3 Tips for Communicating with Clients

I don’t profess to be an expert when it comes to communicating with clients. However, in the six years that I’ve been in this industry, I’ve certainly learned a lot about communicating with clients, managing expectations, and building relationships. So here are some tips I’ve learned along the way that have really helped me:

1. Recap the discussion
As an Account Manager, I have a lot of face-to-face meetings or phone calls with clients. It’s often faster to get answers or work through things with clients this way. However, sometimes these calls or meetings last an hour or more and decisions can be made and then remade, and it’s hard to keep track at the end of what’s been decided upon and who’s doing what. Which isn’t helpful if it’s your job to act on those decisions afterwards!

A fellow Account Manager used to always close a meeting by summarizing the following: 1) what decisions were made, 2) what she was expecting the client to do, and 3) what the client can expect her to do.

Ever since then, I started doing the same. I think of it as CYA and a good way to ensure you’re all on the same page. And it lets the client know that you were listening and informs them of what they can expect from you afterwards so there’s no confusion.

2. Send one email – not five!
Clients are busy. That’s probably one of the main reasons they’ve chosen to hire you! So don’t waste their time and send them five emails a day, when you could be sending one. Your client is more likely to respond to one email anyway, so summarize all your thoughts/questions into one succinct email. (Hint: it also makes it easier to find answers later, if you’re not having to wade through numerous emails!).

3. Be upfront about changes/problems/delays
They say it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Well, I don’t think that rule applies to clients. I would much rather tell my client if their poster will be delayed because of printer issues, than have them email me that they never got it the day it was due. No one wants those kinds of emails. It may be a small thing, but it chips away at the foundation of trust you’ve built up with your client. So be upfront – even if it’s hard. Your client will understand (they’re human, too!) and appreciate the proactive communication.

What are your tried-and-tested tips for communicating with clients?