When I started my business I was extremely conscious of not wasting my client’s time. They were paying me to do things they didn’t have time for, after all. They most certainly didn’t want another annoying email from me telling them what I'd been up to in relation to their list of tasks. I did not want to pester my clients.
Do They Like Me?
A few years after starting my business, I decided to send out a survey to all our clients asking them for feedback. I was very nervous. It’s daunting asking for feedback, finding out all the possible things you do wrong and everything they don’t like about you. Thankfully it was discovered that I was dramatising things a little.
The pleasing result was that, overall, all our clients were extremely happy with what we were doing for them. However, the results weren’t 100% positive. And it all came down to one thing. Communication.
It was of great insight to discover that, amongst the very positive comments, the majority of recommendations for us related to a lack of communication. Instead of feeling like we pestered them, our clients felt the exact opposite. They wanted more communication. Much more. Instead of being frustrated and disappointed in our service, I realised I now had the permission I didn’t think I’d received previously. I had permission to send them emails, texts, and phone calls if necessary, keeping them in the loop about the jobs we were undertaking for them.
Putting Their Life In Your Hands
You see, what it came down to was the fact that our clients are putting their life in our hands. When they send through a request for a plumber to fix a tap, they don’t just want to know when it has been done. They want to know that yes, we’ve received their email requesting the service. They want to know when we've made a phone call and left a message. They want to know when we've spoken to the plumber and booked in the service. They want to know what date and time this is booked in for, even though they won’t be home. They want you to call them if, when the plumber is at their home, there is an issue. And they want you to provide them with a summary once the job has been done and ask them if they have any issues or feedback.
They want communication, and lots of it.
You Can’t Over Communicate If You Do It Right
All these emails, texts and phone calls are surely pestering your client, right? Wrong. Well, usually. As long as you know how your client likes to be communicated with. The majority of clients don’t want a phone call and then a follow up email for every piece of information you want to pass to them. Email is usually fine, with a phone call if something is urgent. Some others are big on the phone and love a chat. At these times you have to, within reason from your perspective, ensure you make the time to speak with them instead of sending them another email. Yet others may prefer emails and only texts in an emergency. They will ring you as soon as they can, but do not want to be interrupted with a phone call.
Email, Call or SMS?
You see, you can’t over communicate. You just need to ensure you respect your client’s preferences and don’t overstep their boundaries. If you’re not sure, ask them. “Are you happy that I put everything in email form?” “Do you prefer a separate email for each topic, or one email summarizing everything?” “Would you like an SMS reminder or is email ok?”
Mirror what they do. If they text you often, you can assume that this form of communication works for them. If they send emails with very specific subject lines, each email a separate task, then you know that each email you send must only relate to one task or topic. As always, learn what your customer does and doesn’t like.
I have found that a wonderful way to communicate with clients, and put them at ease, is to send photographs of jobs you are completing for them. If you’ve just arranged a vase of flowers for their visitors, take a snap and send it through. If you’re researching a new microwave purchase, take a photo of them in the store, with their prices, and send them through on a clear, concise email. If they are on holiday and you are tasked with walking their beloved dog, send them a snap of Misty walking in her favourite park. Visuals make things easier and can quickly communicate something which would otherwise need to be conveyed in a long email.
Remember, put yourself in their shoes. If you were asking someone to take your car to be serviced, have a gift delivered, or an appointment booked, wouldn’t you appreciate an update, rather than sitting at work wondering if it had been done? Keep this in mind the next time you start worrying that you are pestering your clients.
Do you have any communication failures or success stories? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!
Need some business advice? You can schedule a call with Abbie here – https://clarity.fm/abbieallen