How to Communicate With Your Clients

July 5, 2010 • By

Effectively communicating with your client is not only an integral part of your relationship but one that’s vital. It will also aim to help you understand tasks, projects, and the needs at hand. Without proper communication between you and your client chaos will likely have its way and several unfinished projects would be the norm. As humans we thrive on communication, it’s a necessarily and an important part of our everyday lives. Now imagine how things would be if there was wasn’t any viable flow of communication with your clients? Nothing pretty.

Within this article we’ll touch base on 5 tips that will help you improve your communication for a much higher level of interaction when it comes to you and your clients. You must also remember that every client is different and will require different levels of communication. Try to find a balance and work with your clients.

Employ Active Interest

As any seasoned designer would tell you it’s in your best interest to show a little interest in what your client has to tell you. If a client feels like you don’t care about what they say then unappreciated feelings begin to surface and will ultimately lead to a strained relationship.

As unimportant as you think the things your client has to tell you are, take the time to listen and interact with the client. There’s a time to listen and then there’s a time to speak. Make sure you have a balance of the two and make your client feel as if they were the only gem in the sea. Well maybe not that far, but you get the point.

Ask Questions That Will Shed Light

You might of heard this a billion times, but we can’t stress enough the importance of asking questions. Listening to your client is extremely important, and as you ask questions you open up more opportunities to listen, gain clarity, and interact.

If you don’t ask any questions your client will either think you’re a Zen (web) Master or you don’t really care/want to deal with the project at hand. Odds are they’ll think the later. Questions are also a fundamental building block to the inception of your clients project. The best way to get the jump on a project is to ask questions on the things your mind is possibly breaking a sweat to comprehend.

No matter how “stupid” or irrelevant you believe your question to be, as long as it pertains to the project it’s best to clarify then assume. It could be the difference between going back and fixing a few lines of code or having to re-code a site. However that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim to ask the most important questions first. It can depend on your client and the amount of communication they may want. Some of you may remember our previously written article that outlines 14 Questions To Ask Your Clients Before and After a Project.

Free Consultations Anyone?

You may not want to hear this but if a doctor can give free consultations on a minor health issue (they do exist) then so can you. We’re not saying that you have to be 100% disposable at your clients every whim, however, don’t turn them away if they have questions or need something thoroughly explained.

You should also voice your educated opinions when needed. In example, if you truthfully believe the color your client wants their links will interfere with the accessibility of the user interface then make this known in a respectful manner. At the end of the day even though this is your clients project, it is your work and it will be more than likely displayed in your portfolio.

Many of the clients you come across will not overlook your advice, but they will respect them instead. They will also appreciate the fact that you have their best interest at mind. With all the above being said, never turn away a client if they have any concerns. If you don’t have the required amount of time needed to deal with a concern, then respectfully tell them you’ll get back to it at a more convenient time. They’ll understand.

Enhancing Professionalism and Being Respectful

You may ask what this has to do with communication, and we’ll tell you it has everything to do with it. You must assure you clients that you’re a professional beyond your web presence, and most of all, you’re respectful in every possible way.

Because in most cases you’re probably not going to be face to face with your clients, you have to asses the way you approach them. You have to remember that when you write an email and even if it’s over the phone, your client cannot see your facial expressions, however, they can definitely sense what you’re feeling in your words or tone of voice.

Respect goes hand in hand with professionalism, and the two will ensure that you conduct yourself accordingly even if the client decides to break a contract (for example). You never know what client will be a bi-product of a past client relationship.

Provide Examples and Reasoning

There are two parts for providing examples, the first one is to ensure that you give your clients proper examples when it comes to the communication on how you will implement certain technologies and techniques within their project. This will allow them to visualize how these adaptions will work and the effect they will have on their project whether positive or not.

The second is to have supporting examples on anything your client needs clarified. There may come a time where your client may question your methods or the way you manage their project. Be sure to have an ample amount of examples that will support and justify your actions.

Also, strive to be reasonable when it comes to the decisions you make and the ones your clients may want you to take. After all, it’s their project and hopefully if you’ve taken it under your wings they’re paying you accordingly for it. Behind reason there’s rationale. As long as you practice being reasonable, then you’re well on your way to fruitful and communicative relationship.