Communication is the corner stone of every modern business, just as it has been for decades previously. But, it goes beyond telecommunications between departments or even between individuals. As clients are the most important part of any business and caring for them should be top priority, keeping up a good communication with them is vital. This includes investing in new technology that makes it easier, such as video conferencing systems. Here are just a few ways you can improve the relationship between your company and its customers through good communication practices:
Define All Roles
One of the most important steps to good client communication practices is to define everyone’s role in the process. Many times, clients attempt to overstep their boundaries and start calling the shots. However, this can undermine business relationship integrity. It erodes trust very rapidly. Make sure to identify and define all roles for everyone involved, just as you would for conversational intelligence technologies. This way, there are no miscommunications down the line. This is a must for successful client communications.
Maintain Regular Contact
Obviously you will need to maintain good contact with end users during important projects, which is why it is usually recommended to virtually meet with your buyers for at least an hour every fortnight. But this Forbes article also recommends doing the same thing at times when you don’t currently have any projects with them. They suggest that since clients come to businesses looking for solutions to problems, you should instead come to them with problems before they even know they have them. For instance, if there is a news development in one of your industries, you could contact them to discuss it. If you have had a meeting with another major player in their sector, let them know about it. This is a good way to keep up repeat business as it also means that the consumer constantly has you in mind. All accounts, including offshore accounts, will see you as an expert in your field who is attentive to their needs.
Know What Channel To Use
It is absolutely imperative that if you plan to maintain regular contact with your clients, you need to know what channel to use and when. Just like social media users have to know and follow Facebook rules. Technology has unlocked so many new methods of communication. However, many still do not understand when to utilize which method. Email, direct mail, SMS, presentations, landing pages, video and statements can all be useful methods of client communication. However, landing pages require a call to action, while SMS text messaging, is much more casual. Likewise, free conference calling should only be used for professional communications. Make sure you know when to use which client communication channels to have a positive impact.
Virtual Phone Calls
Even with all of our modern technology, sometimes you do still need to make an important phone call, particularly if your matter is urgent or your prospect can’t be reached any other way. Rather than make up a hefty phone bill on top of the rest of your expenses, instead use a video conference service to contact them from anywhere, whether it be through their computer or mobile device. Many businesses have used this already as a replacement for their landline phone, and sometimes even as a replacement for their e-mail. If you want your buyers to reach you anytime from anywhere, and vice-versa, rely upon your online conferencing software.
It may seem strange to still rely upon regular snail mail in the modern business environment where media monitoring is king, but in some situations it is ideal. This isn’t only referring to mailing important documents or sending out newsletters that nobody will actually read. When you have completed an important project for a client, send them a hand written thank you card or letter through the mail. When they are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, marriage, or a new baby, send them a small gift. Don’t forget also to send out Christmas cards to everyone you do business with, letting them know that you appreciate all that they have done for you throughout the year and that you look forward to working with them in the New Year. Simple, thoughtful acts like this have a personal touch to them and will make you much more memorable than your competitors. Cio says that since physical mail and letters are such a rarity these days, this is exactly what makes them much more likely to be opened, rather than an e-mail that sits in somebody’s inbox amidst a pile of unanswered messages, and makes a bigger lasting impression. This small investment will make for a large return.
Communication works in both directions and you can stand out from your competitors not only by speaking to your clients regularly, but by listening to them properly too. People place much more trust and confidence in somebody who they feel listens to them and understands their needs. During your initial meetings using mobile VoIP, gain a clear idea of exactly what your consumers need and hope to get from you. While it is better to be left to your own devices while you are working, provide them with regular small updates to let them know how it is progressing, and allow them to comment on anything they want done differently. This has the added benefit of saving yourself time and effort by avoiding endless rounds of revisions. Humans are even more complicated than obfuscated code. If you can deliver exactly what your customer was hoping for, and perhaps breaking their expectations, this will make them much more likely to give you repeat business, write you a good review, and recommend you to others.
Give It Back To Them
One of the most inaccurate beliefs people hold about client communication is that you should always defer to the client, even when they may not be right. This is not a good communication tactic. If you believe in what you are saying, stand behind it. Your job is to provide your expertise to a client to secure them the best possible solution. Therefore, if you know what you are saying is the best course of action for moving forward, stand behind it. Provide them information and evidence as to why your solution is the right choice. Use whiteboarding to prove your point, if you must. Do not be afraid to push back in client interactions if it is for the better of the project.
Using practices such as these, maintaining the right level of communication and using a variety of methods, including electronic media, to communicate, will make interacting with clients much easier and more enjoyable for both parties. Doing something unexpected such as sending a thank you card or going above and beyond by listening to them effectively will make all the difference and make them return to your services again and again.
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