Ten Best Practices for Client Communications
Here are my top ten best practices to implement for communicating with clients and have a successful project.
- Don’t be afraid of the phone — When in doubt pick up the phone. Email is great, but if a client seems upset about something, a phone conversation is much better than responding via email or your CRM (Customer Relationship Manager/Project Managment software).
- Always leave a voicemail — If you have time, best practice is to also follow up with an email or CRM update (we use Mavenlink) so that it is documented.
- Provide reminders — if you are waiting on something from the client, give them consistent reminders. It is okay to remind them every 48 hours.
- Follow up — follow up on questions, posts, messages, etc. within 24hrs. Even if you don’t have an answer to something, let them know you are looking into it.
- OVER COMMUNICATE — no one ever complained about being over-informed about a project.
- Document as much as possible — take notes: phone calls, meetings, when files were sent…anything that could potentially be referred back to. Especially things that are agreed upon between parties.
- Be Prepared — know what you are going to say about an issue before picking up the phone or going into a meeting.
- Monthly recaps and look-aheads — let them know what was completed this month; let them know what is coming up.
- Ask for regular feedback — ask them how they are feeling and any issues they are struggling with. If you request feedback about systems/processes/deliverables, they will be more likely to give it to you. This also lets them air less-than-pleasant feelings before they potentially boil over.
- Be Honest — Be honest about dropped balls, lack of expertise, feelings, etc. The worst thing to do is make up a lie, or even BS excuses about things that went wrong.
Have you used any other communication tactics with good (or bad) results? Let us know in the comments!