Written by Zach Hansen
The common saying that “customer is king” rings true in every aspect. You are in business to serve the customer. You identified a need or problem that the customer has and built a company to solve it.
Naturally, everything you do in your business should center around the customer. This is especially true if you run a contract-based business where you get to directly interact with the client. One of the most important skills you’ll need to master is customer communication. Here’s are some strategies that can help you improve communication with your customers and ensure they’re satisfied every time.
Talk about their Timeline
One of the first things you should discuss with your customer during contract negotiations is their timeline for the project. Several things can put your client off, but one that will surely damage your credibility is delivering on projects late.
While it can be tempting to close first and discuss the timeline later, it’s important to understand your client’s timeline before any contracts are signed. Typically, the customer wants the project done on time, but their timeline or deadline might not be feasible. Discussing the timeline prior to closing the deal will give you the chance to negotiate it before the work starts. This will help you avoid having to extend deadlines later and potentially upsetting your client.
When Was The Last Time They Had This Done?
Discussing the timeline with your customer before closing the deal will also give you to chance to ask questions like “When was the last time you had this done?” or “How long have you owned this home?” These types of questions will give you a better idea of how long a project could take and how expensive the project will be. What may seem like a cheap and easy fix to the client could actually end up being a major project. Asking questions that enable you to give accurate quotes and timelines will show to clients you care that they can trust you to be honest and provide quality work.
Ask about Materials
Asking about materials is a great way to connect with your client. It gives them the chance to show you what aspects of the project they’re most excited about and it gives you a chance to show your client that you’ll willing to listen to their wants and work to make their vision come to life. It will also give you the chance to show off your expertise. Most clients might not know what materials will work best for their projects. Once you’ve taken a look at the materials your client wants, you’ll be able to make suggestions that better serve the project, but still achieve the look the client wants.
On the other hand, if your client hasn’t picked out any materials you can take some time and help them choose what’s best for their project. Show them samples and walk them through the pros and cons of different materials. Taking the time to walk through this process with your clients will show them that you care and that you’re willing to put in the work to make sure you deliver a result that they’ll love.
Follow Up On Customers Who Aren’t Ready To Hire
It often happens that a customer isn’t ready to hire you, no matter the approach and regardless of how well you pitched them. This doesn’t mean they won’t end up hiring you. There might be several reasons why they don’t want to go with you at the moment. Maybe they need more time to get their funds in order, but they wanted to hear some quotes in the meantime.
No matter the reason, if a customer isn’t ready to hire, it’s important to follow up with them so when they are ready, you’ll be top of mind. Ask them when they’d like a follow-up call and then make sure you call them. You can also send them a mailer and add them to your email list. These efforts to communicate will keep you on the client’s radar and could win you the job when they’re to move forward with the project.
Always remember, running a contract-based business means you have to work closely with your customer. You need an array of skills, chief among them is knowing how to communicate effectively. Keep these tips in mind and you’re on your way to happier customers in no time!