This one is for all the consultants, designers, marketers and basically anyone who works on a project basis. Here’s the big message I’d like to impart:
If your client ever calls you for an update, it’s a communication fail.
If the client (or stakeholder) EVER wonders what’s happening with their project and goes out of their way to contact you then either you haven’t been managing their expectations or you’ve dropped the ball. Both reasons are a big no-no and here’s why.
Not knowing, sucks.
It creates a sense of disappointment. If your client has asked for an update then they’re out of the loop. Now instead of being the VIP, they’re feeling like a cheap-seats spectator who’s been put right up at the nosebleed section… right behind a stadium column!
We’ve all experienced that sort of treatment ourselves, right? Whether it’s waiting for a plumber to turn up, or wondering when an online order is going to be sent, right up to not knowing when you’re going to receive a bank mortgage offer. We can’t plan, we don’t feel confident, we can’t plan, and we feel insecure about the process.
So what happens when YOUR client feels insecure about your process? It takes some shine off your brand. And worse, it makes them feel you don’t care.
Since we’re in the business of exceeding expectations, building rapport and creating raving fans the LAST thing we want is to destroy all our good work just because we didn’t keep them in the loop.
The solution is being pre-emptive.
At Web123 we’re quick and responsive, but we’re also preemptive and that’s a big reason behind our success. Let me explain what I mean.
We’ve built well over a 1000 websites, we know what we have to do and we know how long each step usually takes. It’s a walk in the park… for us. We know our clients aren’t web geeks and actually many are a bit fearful of the web. So our first step of any new project is not the website itself, it’s the communication. We alleviate any fear, concern or questions our clients may have through clear and open discussion. Then we make sure they know all the steps involved, and when they will occur. We also let them know when we’ll next be in contact.
This way our clients are always on the same page as us and we do what we say.
It’s as simple as that.
The upside of this is the client is secure; they feel they’re part of the process because they understand the process. They trust us because we do what we say we do; and of course, if something does go off-course, we’re straight on that phone or that email and we let the client know what’s happening and the new ETA.
How many website companies spend time on preemptive customer service? How many web companies approach the client communication with the same passion as the technical project? Almost none. That’s a big reason why so much of our new business comes from referrals.
Now, what about your industry? What is the norm for client management? Do they treat the client as an unfortunate side effect of making money, or are they treated like the gold they are? Could you do it better?
How can YOU adapt your processes to make the client a focus of every project?
I bet if you put your thinking cap on you’ll come up with some awesome ideas how to make your client feel great about working with you. It doesn’t have to suck all your time. Sometimes just a few touches of contact from you is all it takes to shift their opinion of you from OK to amazing.
I’d love to hear what you’re doing to make clients a central part of your business. Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time ABN’ers! Bianca