Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tip #338: 5 Tips For Better Client Communications


There are all different types of clients in the business world. Some know exactly what they want and how they want it while others do not. As a result, clients like the latter ones tend to struggle when making buying decisions or committing to the direction of a new or existing project.

Communication Is Key To Your Success.

On one hand, your job is to service the needs and wants of your client. On the other hand, you want to maximize the time you spend on the project by being efficient in the management of a client's project. This is why communication between your business and the client is so crucial. With that in mind, we came up with five tips to help you keep the lines of communication clear when working with a client.

5 Tips For Communicating With Clients On A Project:

Tip #1. Get The Most Important Information Up Front: Because you won't always be able to reach your client or get a quick response, you need to gather up as much information as you can initially. The more information you collect at the start of a project the further you can progress before having to consult your client.

Tip #2. Agree To A Communication Plan: Every business operates on their own unique schedule, making consistent communication difficult to maintain. If client involvement is important to a project, it helps to establish a communication plan with the client to ensure you maintain regular contact. This allows you to keep the client abreast on your progress, and helps make sure the client is available to provide feedback or authorize approvals.

Click here to read TechRepublic's extensive article on project communication.

Tip #3. Provide A List Of Decisions: If you know in advance that a project will require a level of customization that calls for approvals, develop a document that outlines the various stages of the project and the corresponding decisions that the client will need to make in order to move the project along from one stage to the next. If you can, include deadlines for the decisions so that your client can better manage their schedule.

Tip #4. Keep Initial Options Light: When a client feels flooded with too many options, they often put off making a decision -- especially if they have their own matters to tend to at their business. This can cause the project to slip their mind, leading to hold ups. Options are good, and lots of options are great, but at the beginning of a client project keep things light to avoid throwing too much at the client at once.

Tip #5. Make Them Feel Like Part Of The Team: Sometimes, when a client does not feel directly involved in a project, it can lead to a breakdown in communication, slowing or even halting a project's development. To avoid this, make your client part of your "inner circle" so they feel like a team member. Do this, and you will vastly improve the likelihood of getting a response from them when you need input.

Executive Summary: As with so much in life, effective communication is integral to the success of a client project. This requires more than just calling a client up or sending them an e-mail. Having a plan for maintaining communication throughout a project's life will make things much easier. Plus, it also helps manage your client's expectations and will make future projects get approved with little to no resistance.

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