and start spitting all the tech language at them, they may get confused quickly. Most of the clients say that they don't understand a thing about design or development in general, and they have done their site in Wix or something of that sort — it's like a math teacher who says "I'm not an artist" when drawing a circle on a board. What you want to do, is explain everything in simpler terms. When you can, use analogies, these work extremely well. It's extremely important to understand that your customer doesn't want to know each and every detail about your processes. Yes, something like tech stack and design stages may warm them up to you a little, but don't go and explain too much.
Be A Problem-Solver
We talked about it countless times, but it is important to mention it here too. Customers don't care about your product, they care about the result — how it will benefit them, and how it will solve their problem. What can we learn from this is that you have to focus on being their problem-solver. If they need a new website, be sure to break down this pain point into smaller ones, and explain how you will create a website. Research, design, development, domain, hosting, and launch. The bigger picture of this is that your customers have to feel like they are on a journey like we talked about in the resort analogy. People come there to rest after a year of hard work, so make them feel relaxed while you take care of their needs.
Always Be Personal
Every once in a while, we all stumble upon small businesses, and some of them get stuck in their head for a different reason. But the biggest one is probably that they add a very personal touch to what they do. You have to consider your clients friends and make them feel valued. If you are a big business, there is a thing that you can learn from smaller ones. There is no universal advice for adding a personal touch because the are countless industries.
Build a Relationship
All the tips have led to this — your main focus, building a long-term relationship with your client. It takes time and a lot of work to create one from scratch, but many businesses oversee the opportunity, the opportunity for future benefits. It's good to have a steady flow of clients coming your way, but can you absolutely guarantee it will stay that way? No, you can't. In fact, nobody can. That is why having client-friends is the best thing you can wish for.