We all know how important communication is in any relationship, be it personal, professional, or business. However it cannot be over stated how important in business that we use proactive communication, though it seems I state the obvious – I find the rule of proactively communicating to be under used.
First, how do I define proactive communication? Simply stated, communicating before or immediately after being asked by your client for information relating to a sale, project or any “ping” you receive by the client. Your relationship with your client’s can only grow if you communicate openly and often.
Proactive communication is somewhat of a instinctive reaction. One has to sense if your client needs more information than you’ve provided. Remember, because your intentions are good and the information sits in your head doesn’t mean that the client may not need to hear what may seem to be the simplest of details.
Think of it this way. When you go to your Doctor (and your the client in this relationship!) the Doctor tells you general issues with your health. You may have questions however you may think that asking them may seem obvious, or dumb, or you’re just plain reluctant to ask the “expert” the questions you have.
Your client sees you as the expert as well and may very well be having the same feelings. A good Doctor sees in your eyes or hears in your voice you have concern and takes the time to review in depth any issues you may have and next steps. In business, we need to do the same thing. Don’t assume the client knows what to do next, or what you’re going to do next to help them. Ask questions, listen and explain.
If the client reaches out with some questions you should pick up that she may need more proactive communication than your currently providing. Or if you’re pinged via email or voice mail never wait till you have the answer to call back if there’s going to be a delay. Always, always! respond at least with ” I received your message, I’ll be getting an answer for you [fill in the blank]. It’s far better to respond with nothing than to leave the client thinking you’re unresponsive. No one likes waiting days to hear a response even if you have good intentions of getting a detailed answer to the question. As far as your client is concerned, you’ve dropped the ball. Get responsive! Get your whole team responsive! It adds to your company’s differentiation.
This should be a common practice and certainly using your CRM system can help. In fact you could automate certain routine FAQ’s, use social media or your blog to help keep clients informed. Communication will always return on your investment, in every relationship.
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