4 Ways to Simplify Client CommunicationThursday, October 9, 2014
Any service business requires heavy client communication, and web development is no different. Your projects have a lot of moving parts, and it’s important that you and your clients are on the same page throughout the project itself. By implementing a few systems, you can communicate more efficiently, save time, and stress less about the details.
Automate Your Email
Think about how much time you spend drafting emails. How many of those emails are roughly the same, with just a few details switched out? Do yourself a favor and start using Gmail’s Canned Responses Lab. You can create email templates that allow you to customize the details for each new recipient — which means you don’t need to type out the same message to each new client you work with.
You can enable this feature in just a few easy steps:
- Access the gear icon in the upper right corner of your Gmail window. Choose Settings, then Labs.
- Search for Canned Responses, and enable the feature.
- Ta-da! You can now save a new email draft as a Canned Response, and select it from the options when you’re ready to send that message to a client.
If you email your clients at each project milestone, you can draft the bones of your message and customize it each time you use it. When you deliver a final project, you might provide the same information each time and ask for a referral or testimonial. Guess what? You can write a Canned Response for this email too.
Put Your Calendar on Auto-Pilot
If you meet or Skype with clients before or during a project, managing your calendar manually can be time-consuming and frustrating. Who wants to spend time emailing back and forth to find a convenient time? Not you, and definitely not your clients. There are some great scheduling apps that can handle this task for you — Acuity and ScheduleOnce are both popular options. Enter your office hours, sync with your Google Calendar, and allow your clients to book appointments at their leisure.
Create a ‘Next Steps’ Page
When you created your Welcome Package, you outlined processes and expectations for the project — which should save you plenty of time. But when you deliver a project, are your clients clear about what happens next? It might help to point them to a web page that includes a tutorial on navigating their website’s administrative interface and managing their content.
Don’t want to put this information on your site? Just create a PDF that you can easily send off with your final project details. By offering this information automatically, you will save your clients the stress of trying to pick up where you left off. And, as always, going above and beyond to make your clients happy will pay off in the long run — usually in the form of referrals and repeat business.
Collect Testimonials Easily
You probably already know how valuable testimonials can be for your business. They help establish your credibility to new website visitors, alleviate doubt for potential clients, and help people feel connected to you through the experience of others like them. Client feedback helps you determine what’s working in your business, and where you need to improve. By automating the feedback process, you can drop client feedback onto your website without much effort.
In one of your Canned Response emails, ask for feedback and include a link to a survey form. Make sure to ask specific questions so you can collect valuable feedback and make improvements to your business and your process where necessary. A few questions you may want to ask:
- What hesitations did you have about working with me?
- What did you find most valuable about my service?
- What could I have done better or differently?
- Is there a service you wish I was providing? What is it?
- Would you recommend my work to others? Why or why not?
As long as your client is comfortable allowing you to share their feedback, you can pull from the form entry and include it as a testimonial on your site.
Take Small Steps to Level Up Your Business
The great thing about systems is that you don’t have to do everything at once. You can start with one of the processes above, and move forward at your own pace. Be sure to make room for systems, though — they take some time to implement, but will make your business more efficient in the long run.