When working remotely with a client, your words matter more than ever. Communication with clients needs to be flawless.
Since they won’t be able to see you in person, you need to make your words speak volumes—without the helpful added context of things like body language, facial expressions, and other non-verbal communication methods (e.g. screenshots , GIFs and screenshot annotations etc.)
At the same time, how you present yourself to clients can be even more telling of how dedicated you are to your work. It is possible to leave a lasting impression in your remote communications with a bit of effort.
In this post, we will dive into some tips for establishing clear communication with clients and ensuring a seamless and fruitful experience when working together.
1. Be Professional
This may seem like it goes without saying, but professionalism can sometimes go by the wayside.
Being professional could mean many things, some of which we’ll mention later. But first and foremost, you need to communicate with clients using direct and straight-to-the-point language.
Don’t use colloquialisms, slang, and emojis with your client as if you’re talking to a friend. As an employee hired by this client, you need to show the utmost respect in how you speak to them.
Once both of you get comfortable with each other, you may be able to joke around as long as it doesn’t distract you from doing your job. But in the beginning, it’s best to be professional with how you communicate with your clients. Your default tone of voice should always be friendly and cordial.
There may come a time when the client asks questions that you’ve already answered before, maybe even multiple times. Instead of letting your annoyance influence your emails or conversations, remind yourself to keep your cool and respond level-headedly.
As mentioned previously, professionalism in the workplace covers a broad spectrum. But these basic tips should be a good starting point to put you on the right track.
2. Always Be on Time
Nothing screams unprofessionalism more than being late.
If you consistently submit work past its due date, reply to messages days after receiving them, or show up late to meetings, it indicates a lack of dedication to your client.
“Punctuality demonstrates your willingness to get up early, plan, and make every effort to complete your work on time,” says Yeukai Kajidori on LinkedIn.
It’s one thing to be late because of an emergency, but at the very least, don’t make them wait around for you. If possible, inform your client of the emergency. Tell them you will be running late or ask if the meeting can be postponed.
If you are sick and know you won’t be able to complete your work by the agreed-upon date, let the client know as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the day the project is due before communicating with a client that it’s not ready.
At the same time, being on time goes both ways. If the client is constantly late and doesn’t get back to you on time, consider looking for opportunities from other clients. It all boils down to respect.
Communicate with a client clearly and honestly. If you are habitually late without reasonable cause, don’t be surprised if the client replaces you with someone more reliable. If you can’t dedicate an allocated amount of your day to your client, this will cost you in the long run.
3. Advocate for Transparency
Leave no stone unturned in your initial communication with clients. Choose to be honest and transparent with each other right from the start.
Regularly share your expertise and insights about the project you’re working on together. Communicate with the client the good things about their business and the not-as-good things.
Sharing may mean telling them things they don’t want to hear. Some clients don’t want to listen to the painful truth, even though it’s necessary. If you see potential issues or flaws in the project, bring it up early so you and your client can work out the kinks.
If they get upset over criticism, then at least you got this project out of the way and can move on by finding new projects. You don’t want to work for people who don’t value your insights.
4. Communicate Visually (Using a Snipping Tool)
There are times when words aren’t enough to help you share your thoughts and ideas with clients.
This is especially true if your client lives in another part of the world with different ideas and a different way of life. While this is not necessarily bad, it could hamper communication with your client if the client misunderstands your words.
Therefore, the best way to ensure that your words don’t get misconstrued is to demonstrate them visually . Try taking screenshots of your screen complete with annotations or even taking a video of yourself while recording your screen.
A tool that can help you with this is Zight (formerly CloudApp). We built Zight (formerly CloudApp) with clear, efficient communication with clients in mind. Among its many features, the app can record sections or the entirety of your screen with its snipping tool .
If taking pictures isn’t your thing, you can record yourself talking about the project while demonstrating what to do using Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s Screen Recorder .
Using a recording is ideal when you want to show clients data and information that words and images simply can’t communicate effectively on their own.
A key feature, once you’ve saved the image or video, you can upload it to Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s servers and share the link with clients for them to view. No need to attach bulky files to your chat or email correspondence.
As a bonus, asynchronous communication allows them to access and view the information on their own time and get back to you once they’ve gathered their thoughts. You and the client can rewatch the video and reference it down the road to better stay on the same page.
5. Keep a Written Record
As human beings, our memories are fallible. When you communicate with a client via phone or video calls, you won’t be able to recall everything that was said with perfect clarity.
It’s always a good idea to take notes during the call or meeting. If you take notes and your client doesn’t, it’s a recipe for miscommunication. Your client is just as prone to forgetting the details of a conversation as you are. If they remember the conversation differently, it’s far too easy to miss the mark on project goals, requirements, and other expectations.
At the end of each meeting or call , put together a quick summary of everything decided or agreed upon. This can be as simple as a bullet point list or a short video highlighting the main points. Share this email or video with your client and ask them to confirm that everything you noted was accurate.
While it feels like an extra task that adds more work to your day, it’s worth your time. Clearing up miscommunications will ensure both you and the client enjoy an amicable, successful partnership.
6. Build a Stronger Relationship
With many employees and businesses looking for work, you need to make yourself indispensable to your clients. This means going above and beyond to prove your value.
Communicating your worth to clients will give them more reason to keep you around and provide you with more work in the future.
Here are some additional tips:
- Be accountable – Set deadlines for yourself and communicate them clearly to your clients. Make sure everybody is on the same page with the projects you’re collaborating on.
- Ask for feedback – There’s always room for improvement, even if the client beams about the great job you’re doing. Ask for constructive feedback on how you can do even better.
- Learn how they work – Since you’ll be spending most of your professional time tending to their needs, it only makes sense to figure out how they run the ship. Learn as much as you can to deliver work that best fits their needs.
You can find out more ideas on building better client relationships at The Muse.
Communication is key to every facet of life.
No one is a mind reader, not even your clients. Miscommunication not only wastes time–it can also frustrate you and your client, leading to strain in the partnership. You need to express yourself clearly and effectively so you and your client can work in sync.
Of course, communication goes both ways. If the client is unwilling to meet you halfway, it might be best to cut ties with this person and move on to the next. But for most of your clients, if you follow these steps, you should be able to achieve clear, respectful communication with clients that will make the most out of your business relationships.
Zight (formerly CloudApp) helps you communicate faster and better with your clients. You can easily record a screenshare video, capture screenshots, annotate them and even create short understandable GIFs. The best part? You can share all these files instantly without pulling a sweat.
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