In an age of information overload, one of the most difficult tasks entrepreneurs face is deciding the who, what, when, how, and where of communication with clients and customers. And, in our mad rush to utilize the newest and greatest forms of digital communication, we often forget the basics that support good communication across contexts. Below, I’ve outlined a few basics we should never forget in communicating with clients and customers, or really anyone!
- Listen. Good communication starts with listening. As entrepreneurs, we need to listen to understand, rather than to respond. What do my clients or customers need or expect? How can I best serve them?
- Adjust. We live in a canned world. By that, I mean that so much of what we hear from companies is a sales pitch. As an entrepreneur, our clients are our livelihood and if we want repeat business and good referrals we have to build relationships. Relationships are built on knowing your client well enough to “speak their language”. Adjust to your client’s needs. It’s a form of multilingualism. It takes time and patience, but if you start with listening, adjusting is the next step.
- Clarity. Speak and write plainly. If something is confusing, use a story or an example. If your service or product is technical, take time and diligence to prepare a way to explain the service or product to lay people in terms they understand.
- Timeliness. Depending on your service or product, timeliness could be critical. A day too soon, clients may ignore the information. A day too late and the information is irrelevant. Always be on the alert for what information your clients and customers need and when they need it.
- Relevance. Again, information overload is key here. Don’t send your clients or customers information that is irrelevant to them. Relevance will be contingent upon your service or product, but also the type and quality of relationship you have with clients.
Quality always trumps quantity no matter the communication context. Keep the basics in mind and you have a solid start for quality client communication! Good luck!
Please let us know if these suggestions are helpful and if you have any of your own suggestions in the comments below.
Contributed by Liz