Father Rutler, the former pastor of the Church St. Michael’s the Archangel in Manhattan has been in the communication business all his life. As a pastor, Rutler thought of his parishioners as his clients.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that Father George holds strong views about client communication in business. Communication and transparency are the lifeblood of a business/client relationship.
What are some of the major elements of client communication?
#1 Take the Time to Listen Actively
Clients have different types of communication skills. Some are direct, but many clients, either by the nature of their personality or how comfortable they are in bringing up business points that may generate conflict, tend to beat around the bush before getting to their main point or points.
If you just assume you know immediately what they are talking about, you’ll likely miss your client’s point, and as Albert Einstein put it best, “Assumptions are made, and most of them are wrong.”
Also, let your client know you are listening with phrases such as, “Really,”, “It sounds like, “Do you mean ” and “Let’s see if I’ve got that right,” to indicate you are in fact listening.
#2. Be Empathetic
Your clients not only need to know you are listening but you are empathetic to elements of your business relationship that they feel uncomfortable about.
Saying, “Thank you for getting in touch with me about this,” or “I’m sorry you have had to deal with this” goes a long way into repairing business relationships.
3. Have Empathy for Those Who are Challenged by Technology
Not everybody is a techie. In fact, most of us aren’t. So learn to speak in plain, non-technical English. And be patient. Father Rutler thinks this will help better relationships with clients.
4. Anticipate Questions and Problems
To really boost client communication, you should make a list of as many questions and answers as possible. You will normally supply your customer service people with these questions and on the FAQs of your website. But be prepared personally to repeat the same answers over and over. It’s just the nature of the business.
5. Keep Your Customers Informed of Breaking Updates and Problems
Your customers do not expect your business to be perfect, but whenever there are updates and problems in your business, let your customers know.
If you are selling software for example, and have noticed a bug in it, send a broadcast out to your customers about the problem and that you are working on it, and give them an ETA when you expect a fix.
Consider Being a Mystery Shopper for Your Team
Undoubtedly, you’ve seen the show “Undercover Bosses.” You don’t necessarily need to go that far, but consider being a mystery shopper for your customer support team. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn.
Bring in Professional Outside Help
Many businesses bring in professional outside help because businesses can be blind to their faults. By getting a professional opinion, you ramp up your client communication.