Last updated on 22nd May 2023
In the fast-paced world of business, one thing remains constant: the importance of solid client communication.
It’s not enough to offer great products or services anymore; you need to connect with your clients on a deeper level.
As we venture into 2023, it’s time to brush up on your communication skills and explore ten tried-and-true techniques that will make your client interactions smoother than ever.
So let’s dive in and discover the secrets that will take your client communication game to the next level. Are you ready to revolutionise the way you connect with your clients? Let’s dive in!
1. Start with a kickoff call or meeting
At the very beginning of every project, it’s a good idea to organise a kickoff call or meeting.
This is a great way to put a face to the name – both for your clients and for you!
Face-to-face communication has many advantages. It allows you to build stronger connections and communicate clearly and instantly.
Plus, there’s that old adage that only 7% of communication is verbal. The remaining 93% is supposed to be conveyed through inflection (how we say something) and facial expressions.
If you’re able to, meeting in person is a great way to kick off a project with new clients. But for most meeting in person isn’t practical, and that’s where video calls come in!
Video conferencing tools, like Zoom, Teams, and Google Meet have made it quick and easy to set up a face-to-face meeting with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Starting the project with a call like this is a great way to outline everything that’s going to happen, give a breakdown of the project timeline, and also offer your client the opportunity to ask any questions they have.
It’s often the perfect way to quell any potential doubts and ensure our projects get off to the best possible start.
2. Respond promptly
In this age of instant gratification, your clients expect you to respond immediately. According to a 2020 survey from SuperOffice, 46% of people expect companies to respond faster than 4 hours.
Prompt responses ensure your clients feel heard and valued. Even if you just send a quick reply to let them know you’ll review their message the following day, or get back to them by the end of the week, that’s so much better than radio silence.
3. Always explain the next step
Another simple and effective way to improve client communication is to always explain what’s coming next.
Don’t wait for your customers to ask. Be proactive. By explaining everything that will happen throughout your project, you offer clients a level of transparency that builds trust and allows you to manage expectations.
4. Have one clear contact
Most modern projects involve a number of different people – but your clients should always know who to contact if they have a question or problem.
We think this is a great way to improve client communication because it makes things simple. We’ve all been on those terrible customer service calls that pass you from department to department and ask you to repeat your information over and over again – nobody likes that!
Clients like having someone that they can contact who knows their name, and just as importantly, knows exactly what’s happening with their project.
With Project.co, it’s easy to pass on important client information internally using the Notes tab. The Notes tab is private, so clients can’t see what’s on it – but you and the rest of your team can.
5. Keep communication in one place
By keeping everything in one place you can eliminate the risk of losing important information, and in doing so, eliminate the risk of asking your clients to repeat themselves or re-send files.
With Project.co, all communication is kept centrally on the Discussions tab. Here, both your team and the client can view every single communication (dated and time-stamped) that has happened throughout the entire project:
Files can also be added here (or via the Files tab) to keep those all in one place too.
6. Facilitate real-time collaboration
With the rise of tools like Invision, Google Drive, and Miro, real-time collaboration is easier than ever. And this is a great way to make speedy progress and keep your projects moving forward.
Real-time collaboration can also help you ensure there is only one live file or document floating around, eliminating the risk that people will comment on the wrong version and waste valuable time.
With the Project.co embeds feature, you can embed your live files (from tools like those mentioned above) to your projects so that you can work on them together in real-time, all without leaving your project management tool!
This further improves communication because it allows you to keep everything – your messages, payments, and your files – all in one secure place, easily accessible by everyone involved.
7. Be flexible
While it’s important to have a solid communication strategy in place to ensure you are consistently offering your clients clear communication, it’s also important to be flexible to your clients’ needs.
If you have a client that’s finding it difficult to use the tools that you typically use, and this is creating a negative experience for them, then be open to using the tools they prefer.
Perhaps you use Google Meet but your client is more comfortable on Microsoft Teams – it’s a small adjustment for you to make to ensure they have the best experience possible.
And this flexibility shouldn’t just apply to tools. For example, if your client wants to have regular meetings to touch base, it’s good to be open to that.
Even if you don’t find them particularly productive, it’s important to consider that all clients will have different requirements and needs, and if regular meetings are going to reassure Client X and keep them happy, what’s the harm?
8. Add a personal touch
We all spend a lot of time at work and – especially if you work on long projects that run over weeks and months – you may spend a lot of time communicating with your clients.
Adding a personal touch is a small but effective way to elevate your client communication to the next level and improve your clients’ experience.
So, if your client tells you something about themselves – for example, if they just dropped their kid off for their first day at school or if they’re looking forward to a vacation – try to remember that and ask them about it later.
This will really show that you care and it’ll help your business stand out!
If you don’t discover anything specific to communicate with them about, a simple “have a good weekend” or “have a great day” is a nice gesture and will likely be appreciated.
9. Make sure internal communication is perfect
If you want your client communication to improve, one of the best ways to get started is to first improve your internal communication. When your internal teams communicate effectively this will be reflected in conversations with clients.
Improving internal communication is imperative right now with more and more companies working remotely.
One of the best ways to do this is to create a company-wide communication guide so that everyone knows how they’re expected to communicate with each other and exactly what tools to use.
Project management tools, like Project.co, and chat apps, like Slack, are particularly great at facilitating clear communication.
In addition to using both of those tools, you might find it useful to schedule internal handovers when projects move forward through your workflow.
This can be as simple as a 10-15 minute Google Meet call that includes all of the people who have worked on the project so far, and the person who will be taking over the project going forward.
In these calls team members can pass on any important information about the project so far, including things the client likes, things they don’t like, things the client specifically requested, and any other useful tidbits that have been picked up along the way.
10. Resolve disputes effectively
You can do everything possible to improve client communication and disputes will still arise. It’s inevitable.
The trick isn’t to try and stop disputes from happening. It’s to resolve them quickly and effectively when they do.
If the client clicks on anything other than the happy face, then our account managers get in touch as fast as possible to resolve any issues and ensure the client is having the best experience possible.
Even though 89% of people believe that effective communication is extremely important, 8 out of 10 people rate their own business’ communication as either average or poor.
With a communication strategy like the one we’ve outlined and a powerful project management tool to help you, you’ll be able to massively improve client communication and reap the benefits.
And if you’re feeling inspired and ready to take control of your client communication, click here to find out more about how Project.co works.