Client Management

5 Best Practices When Communicating With Clients

We’ve all been there – you feel like you are running in circles with a client, and you’re at a loss for how you can better explain your thought process. The constant back and forth can take up tons of time, and create plenty of unnecessary frustration. Some misunderstandings can even lead to losing the client all together. Perfecting our communication skills both within our teams, as well as with our clients, can create the promise of a successful future.

Communication can make or break a business. We’ve all experienced that moment of panic when we misread the tone of voice in a text or misconstrued a weirdly worded email from our boss. It’s time we cut the confusion and replaced it with some clarity!

We’re breaking down the top 5 best ways to ditch misunderstandings, efficiently handle conflict, and streamline your thoughts when communicating with clients.

1. Practice Your Listening Skills

Communication is much more than talking – listening is half the battle. Instead of constantly thinking of what you will say next, stop and hear your client out. When we are egocentric, we completely miss out on the other party’s side, which leads to those frustrating circles. A solution can only be found when both parties are being heard. Listen and understand your clients’ side, collaborate, and work to find a solution. This not only gets the job done quicker, but it makes your client feel valued, which builds a stronger relationship.

2. Clarity Is Key

Do you find your thoughts constantly jumbling in your head? It can be hard to translate a language that is so clear to you, but completely foreign to the client. We find this often in web design, which is why Punchlist was born to crush those pain points. While we tend to overthink when expressing our thought process to our clients, the solution is quite simple. Create the main points of your thought in a clear and concise manner. Make a brief outline if you need to! Communicate the main points, answer any questions they may have, and offer up a clear solution. Don’t get lost in over-communicating – simply simply simply!

3. Keep A Notebook

Your notebook is your best friend. Whenever you jump on a call with a client, take avid notes. Write down key points about upcoming tasks, important dates, and maybe even personal points you can check up on later. It shows extreme care and value when you remember the little things about your client. Not only will your notebook keep your client fresh in your mind, but it will also prevent you from allowing tasks to fall through the cracks. Keeping all of your important information organized and in one place will keep you on task and aligned with your clients’ goals.

4. Edit Your Emails

Remember that weirdly-worded email from your boss we mentioned earlier? Yeah, that’s never fun. Avoid misleading your clients or team members by editing your emails. Before you hit send, give your email copy a once-over. How does it read? Is the tone positive? Is there any way that the recipient could misunderstand? Put yourself in the other party’s shoes, and make sure everything checks out. Be clear, concise, professional, and positive, and avoid the pothole of misinterpretation.

5. Have An Effective Communication System

Although projects often follow similar patterns, leaving the flow of communication up to the client can often lead to things falling through the cracks. Don’t be afraid to act like the expert, you do these types of projects all the time, you know the best tool for the job! Take initiative and streamline your communication with a seamless system. 

Try these tips next time you are chatting with a client or finding yourself caught in the back and forth. Want to go the extra mile? Try Punchlist for free with your team today! Keep all of your web content in one place – with Punchlist, you can share a project with your client or team and have them annotate directly on the website. It’s time you stop wasting the day away with random emails, documents, text messages, or chat feedback. 

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Pete Bernardo

Pete Bernardo is the Founder & CEO of Punchlist, a TechStars Mentor, and occasional pizza maker. Former EVP at Three Five Two, Inc, Pete has 20 years of design & development experience across clients like CNN, Porsche, American Express, and Microsoft.
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