How do you communicate with your clients? Have you ever taken the time to come up with a strategy to keep in place? I know it sounds so easy, but open and clear communication takes some planning. And trust me, it’ll save you from some serious headaches down the road.
Communication is the best tool that you have to build healthy and long-lasting working relationships with your clients. And with a good relationship in place, your clients will be happier, projects will run smoothly, and everyone will have clear expectations.
Honesty and authenticity will allow you to set up how the project will go from the start, so your clients don’t end up pushing your boundaries and asking for something that wasn’t included in the beginning. It’ll also protect you from any miscommunications because every step will have been laid out already.
So … how do you create clear communication?
Having a strategy in place will save you when there’s a disagreement, and it’ll also help prevent disagreements from happening in the first place. Your strategy can include things like the method of communication you will accept (email, text, Voxxer, etc.), the hours during which you’re available to respond, and even how to respond in specific situations.
Then, when something arises, you can reference the strategy you’ve already created so you have a clear path forward. A client is texting you at 11pm on a Friday? Well, if you’ve already communicated to them that you prefer contact via email and will only respond Monday-Thursday from 9am to 5pm, then you’re good to go. No worrying about whether or not your client will be upset if you don’t get back to them right away because they’re already aware of your boundaries.
Again, make sure to provide clear expectations for your clients from the start. If they’re doing something that falls outside of what you’ve discussed, nicely remind them so that you can avoid any further issues. Ground rules are your friend! Don’t pass them by because it will end up coming up later, and you’ll wish that you would have had a discussion in the beginning.
Developing relationships with your clients is all about making sure that you’re on the same page and you have a mutual understanding. Don’t be afraid to explore some “what if” scenarios just in case, and make sure that you’re documenting everything that you discuss in your business contracts. That way, you have a signed agreement and you (or your client) can reference it at any time during your project.
It’s important that everything is always out in the open when it comes to money. When booking your client and signing contracts, make sure to send over a clear proposal/invoice that lays out all of the expenses they will incur and what their payment schedule will look like. Make sure that clients know when payments will be due, and how much. Then, if a client asks for something that falls outside your previously established scope of work, you won’t stress telling them that it’ll add an additional charge.
Sending your invoices automatically on the schedule also keeps things consistent and establishes trust!
Communication is a two way street, which means that you’ve got to listen to your clients! If they’re unhappy with something or just have extra questions they’d like answered, always always hear them out. It’ll help your clients feel secure in your relationship and will ultimately make them feel happier overall with your services.
And, it’s a win-win because when clients bring things up, you can take what they say and use it moving forward. Every client project is a learning experience, and you can continue to grow through their feedback.
Next time you have a ~situation~ with a client, you’ll be SO relieved when you realize you’ve already communicated everything with them! And as promised, no more headaches.
Let me know how you choose to communicate with clients in the comments!