Each Wednesday I answer your business questions. It gives you an opportunity to ask a quick question and get to know me better. 📲 15 Second Coaching Occasionally, I will select one of your questions and discuss it in depth here on the blog.
HOW TO STREAMLINE CLIENT COMMUNICATION
“Centralized Communication. Each client has a preference and many do not want to adapt. What do I do?”
It is natural to be resistant to change and remain with the familiar. In an ideal world everyone else adapts to our preferences, however, we know that isn’t the case.
Behaviors and habits are especially hard to change. Look at Facebook and Instagram and how consumers respond anytime a change is made to the algorithm or functionality of these platforms. Your business and technology will continue to evolve too.
The question you have to ask yourself is “What process will be best for my clients and business over the course of time?”
This can be tough because you can’t tell the future. Here are two options.
Double-Down On Your Existing Process
If it is critical in your business to use a platform and process most of your clients are not familiar with then make the learning curve for them as painless as possible. This will require extra communication from you.
Revise marketing and on-boarding copy
This will help set clear expectations for the client on your communication process.
- Start setting expectations during the sales journey by explaining your process. “We use XXXX software to communicate with our clients.” It is important to do this both in writing and verbally.
- When you close the sale, include in the client’s welcome packet specific step-by-step instructions (with screenshots) and/or a video (if possible) to show them how to access their portal, create their account, upload documents, send messages, etc.
- Your first client call or email discuss the platform and ask if they need help navigating. If yes, create an appointment to walk them through the platform.
- It is critical for the success of your client relationships that you over communicate and make it as easy as possible for the client to adapt to the platform.
These steps will require extra effort and time as you set them up on the front end. However, helping your client get acclimated sets the client relationship on the right foot. It also makes it easier for you to get the information you need from the client and actions completed later on in the relationship.
Create A Pro-Customer Process
What is the most common framework you can use to streamline client communication?
- EASY: Everyone knows how to send/receive email. Regardless of their platform (Gmail, Outlook) the email communication process is universal.
- INTERMEDIATE: – Most clients are able to send direct messages through major social media (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp) but not everyone may have an account nor want one. Many clients are familiar with commerce websites having chat windows.
- ADVANCED: Using a 3rd party project management program that has a client facing portal. This will create the most friction and resistance because you are asking clients to learn a new platform. If they are not familiar with it then they are more likely to delay responding to you or taking action on tasks.
From operations and client service point of view, this is why many larger companies create websites with
The challenge most small businesses run into is they try to use an internal project management app like Asana or Trello for external communication. There are project management apps such as Basecamp and Dubsado with built-in client portal functionality.
You may choose to solely use email for communication and create filters or specific email addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org) to manage your inbox. Zapier is helpful for moving information from one app to another.
I experienced similar challenges setting up processes to streamline client communication for Little Black Desk Society clients and I found
How can you make it easy for the other person to complete the action you need?
🗝 MAJOR KEY: When you look at your relationships both professionally and personally through this frame “how can I make it easy for them” then you will be more successful in creating processes and accomplishing your own goals.