Cookies 🍪

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website.

Communicating effectively with your clients

Man and woman sat together looking at a computer with the man explaining and pointing to something on the screen.

Effective communication is crucial for any business. While knowledge and experience are fundamental, the way a company communicates with its clients often sets it apart from competitors. This is particularly vital in a service business, where there isn’t the pull of a specific and maybe unique product. This is also relevant for those who have internal clients.  According to research from Conscious Solutions Ltd, communication plays a pivotal role in client satisfaction and loyalty.

How employees perform their jobs significantly contributes to how distinctive a firm or company is. Knowledge and experience are often comparable across firms, especially well-known ones, but service quality stands out. In the legal sector, for example, 46% of clients rate service as a key factor when selecting a provider, close behind price (54%) and experience (48%) [source: Conscious Solutions Ltd 2023].

Clients today expect more than just expertise; they want to feel valued and understood. This is where service becomes a key differentiator. Excellent service often hinges on how well you communicate with your clients, shaping their overall experience and perception of your business.

The way you communicate with clients can significantly influence their perception of your service. Effective communication helps clients feel appreciated and respected, fostering a positive relationship.

However, it’s crucial to balance meeting client needs with maintaining professional boundaries. For instance, 87% of clients expect direct contact details of the person handling their work, making it essential to manage these expectations appropriately [source: Conscious Solutions Ltd 2023].

Here are some key considerations for communication with your clients:

Building rapport and trust

Establishing a strong rapport and trust with your clients from the beginning can make communication smoother and develop goodwill, which will serve you well when challenges arise.

Here’s how to build and maintain these crucial elements in your client relationships.

Early engagement

Getting off to a good start with clients involves more than just a friendly introduction. It’s about demonstrating genuine interest and understanding from the very first interaction. By doing so, you lay the groundwork for a trusting relationship.

  • Listen actively: Pay close attention to your client's needs and concerns. This shows that you value their input and are committed to meeting their expectations.

  • Show empathy: Understand and share your client's feelings. Empathy goes a long way in making clients feel understood and respected.

Empathy and understanding

Continuing to demonstrate empathy when you engage with clients beyond the first meeting is vital in making clients feel valued. The more clients feel understood, the more positively they will interact with you. This emotional connection can significantly impact their loyalty and willingness to refer others to your services.

  • Personal touch: Tailor your communication to each client’s personality and preferences. This personal touch can enhance their experience and satisfaction. For instance, is a client a detail person or they prefer a concise message.

  • Consistent follow-up: Regular check-ins can show clients that you care about them and are there to support them.

Practical communication tips

Setting clear expectations and maintaining open lines of communication are key to building strong client relationships.

Setting expectations

From the outset, establish clear expectations to ensure everyone is on the same page. This helps prevent misunderstandings and keeps clients reassured that their work is progressing.

  • Outline timeframes: Set clear expectations for the delivery of work. Clients appreciate knowing when they can expect it to be done by.

  • Frequency of updates: Agree on how frequently you will update the client. This could be as and when new developments occur, on a regular basis (e.g., weekly), or a combination of both.

  • Preferred communication channels: Determine how you will communicate—whether via phone, email, or virtual calls.

Handling urgent matters

Sometimes, urgent issues arise that require immediate attention. Having a plan in place for these situations can help manage client expectations and reduce stress.

  • Preferred methods for urgency: Agree on how to contact them with urgent updates or questions. Some clients may prefer a phone call without prior notice, while others may want a planned discussion.

  • Proactive communication: Being proactive can build trust and reduce the frequency of client-initiated updates. When clients know you will keep them informed, they are less likely to feel anxious about the progress of their work.

Responding to clients

Prompt and clear responses to client enquiries demonstrates your commitment to their needs and helps to build trust.

  • Timely acknowledgement: If you cannot fully respond to a client’s query immediately, send a holding reply to acknowledge receipt and indicate when you will provide a complete response.

  • Clear communication: Ensure all communications are clear. Avoid misunderstandings by considering if an email could be misinterpreted. For difficult messages, a phone call might be more appropriate to convey tone and context accurately.

Consistency and reliability

Consistency in communication fosters a sense of reliability. Clients are more likely to trust and continue doing business with a firm/company that communicates consistently and reliably.

  • Regular updates: Keep clients informed with regular updates, even if there is no significant progress to report. This shows that you are attentive and proactive.

  • Dependable follow-through: Always follow through on your promises. If you say you will provide an update or deliver a service by a certain time, make sure you do.

Get to know your clients

Making time to be human and getting to know your clients shows that you value them as individuals. This personalised approach can enhance client satisfaction and loyalty.

  • Personal touches: Small personal touches, such as remembering important happenings they mentioned, dates or details about their preferences, can make a big difference in how valued they feel.

Feedback and improvement

Regularly seek feedback on your communication practices and be willing to adapt. Continuous improvement in how you communicate can lead to better client relationships and enhanced business outcomes.

  • Request feedback: Ask clients for their feedback on your communication and services. This can provide valuable insights and show that you are committed to improving.

  • Implement changes: Use the feedback you receive to make meaningful changes to your communication practices. This shows clients that you value their input and are dedicated to continuous improvement.

Ideally, once a client trusts you, you will understand if there are any issues before they become a big deal.

Effective communication is a cornerstone of client satisfaction and loyalty. By setting clear expectations, being proactive, and personalising interactions, you can build strong, lasting relationships with their clients. This is then likely to lead to more work from those clients and hopefully, referrals to others.

To talk to Joanna about improving client communication and delivering a higher level of service to your clients, contact Joanna for an informal conversation.