In the business world, being able to communicate well and having strong social skills are great assets, especially when you’re dealing directly with clients. Whether you’re an entry-level employee or one of the higher-ups, being well-spoken lessens work friction. It also creates a domino effect: Outstanding client communication guarantees that operations run smoother and plans and projects get accomplished faster. Not only does it contribute to a company’s success, but it can also help you climb the corporate ladder quicker than you could ever anticipate.
Of course, this skill can’t be mastered overnight. Some of the best client-facing employees took years to even get to their level of expertise. So, what are the key things to remember when dealing with clients? Read on to find out.
1. Communicate Promptly and Honestly
Nothing ruffles anyone’s feathers more than an extremely late response. Being prompt in answering their queries gives the impression that you value their business and that they are prioritized. Even if you’re too busy working on their projects, make sure that you reply quickly or tell them that you’ll get back to them ASAP.
If you’re still trying to close a deal with a possible client, being tardy in your responses can cost you the project. Remember, they’re most likely negotiating with your competitors so never give them the chance to get their foot in the door first.
Finally, deliver updates often, especially bad news. Prolonging the time you inform clients of a debacle gives them less time to act on it. Naturally, they’ll get upset but at the end of the day, most clients value honesty and integrity above all.
2. Manage Client Expectations
One of the main culprits that rot the client-service provider relationship is unmet expectations. Never oversell yourself by making astronomical promises. Stick to realistic deliverables that are worth the money that they’re paying, always meet deadlines, be transparent about your service charges, and state your terms of work clearly, including the times you can be contacted. Also, consider the capability of your team. Would they be able to get things done given the timeframe that you’ve provided the client? Set clear parameters when it comes to the turnaround time for deliverables, and everything will be okay.
3. Practice Empathy
You are very good at what you do, otherwise, your clients wouldn’t approach you in the first place. However, remember to practice a little bit of empathy. Educate clients in a calm and professional manner whenever expectations aren’t met or a problem arises. This works both ways, of course. Hold your ground whenever you’re in the right or if a client crosses a line, especially when your team’s capacity is being stretched to its limit. At the end of the day, mutual respect is what both parties should strive for.
Building a strong relationship with your clients would make working with them a lot easier. You don’t necessarily have to be BFFs. Just keep things professional and remember to update them consistently and quickly, set realistic project goals and parameters, and aim for mutual respect through empathy.