Can you imagine if you did not communicate with your customers well, or your customers did not communicate with you. Imagine if they stopped replying to your emails, or returning your phone calls. For sure alarm bells would start to ring in my mind, to alert me that something's wrong.
They could be:
- Upset with you & your services – which means no more business.
- Busy with other stuff – good selling opportunity.
- Taking a break – nothing to worry about, just give them a quick call for assurance.
Whatever the reason may be, loosing communications with your customers is not good. When a customer doest constantly reply to my emails, I pick up the phone to make sure everything is okay, 9 out of 10 they are usually busy with their business, and haven't had a chance to respond, in which case you can quickly catch up on the phone.
I recall once, a new customer had just signed up for one of my services, the customer did not communicate with me throughout the whole project, despite me and my team sending them regular updates via email, and phone calls. Never the less we completed the project based on the initial requirements. But when we completed the project, the customer wanted to change half a dozen of his initial features. In which case we had to extend the project, and also occurred more cost for us and also for the customer.
All this could have been avoided if the customer stayed in contact with us during the project, were we could have resolved his quires much quicker, and also ensuring we were both on the correct path.
What I learnt from this was if the customer does not respond to your emails or any form of communication, stop the project, this will save you time and hassle. But of course every case is different.
Tips for effective communication with your clients:
Be honest: One of the biggest favours you can do to your clients is be honest with them. You do not need to portray yourself as someone that you are not, or give false promises to your clients, as what will happen is, it will come back and bite you. From day one be honest with them, and let them accept you or hire you for what you are. You will build a better bond with your customers by being genuine, and they will also feel comfortable with you, as they get what they see.
Get the client involved: This is the best way to ensure that you stay in regular contact with your client, get them involved in the project, at the end of the day they are hiring you for a service or buying a product of you. Take into count their opinions from day one, ask them questions, and also you give your own personal opinion. This will make them feel very much part of the whole process, and also comfortable with you, which is great way of build a good rapport with your customers. If a customer feels comfortable with you, they are more likely to come back for repeat purchases.
Be of value: When you communicate with your customers, you need to give them a reason to communicate with you or to listen to what you have. Be of a value, give them advise or talk to them in relation to their business. Give advice that would benefit them, and make it simple for them, not all customers are fully literate, the simpler you can make things, the better for them to understand, and also it will save you time in the future for re explaining things over again.
Listen to your customers: One of the most annoying thing for a customer is when their ideas or emails are not taken into count. Always listen to what your customer has to say, even though it may be the most ridicules idea you have come across, always have a spare ear for them. At times they just want to take it of their chest, and have someone to listen them out. After you have fully listened to them, give them your opinion, and if it's something that you can include in the project, always do. This way you will achieve customer satisfaction.
Keep them informed: While working on their project, customers like to receive regular updates on the progress of their work. Keep them informed. Whether it maybe a small progress or a large one, send them a quick email to let them know that this is what you have worked on this week. This will keep them happy as they know that their work is in progress, and also its better to keep them updated rather than them asking you for what you have done so far.
Whichever form of communication you do with your customers, having a healthy contact with them will not just benefit your business, but overall you will notice that your customers will be pleased and satisfied with your work.
What has been your experience with customer communication? Share with me below.
Image from: SXC