An important aspect of any successful business is how it communicates with its internal and external clients.
Internal communication is how a company interacts with its employees, while external communication deals with customers.
When done well, it will bring many business benefits and help businesses increase trust with employees and clients.
What Is Client Communication?
It’s the way a company interacts with their customers, partners and other stakeholders. It’s fundamental to maintaining an excellent relationship with clients. According to HubSpot’s 2018 “Consumer Customer Support Survey,” 82% of customers expect an immediate response from businesses.
It’s how a company builds trust, receives feedback and improves the product or service they provide. It ensures customers are kept informed, which allows the company to understand their clients’ needs better so they can make more effective decisions.
Its main purpose is to provide updates and respond to queries or change requests in a timely manner. With good communication, a business will increase customer loyalty and have mutual respect between themselves and their customers.
It goes beyond just providing your services. The aim is to keep clients informed, so they never have to be concerned about whether they’re receiving what they paid for.
If you want your company to succeed, you must learn to communicate well with your customers.
What Are the Risks of Poor Client Communication?
If you don’t practice good communication, the risks include:
- Losing customers.
- Receiving complaints and negative reviews.
- Having to explain yourself repeatedly.
- Not getting paid on time.
- Being unable to provide the service you promised.
- Becoming frustrated and stressed out.
- Having your integrity and commitment questioned.
If you want to protect your reputation, you need to pay more attention to your communication efforts.
According to 2021 statistics, the cost of poor marketing communication stands at $62.4 million per year.
The Importance Of Effective Client Communication
When you communicate to customers the way they want to, they will appreciate you listening to them and they will be more likely to keep using your services.
Here’s why having good client communication practices is important.
1. It can lead to lost revenue if not done well
If you don’t communicate well, it can lead to missed opportunities, no referrals, lost sales and even lost customers.
Effective communication is important, so clients understand what’s going on and how it affects them. This will help maintain customer loyalty and ensure repeat business.
2. Your clients expect to hear from you
All clients favor transparency. When they’re kept informed, they will feel valued and appreciated.
When you provide updates and let them know what’s happening, they will respect and trust you more.
They have questions and want problems solved. When you provide information that applies to them, they will appreciate the fact that you’re listening to their concerns, which will give them confidence in you and also show you care about them.
3. Not all clients act as you expect them to
Everyone has different expectations or preferences. They expect things to happen on time.
If they aren’t kept informed, that can cause confusion and frustration. If you come across as not being open and honest, people might take out their frustration by being rude or disrespectful.
4. Your clients are busy and have other important things to focus on
Not all clients want to talk to you. They are busy and have other priorities, responsibilities and commitments.
You need to remind them of the value you and your business provide, so they don’t question whether they’re getting value from you.
5. Your clients want to save money
People will always look for opportunities or reasons to save money. You don’t want to give them a reason to lower your prices by providing a poor service or product.
If you show them the value they’re receiving by spending their money with you, they’ll appreciate the convenience and savings.
6. Your brand reputation is at stake
The reputation and image of your business plays a part in attracting new customers. If you don’t communicate well with your existing customers, this can tarnish your reputation and generate bad publicity.
One of the best ways to get referrals is to provide excellent service to your customers. This will make them want to give you referrals.
7. You can manage expectations better
An important aspect of communicating is to clearly articulate what you’ve agreed to provide. Clients should know exactly what they’re paying for and what they’re getting.
When they’re informed about what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it, you will reduce unexpected surprises.
Part of managing expectations is to set boundaries and ensure they’re respected. It’s not uncommon for people to try and take advantage of others and attempt to get more than they’re willing to pay for.
When you’ve set clear expectations, it’s a lot easier to say “no” to requests you’ve not agreed to, which clients are willing to pay for. This will help avoid conflicts and ensure you maintain a good relationship with them.
8. You can improve customer satisfaction
Clients who are kept updated regularly are more likely to be satisfied with your services and products.
Many businesses focus a lot on acquiring clients, and once they get them, the level of service they provide can decrease.
When you stay in touch with your clients and exceed their expectations, they will be satisfied and are more likely to provide positive reviews and referrals.
Also, communicating effectively is essential to the success of your business because:
- They want to believe you have their best interests in mind.
- They want to feel valued and appreciated.
- They want to know you care about them.
- They want to feel confident they can contact you if there are issues.
- They can provide feedback that can help you improve your business.
How Effective Communication Will Improve Your Client Relationships
Maintaining client-focused communication is key to a successful long-term relationship and a healthy business.
To improve, you need to develop better communication skills.
When you do, these are some benefits:
- It will give you an edge over your competitors.
- You will connect with clients on a deeper and often personal level.
- You will improve your listening skills.
- You will receive feedback a lot better, without taking negative feedback personally.
- You will learn to express your ideas clearly and effectively.
- You will develop a better reputation.
- You will see them as an extension of your business or brand.
The Elements Of Effective Client Communication
Client communication is more than just talking or listening. It is a skill which, when used well, can change how your business operates.
Elements of effective communication include:
- Frequency – This refers to how often you communicate.
- Clarity of message – This is the purpose of the communication and how clearly you articulate your message.
- Relevance – This means addressing wants or needs, and whether you’ve answered questions or solved issues.
- Timeliness – This refers to when you address or inform your customers of what they need. It also refers to not hesitating when you have bad news to share and being transparent.
- Empathy – This means adding emotion and a human element to your messages. People want to know you care. Acknowledge their successes and share their joys.
5 Ways To Have Better Client Communication
Here are five specific steps you can take to improve how you communicate. Use these client communication tips to deliver what customers require and improve the relationships you have with them.
1. Know the purpose of communicating
Be clear about your reason for reaching out. Do you want to provide an update, ask for feedback or share an idea that can benefit them?
For example, you may have an idea that can help them with their social media presence, or something that can lead to increased revenue.
Start with the end in mind and let that determine how you will construct your message.
2. Decide on the method of your communication
How do you intend to reach your clients? Will it be via email, text, chat message, video, audio message or via a portal?
You need to ensure the communication method you use is what they have agreed to.
3. Use a framework or outline for what you want to share
Once you know why you want to communicate, prepare an outline for your message.
If it’s a formal communication, use a message template or framework. Ensure you cover the key points you want to make in your template and allow for creativity and flexibility.
If it’s informal, ensure the language you use is appropriate. Usually, the simpler the language used, the easier it is to understand and act on.
4. Have a clear call to action
Clearly articulate what you want them to do after they have received the communication.
Also, include a deadline by which you want them to complete the action you have requested.
The clearer you are, the higher the chances they will do what you ask them to. This will help prevent false understanding, errors or miscommunications, which can sometimes become bigger issues than they need to be.
Let them know how to contact you if they want further clarity or need more information.
5. Thank them for being a client and reinforce why you value them
You’re in business because of your clients. If you want to maintain a strong relationship with them and also grow your business, always appreciate them.
Having a personal relationship will go a long way to keeping them long term.
Client Communication Tips That Always Work
When you create a plan or have a process you follow that supports your business objectives, you will establish a solid foundation for a long-term relationship. It will also help your marketing teams have a consistent approach when dealing with clients.
Here are tips that will help optimize your communication efforts and provide a high level of customer service.
1. Know your audience
Tailor how you communicate according to your client’s preferences. Factors you need to consider include:
- Frequency — how often you communicate.
- Mode — the tool you use when sharing information.
- Method — the type of communication you use, whether it’s email, text, chat message, video or voice message.
2. Be proactive
This means getting ahead of any issues and avoiding last-minute surprises. Things always go wrong. You will experience setbacks, which will lead to delays.
Most clients will be okay with delays if they’re informed well ahead of time. This will allow them to create contingency plans with their teams.
3. Avoid using insider language
All businesses have an internal language that’s relevant only to them. This can include acronyms, project names or internal processes.
Unless it’s relevant to a specific client, avoid using jargon or language that will not make sense to them.
4. Listen more than you speak
When having an in-person or virtual meeting, ask open-ended questions and listen carefully.
Clients have great ideas that can help your business improve. Use active listening techniques to pay attention to what’s being said.
Follow the golden rule, “Seek first to understand then to be understood.”
5. Do not interrupt
Many people do not listen actively because they’re figuring out in their mind what they want to say next.
This can cause them to interrupt a client before they finish speaking. This is something you must avoid.
Allow them to speak and give them plenty of time and space to share what’s on their mind. They will ask questions, and that’s your opportunity to speak and share what you need to.
6. Maintain your professionalism
With some clients, you may have more of a personal relationship. In such cases, you can have fun, share jokes and be more personal.
With others, it’s strictly business. This is another reason knowing each client well is important because you will have a better idea about the best way to communicate with them.
When someone shows their frustration, maintain your composure. Be polite and show your professionalism. Take nothing personally, because it’s never about you. They just want to receive what they expect.
7. Relax and smile
Whenever you smile, it makes you feel better and also has the same effect on others.
If a client is having a tough day, a smile can help them relax and not take things too seriously.
Smiling will also help you stay positive if you’re experiencing a stressful situation.
8. Ask for feedback
An effective way to keep clients engaged is by asking them for their ideas and input. They usually have valuable ideas that can help improve the service you provide.
You can formalize the process by making providing feedback or accepting requests part of your update.
If a client does not share feedback, you can help them by asking specific questions related to something they do or something they know.
9. Share what the next steps are
Clients want to know what to expect, so tell them what you are going to do.
As an example, you might say, “I will send you the data report or the marketing communication and social media plan by the end of the week.”
This will help them know what’s coming and will also give them time to prepare.
If you have promised them something, follow through.
10. Be positive and end on a high note
Clients appreciate companies that have a positive culture or attitude. A simple way you can show this is by saying thank you.
Sending a simple thank you note or email will go a long way towards maintaining a solid relationship with them.
When they know you appreciate them and value their business, they will often support you.
According to HubSpot Research, when companies offer excellent customer service, 93% are likely to make repeat purchases.
How Nimbus Platform Can Improve Your Client Communication
The method you use to communicate is important. It should make it easier for everyone involved.
The Nimbus Platform is an effective tool you can use for your communication and the benefits include:
- A while-label solution, which allows you to add your branding and company details and remove all references to Nimbus. This will increase your professionalism with your customers and build a better relationship.
- Many collaboration options, such as having a dedicated portal or a specific workspace. This will make it easier to share folders, documents or other collateral.
- Ability to create super documents, which means sharing different information on one page or a super document. These can include video and audio files, images, text, PDF documents and other attached files. Having all information in one document will provide greater clarity because the information you share will be organized and well-structured.
- Many visual communication options. You can use Nimbus Capture, which is fully integrated with Nimbus Note, to create visual messages such as personalized videos, annotated screenshots and screen recordings. You can also use Nimbus Clipper to save information from websites, clip emails and add annotated screenshots and files.
To get started with Nimbus, visit our website.
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