Do you want to learn how to communicate and work with customers? Then you are on the right page as Plant will reveal to you the best tips to help you become a better communicator and help you work more efficiently with your customers. No doubt, no relationship, including business relationships, can survive without communication. In fact, communication is a must-have skill as a human. Sadly, many people lack these basic skills. And what makes this worse is that they are not even aware they do not have excellent communication skills.
Sometimes, customers will not rate you by the quality of your work but by how effective you are at keeping a good relationship with them. Let’s face it; you’re definitely not the best when it comes to product design. Likewise, you are not worse. However, your customers will either rate you as one of the best or probably the worse, and if you listen attentively to why they rated you the way they did, it might be based on how you collaborated with them during the project.
As a freelancer, I have messed up client work and still got a high contract from the same client — thanks to his understanding nature and of course, the way I communicated with them during the project. Let get started; what are the tips you need to follow to become better at communicating and working with customers? Read below.
What if I tell you, you cannot be a good communicator if you are not a good listener? When I mean listen, I don’t mean you should listen in other for you to reply, I mean you should listen so that you can understand clearly what your customers meant. It is no longer news that what some people say and what they mean can be different. In fact, it is more common than you think, especially if the message they are trying to communicate to you might be offensive.
A client might tell you he does not really like a particular color combination. Look at his eyes and listen to the tone of his/her voice, he/she might just really mean you suck at combining colors. If you do not listen well and separate what they say from what they mean, you’ll keep making the same mistakes while they keep sending cryptic messages until you lose them to a competent competitor.
Read your customers and use their emotions against them in the right way. Probably, you did a very good job for a client, and the client is pleased with the work, at that point, the client is in an emotional state you can take advantage of. Why not propose another contract with the client? At this point, he will be more open to agreeing to anything you say than when you haven’t finished the job or some weeks after doing the job.
In your communication with him/her, you can stir up emotions that will make him want to work with you. Do you know about any of their interest or background you feel he is excited about? Bring it up and build that bond with him. He will natural like you and cooperate with you. What businesses do not know is that conventional business ethics are rigid, and some customers do not like that. Deviate a bit from business talks and see how that person will trust you when it comes to business.
A picture they say worth more than a thousand words. You will agree with me when I say people understand visual contents more than they understand words. In determining requirements, how to get the job done and progress report, I will advise you to use visual contents like charts, graphs, diagrams, and pictures to explain things. This will help them understand the message you are trying to pass along.
If you do not use visuals, just get ready to explain and explain and still get misunderstood. Even if you do not have the liberty to do all that, you can simply use a whiteboard to explain things to your customers, they will understand and appreciate you more.
Are you fond of keeping your customers waiting for you long before you attend to them? Then you need to stop doing that as that will keep them away. Your customers value their time just as you value yours. Now, if they are made to waste theirs in a bid for you to save yours, you aren’t customer-centric. You need to let your customers know that their time has value, and the only way to do that is to reduce the time they wait when they want to communicate with you.
Can you set up an automated system to respond to customers query? Please do, this will reduce answering common questions over and over again. However, minimize the use of bots as people do not like being attended to by bots.
Why tell a customer you can do a job for a week when you know it will take you 8 days to get the job done? Why bring down the price of a contract in other for you to use inferior equipment? Let me tell you something; no customer will willingly pay for substandard work except something is wrong. Now regardless of the amount they pay you, they expect an excellent job to be done. I have experienced this first hand.
If you are a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork, I am sure you must have experienced this yourself. Some clients will pay $50 and expect you to do a job of $500. If you never iron things and cut short the customer’s expectations before you submit the job, there’s no how the client will be happy with you. Before doing any work, reach an agreement with the client and make sure you do not deviate. If you must deviate, let the customer know beforehand.
Do you cut corners when customers give you a job to do? Then I bet customers that would recommend you, are very few. You can tell from the number of repeat jobs you get from your clients. If you do a job for a client and you get good feedback from the client, then you discover they gave the next job of almost the same requirement to someone else, ask yourself. Did you cut corners or delivered a shabby job, and the client does not want to hurt your feelings?
If you cut corners, you are being a cheat and ripping the client off in a way because you were paid in full to do a good job.