No business can function without clients. And unless it has a monopoly on the market it will inevitably have to keep clients happy in order to keep them and maintain its business. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that so many companies are desperately trying to improve their communication skills and keep their clients contempt.
Client management is a serious topic, and it involves many fields of science too: psychology, sociology, business management, and so forth. But despite not knowing all of this on our own, people are naturally capable of being excellent communicators and with only a few simple techniques and tactics, most are able to successfully manage professional client relationships and significantly improve their conversational skills.
Dedication to Customer Service
“The customer is always right” goes the saying, and many stick to it like the holy book. Indeed, seeing how essential customers are to the survival of any business, being dedicated to them as much as possible is a must. Customer service, typically a phone-operated department, is the backbone of this part of management and must be polished up as much as can be.
Apart from courses for the phone operators, and making sure they sound pleasant over the line, advances in technology can help us here as well. Using apps like Voco for easier and more reliable communication allows you to dedicate more energy to talking with the client instead of fighting through the various social media and communication platforms that the company uses to reach out to as many people as possible.
Have in mind that such apps also benefit small business owners as they are very flexible in the way you can manage a growing customer base.
Paying Attention to Details
When communicating with clients you generally already know the gist of it. You know your products and capabilities, the realistic deadlines, how much you can charge for such a service, etc. What lacks in this scheme is the details the client will tell you, and it is important to pay close attention to them.
A very important communication skill, listening to specifics during a conversation and writing them down, is needed so you can repeat it back and go over the details again in the future. It is actually very simple to do as you should already know the rest of your offer, as mentioned beforehand.
Clients also greatly appreciate this as it means you’ve dedicated more thought to their request and will most likely do it exactly as they wanted it. Be it ordering a specific meal in a restaurant (…and with pickles on the side, please!), or even discussing a building project – details matter.
A crucial thing in maintaining clients happy and loyal in today’s market is establishing an online reputation as a sort of guarantee of your business’s quality. Online reputation is mostly based on reviews people leave on various sites that can rate, and rank, your business. The problem with this is – most people do not leave any type of review at all. People will instinctively leave negative feedback if they feel like it, but usually nothing, if the service was average or if it didn’t exceed their expectations.
The trick here is to actively ask people for reviews after every completed transaction. Some will be thrilled with the service and will leave excellent remarks, but most will give an average grade and comment – though that is what you are looking for too. In this game of numbers showing that you have many satisfied customers will only be a signal for more clients to show up. Bad reviews go against this, but then again – it is up to you to make sure no client even wants to leave such a note on your website or on Google.
Setting Agendas for Meetings
Meetings with clients are a very important, yet very time-consuming aspect of running a business. They can also be a cause of great frustration if both you and the client can’t find a common language, and don’t know what to expect from one another. To combat this you should think ahead and plan out the meeting agenda to help steer the conversation in one way that helps you make a deal.
Organizing a meeting in a formal way means, if nothing else, preparing the topics that are to be covered and doing a background check on the client you are meeting. Preparing a speech is also a good idea, but it may be silly if you are meeting only one person and not a board of directors.
Make sure you do not stray too far from the topics so you can actually reach some conclusions and deals during the meeting, and if the client wants additional information or deals schedule another meeting and prepare for that one too.
Make sure you don’t let the client try to explain everything on their own. Unless you have previous experience with the client in question, know that they are maybe not familiar with your company nor how it does business. They are maybe using different terminology, have far too optimistic expectations concerning deadlines, etc.
By asking questions you will make sure that both sides are on the same page and that a mutual understanding can be achieved. It is disastrous if both sides think they are understood, but when the final product arrives it isn’t what the client asked for.
The questions should, of course, be direct and clear, and not made so as to make the client feel inferior. This is where a good salesman has to test their patience, as a very technical language can be a hard barrier to cross with people who are not familiar with the profession.
Good client relationships are valuable capital to any company, and it should be considered vital to take care of it by any means necessary. Having the proper communication skills to make new deals and keep older clients satisfied and active, is critical to keep a business growing.
A smile, a nice greeting, a confident voice, and above all knowing what to say – can go a long way in the business world.