In this article we’re going to show you 10 PROVEN ways to improve client communication.
The importance of clear client communication should not be underestimated. According to our Communication Statistics 2020 report, 96% of people think the businesses they deal with could improve when it comes to communication and project management, and 74% have stopped dealing with a company and moved on to a competitor because they felt the company was disorganised.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to your business we’ve compiled 10 ways to improve client communication, using our sister company Wyzowl as an example.
Wyzowl is an animated explainer video company, and through Wyzowl we’ve served thousands of happy clients from all over the world.
Communication and organisation was important to us from the get-go, and it’s actually what eventually led to the creation of Project.co.
At Wyzowl, we’ve honed our client communication strategy to ensure projects always run smoothly, clients are always kept in the loop and, more importantly, that they always come away happy.
Here’s how we do it…
1. Start with a kickoff call
At the very beginning of every Wyzowl project, we organise a kickoff call.
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!
And that’s how we conduct most of our kickoff calls at Wyzowl.
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.
We’ve found that it’s 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.
At Wyzowl, we have a customer communication guide that is given to every new employee when they start working with us. This outlines the dos and don’ts of our customer communication strategy, and one of the first topics covered in that guide is response time:
We aim to respond to all clients in 2 hours or less. And this is something we happily inform new clients of at the start of their project, so they can hold us accountable if we don’t deliver.
Here’s an example from one of our projects:
All of our client communication is handled directly within Project.co. This allows us to open a new project for every client and keep all communication centralised, secure, and easily accessible for anyone who needs it.
To ensure we don’t keep customers waiting, we set an “Awaiting Internal Response” filter on the projects page. This is easy to set up in seconds. All you need to do is navigate to the projects page, select the dropdown icon between “logo” and “name” and then check the “Awaiting Internal Response” box:
Just like that, you’ll be able to see all of your projects that are awaiting a response from your team. This is especially helpful if you have thousands of projects running at any one time.
All messages sent through Project.co also get sent directly to your email inbox, so you don’t have to continuously check the tool for responses.
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.
An animated explainer video project usually goes through three stages: copy, design, and animation. At the end of each stage, we inform our customers of exactly what will happen at the next stage and when they can expect their next deliverable:
4. Have one clear contact
At Wyzowl, we make sure our clients have one clear contact for each stage of their video’s production. They have a contact on the copy team, then the design team, and finally the animation team.
Additionally, they also have a dedicated account manager who oversees their project and is available to step in, answer questions, or resolve issues at any time.
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.
Here’s an example of what a Wyzowl notes page looks like in the middle of a video project:
As you can see, this is a great place to include the client’s contact information, their timezone, links to any important files they sent over – and anything else that will help the project to run more smoothly.
5. Keep communication in one place
This point is pretty much essential in order to follow all of the previous points we’ve mentioned. You simply can’t have clear and prompt communication if your messages are scattered all over the place.
According to our Communication Statistics 2020 report, 74% of people often lose files that have been shared with others and 63% of people have missed a message or important piece of information that went into a colleague’s inbox while that colleague was away or absent.
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
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 very 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.
In addition to using both of those tools, at Wyzowl we also have internal handovers whenever we are moving a project from one department to the next.
A handover at Wyzowl is 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 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.
At Wyzowl, our projects often run over several weeks and clients are moved between different departments as their video is made. To ensure everything runs smoothly during the entirety of the project, our account managers regularly check in with clients to see how they’re feeling:
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.
For the purposes of this article we used examples from one of Wyzowl’s clients, AppToPay. You can check out their finished video here:
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.