InvoiceBerry Blog

Our thoughts & tips on small businesses, freelancers and sole traders

How to Improve Communication With Clients

Written by on November 04, 2019

We cannot survive on this planet without communication and on a personal level, most people understand this. Yet, when it comes to the world of business, many negate the viability of communication and the crucial backbone it provides. Whether the communication is shoddy or idyllic, it can “make-or-break” a business.

Effectively communicating with your clients is essential. This means staying up-to-date on various communication methods as well. For example, did you know that texting is now an acceptable form of communicating with clients today? According to the site Textrequest:

  • Only a third of all emails are opened.

Meaning that a third of clients don’t even bother to open, never mind read, their emails regardless of its importance. Whereas texts have an above 99% open rate.

  • Approximately 14% of business calls are placed on hold before being answered.

Listening to that smooth jazz tune may be pleasant for the first two-minutes, but eventually it will leave a bad taste in a client’s mouth. They’ll simply go elsewhere. The alternative is texting. There’s no waiting time, which means faster responses and a happier client.

  • 78% of people who text would prefer a text conversation with a business.

The convenience of texting a business when needed is a dream come true for consumers. Companies should consider texting as an option to their business intercommunication strategy if clients prefer it.

  • 79% of supervisors support texting for business purposes.

Company heads recognize that texting has become a popular communications channel. As long as texting is used as a form of correspondence about business related topics and helps to drive the company’s ambitions, no-harm-no-foul.

Customer based communications are requisite, there’s no debate about that. Even if it means becoming a pro at texting! When offering business services, dialog with clients is the be-all and end-all. Quality straightforward interaction with consumers helps to maintain a company’s prosperity and respectability.

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How to Improve Communication With Clients

If communications between your business and your clients need improving, the issue should be rectified right away. If not, it could mean loss of revenue, clients, and stunted company growth.

Whether making a phone call, writing an email, using telecommunication applications like Skype, texting, or having a conversation in-person, you will find some or all of the tips below useful in some way.

Watch Your Vocal Approach

The expression “it’s not what you say, but how you say it” is still as relevant today as it was eons ago. A client can be turned-off by the wrong voice pitch or enthused by firm, yet soothing, positive speech. Whether speaking face-to-face, over the phone, or via an app, mastering the art of intonation can do nothing but increase your client’s receptivity.

Sound Less Robotic

sound less roboting when trying to improve communication with clients.

Do your best not to sound like you’re reading from a script. Of course, there are some formal criteria that must be adhered to; however, it’s no excuse for inflexibility and mediocrity.

For example, if your client orders a certain product currently out of stock, let them know when the product will be available. Provide options like emailing, calling, or dispatching the item as soon as it is in stock. Responding in the negative with “the item is out of stock at the moment, but try again in two weeks” will leave your customer feeling undervalued. Remain in the positive. This will make your clients feel that their patronage is important.

Playing by the Rules

Regardless of the size of your business, clear and concise directives dealing with interacting with clients should be adhered to. Training and requirements for staff, with a focus on adhering to company protocol when it comes to communicating with consumers is vital. Your team should be trained in a variety of communication methods like email, snail-mail, telephone calls, etc.

Don’t Leave Clients Hanging On

Sites like Zendesk assist companies with customer interaction through a number of mediums including social media and chat. Other sites like HelpScout also engage companies with various techniques centered on maintaining quality communication with clients. In fact, analysts assert that leaving clientele hanging on too long for customer support is taboo. Studies also reveal that “75% of clients feel that it takes too long to reach a customer agent and 67% simply hang up the phone out of frustration.”

This is not a put-down of automated answering systems. In fact, these systems can be of great use, especially if they are set up correctly. Even so, keep in mind that while on hold, customers tend to get annoyed with repetitive advertisements and music blaring in their ear. Holds should be limited and calls connected to the right person or voicemail within a reasonable time…like ASAP!

Be a Good Listener

Being an active listener enhances communication with clients quickly.

A good listener is always in demand. It’s simple communication etiquette. For businesses, being a good listener is a must in order to grasp what a client is saying even when they’re not speaking. The maxim “silence is golden” speaks volumes! It’s not always easy, especially when a customer has a complaint, but that’s business. To become a better listener, simply practice giving your full attention whenever a customer is talking to you. Allow them to finish verbalizing their thoughts. Then speak.

Another way of letting clients know that you hear them is by asking questions. Questioning is a solid form of communication. It gives customers the impression that you are listening, interested in their feedback, and serious about getting the results they want.

On the flip side, be ready to answer questions as well. Even if a client goes through a long discourse that comes across as bothersome and pointless, be on your p’s and q’s and ready

to answer questions. Clients like to know you are listening to them. The bonus is a satisfied client and continued business. Even when writing emails, think in advance about questions your customer might ask. Listening is not only when the other person is talking, written words have their own voice too.

Chime in From Time to Time

Irrespective of how often you communicate with clients via text or email, a phone call every so often adds that special touch. Believe it or not, making a call still carries some weight and leaves customers with the thought “wow, that’s nice, they took the time to call me.” Additionally, phoning is more personable, and can tighten up any loose ends of your business relationship with less misunderstandings.

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The Comfort Zone

Clients do have a comfort zone. Some customers won’t mind being interrupted during their holidays, when exercising at the gym, or while having breakfast. Case in point, a younger customer may consider being contacted by text while mountain biking no big deal; however, an older client relaxing on vacation may prefer to be left alone.

Instincts play an important role, as clients are not always forthright about the type of correspondence they prefer. You’ll either pick-up on your customer’s comfort zone, or ask outright when and how they prefer to be contacted. In any case, communicating in a way that best suits your customer’s lifestyle will open even more doors for discussions vital to your business relationship.

Check Written Correspondence

Proofread all written correspondence. Emails, letters, texts, all should be edited. There’s nothing worse than sending out correspondence with poor grammar, faulty punctuation, and unreadable sentences that will negatively affect your company’s credibility.

Avoid Urban Dialect (Most of the Time)

If your customers find your way of communicating incomprehensible, you won’t get very far and relations will come to a standstill. They may feel you could care less about their business and simply withdraw contact altogether.

Whether or not using urban dialect is appropriate depends on the type of company you have and your clientele. For instance, if your company sells hip-hop styled clothing, it’s probably appropriate to start-off a call or email with “what’s up,” if that’s the vibe you get from your client. Nonetheless, just because your company sells urban styled clothing, doesn’t mean your customer is a fan of the lingo. You have to follow the lead of your client.

On the other hand, certain industries like technology utilize specific technical terms for targeted clarification. Skillcrush has an impressive list of Tech Terms 101, like microblogging, bounce rate, data mining and even content marketing that will come in useful for any company dealing with tech clients. As tech jargon is constantly evolving, you should make it your business to stay up-to-date on the latest vernacular in this fast moving industry. There’s no excuse for not keeping abreast of the current terminology if you are in the field.

Ask For Feedback

Don’t be shy about asking for feedback. Communication with your customers will never improve if you don’t ask whether your interactions have met their expectations. If, for some reason, frequent collaboration is not possible, create a questionnaire, or select a specific staff member to handle communications with that particular client.

You want feedback whether it’s a current client or a client you’ve broken business dealings with. Feedback will help you determine what to do, or what not to do, when it comes to maintaining and improving your company’s communications and public perception.

Conclusion

In order for your company to maintain long-term working relationships and thrive, much of your success will come down to communication. For the most part, a discrepancy with a product, service, or other issue can be easily rectified with good communication. Therefore, be conscientious about communicating with your customers to guarantee long-lasting and fruitful business relationships.

This article has been written by Jitin Kanwar. Jitin is a digital marketer at Time Doctor, a time tracking and productivity monitoring software designed for tracking hours and productivity of remote teams. Jitin is a creative and dynamic marketer with proven expertise in consistently penetrating new markets using digital channels. 

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