Is good old-fashioned communication a lost art?
Now that the world is “flat” and you can communicate with clients from New York to Japan all day long from your little office in Hoboken, is there really a need for good old-fashioned communication? I say YES!
Email has built us incredible efficiencies so we can do business with clients all over the world every single day without leaving the comfort of our office chair. However, even a misread email can be detrimental to a relationship, even when you had the best intentions.
“I will need content for your website before we can move forward
with this project.”
“I WILL NEED CONTENT FOR YOUR WEBSITE BEFORE WE CAN MOVE FORWARD WITH THIS PROJECT!”
Doesn’t the latter sound like you're yelling at them, when in reality your intentions were to just send a friendly reminder to keep the project on track?
Sadly, it’s typically a rare occasion that we get to meet with our clients face to face, but there are still plenty of opportunities to build a lasting relationship. Here's a handful of actions that have helped me immensely.
1. Pick Up the Phone: Often it feels that things will get accomplished much quicker if you just compile a quick email rather than have a full blown discussion over the phone. In most cases this simply isn’t true. What if that email gets misinterpreted? You have now spent time compiling and reading an email that got you nowhere. In addition, you now have to re-explain yourself in an email or pick up the phone. A quick phone call once in awhile is also great to put humanity back into the relationship. Pick up the phone – who knows what great things you can learn.
2. Take any opportunity to meet face to face: Newhall Klein, Inc., is in Kalamazoo, MI. Chicago and Detroit are just a hop, skip and jump away. This is great for us because when our clients go to tradeshows in either one of those cities, we can make a 2-3 hour commute to meet with them face-to-face. The take away from this is invaluable – you match a face with an email address, you gain insights about your clients you would have never received in an email exchange, plus you could uncover other needs your clients have. For instance, they need new tradeshow materials, but didn’t realize you offered that service.
3. Video Conferencing: Plenty of services allow you to talk face to face with clients without leaving the comfort of your cubicle – FaceTime and Skype are just a few that offer their service for little to no cost at all. We always do our best to ensure our clients’ happiness, but we rarely get the opportunity to see the look of satisfaction on their faces. This is a great way to reach out to your clients without dropping a lot of cash.
These simple efforts are just a few things we like to do at NK to keep awesome relationships with our clients, and it truly does make a difference. Healthy communication on all projects is just one of the reasons why clients appreciate working with us time after time.
We’d love to hear other great ways to strengthen client relations. Share what has worked for you in the comments below.