Client Communication: Everything Agencies Need to Know
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”—wise words from Peter Drucker, the famed management consultant, educator, and author. I’d argue that this is especially important in client communication.
Communicating effectively with clients helps improve the relationship, which can be beneficial in numerous ways.
But not everyone is a natural-born talent when it comes to managing client relations. So, how do you communicate with your client base, and how do you do it effectively?
In this blog post, I’ll cover everything agency owners and account executives need to know about client communication.
What is client communication?
Client communication refers to any communication that occurs between a client and a business serving them.
Over the years, communication has taken multiple shapes and forms, namely:
Written communication: emails, text messages, and chatting via business messaging apps,
Verbal communication: phone calls and face-to-face communication, and
Non-verbal communication: facial expressions, touch, eye contact, hand movements, and more.
Anyone working with clients needs to have the ability to communicate with them effectively—this is an integral project management process. Statistics show that 86% of executives and employees think the lack of effective collaboration and communication is the leading cause of workplace failures.
Efficient client communication helps people capture ideas, progress projects smoothly, and ensure they can produce business results.
Another survey says that 71% of those employees who said they were more productive feel well-connected to their colleagues. Regular communication is one of the best ways to stay connected. It will satisfy the clients and your employees, and help your agency grow.
4 benefits of great client communication
The relationship between a client and an agency is collaborative. This means it requires spefic communication methods that work for both parties. And the client communication process you choose is not set in stone—you must constantly improve it.
Let’s look at five key benefits that effective client communication brings to agencies.
1. More clarity
Communication is an essential tool for understanding what the client actually needs. Asking the right questions and communicating efficiently can help you better understand your client’s pain points and their business goals.
If you clearly communicate your future actions, you’ll be able to manage client expectations properly, eliminating any misunderstandings or confusion.
2. Satisfying wants and needs
In almost any relationship between a client and a service provider, the client’s needs and requirements are likely to change. If you have a framework for effective communication in place, you should be able to adapt to any changes.
With that said, companies with great communication abilities don’t just react to client requests, they actively engage with them. This role is usually attributed to a success team, whose role is to help the client succeed.
3. More business in the future
It can be very beneficial to interact with your clients regularly, even after you’ve finished their project. Clients are the happiest when they know that they can count on you. A newsletter, phone call, or an occasional in-person visit usually does the trick.
However, failing to stay in touch with the client could lead them to your competitors.
4. Valuable feedback
Clients look at your business from a unique angle—they’re both on the outside of your business and the inside since they’re working with you. Thanks to this, communicating with your customers openly can bring you lots of helpful feedback, which you can use to improve your product or service.
How to define a client communication strategy
The secret to good client communication is a carefully designed communication strategy.
Before you define it, you need to understand the elements of positive customer communication, how they lay the groundwork for the strategy, and eventually help create healthier client relationships:
Transparency: Being honest and upfront with your clients is essential because it provides you more security with your client in the long run and because you’re at least partially responsible for your client’s success.
Self-awareness: Recognizing your role and distinguishing it from the role of your client should be pretty straightforward. This distinction will help inform how you communicate with the client. It will also help you be more open toward collaboration and accept new ideas and other perspectives, which will keep your client happy.
Compassion: Considering your agency as an integral part of the client’s team forces you to put yourself in their shoes. This makes it easy to align with the goal of most businesses: growth. Understanding the client’s angle will also help you communicate results to them. Compassion goes a long way in communicating with potential clients.
Flexibility: Adjusting to different personality types will do wonders for your client communication efforts. Some clients will want a more personal relationship, while others will prefer to keep things strictly professional. In any case, recognizing how the clients want to be treated, and being flexible about it will help ensure your communication strategy works.
At this point, you should be ready to define your communication strategy.
To do that, figure out how many levels your strategy should have. There are three levels you can use: organization-wide, project-specific, and stakeholder-specific, when looking from the broadest to the narrowest level.
On the organization-wide level, you’ll, for example, define the communication tools you’ll use in your organization. On the stakeholder-specific level, you’ll define how frequently you want to update the key stakeholders and other relevant people.
The second step is to define the key stakeholders and their hierarchy (internal, external, and third-party). Based on this, you can then prioritize your activities. Usually, agencies focus on internal stakeholders first, then external and third-party ones.
Next, you need to collect client information and identify the communication rules for each stakeholder. These rules can include contact details, how frequently they want to communicate with you and your team, communication timeline, and specific communication preferences.
Grow your industry knowledge
Once you’ve established all the levels, the stakeholders, their hierarchy, and stakeholder-specific rules, you and everyone on your team will know when and how to communicate with your clients.
Client communication FAQ
Why is client communication important?
The way we talk, write, and get our point across says a lot about a person. It can demonstrate intelligence and make your seem professional. In the B2B niche, the latter is especially important. But you also want to ensure customers that you know them well, have learned about their needs, and can help them achieve their goals.
How to improve communication with client?
Always keep in mind that a human is on the other side of the screen. They have their ups and down—just as you. Then there’s the fact that some customers might want to be addressed politely, others are fine if you talk casually. All this information can be safely stored in your CRM, so your team knows how to talk to your client base.
When should you communicate with your clients?
There’s a time and place for everything—that includes client communication. Certain messages are more urgent and important than others, for instance missing a deadline, or needing approval. Also keep the working hours and time zone of your customers in mind.
Over to you
Communicating effectively is crucial for the success of any project. However, some agencies still struggle to put processes in place and use tools that make things easier.
With the information provided in this blog post, I hope you’ve learned more about client communication and how you can make it better. Remember to approach it from a strategic standpoint, and don’t forget there’s a human on the other side.