The key to successful client relationships is good communication. Good communication keeps everyone happy and on the same page and helps to iron out any problems before they cause bigger issues.
If you’re new to working with clients, then you might be wondering how best to approach the client relationships. Here are some tips for ensuring clear and effective communication.
Don’t just rely on email
Email is easy and preferable for those a bit nervous about speaking to clients. However, some clients will prefer to speak via phone or on Skype. Giving them the option gives them reassurance, especially if this is their first time hiring a freelancer online.
Be informal (where appropriate) but not sloppy
Some clients will prefer informality as it makes you easier to speak with and more approachable. However, this isn’t an excuse to get sloppy. Always proofread emails for spelling mistakes and never type in text speak. Abbreviations are fine if they’re understandable and correct.
Match your client’s language
We’d recommend starting off fairly formal and matching your client’s tone in emails. For example, if a client emails with “hi” then there’s no need to be overly formal in your responses. You can say hi back. This way, if the client prefers formal communication you can just continue your approach without coming across poorly to them.
If you’re trying to win a new client and have emails littered with smiley faces, it doesn’t send out a great impression. You want them to see you as a professional first and foremost because they’re trusting you to complete quality work. Again, if it’s something your client uses, then feel free to include them every now and then.
Schedule in meetings
Whether it’s in person or over the phone, it helps to have regular check-in times, particularly if it’s a big or ongoing project. This gives you both a chance to talk about the work, any changing requirements and keep everyone on track.
Draw up a contract
While you’re discussing the project in the beginning, it’s a good idea to get everything down in writing and have both parties sign it. This ensures that everyone knows what’s required of them and if in the event that there’s disagreement, it can be used to refer to. It’s also a good place to discuss any policies you have such as payment terms and late payment penalties.
Are you struggling to communicate with new clients? What’s your go-to communication tool? Let us know your thoughts.