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The Art of Purposeful Client Communication


For leaders at the helm – the visionaries – orchestrating a world-class client experience isn't just a goal; it's a symphony where every note resonates with the rhythms of client expectations. And one bad note can leave the rest of their experience in question.


In this post, we dive into the heart of effective communication, probing the pitfalls, and unraveling strategies that transform client interactions into unforgettable narratives.


Part 1: How It Starts


  1. Lack of Personalization This often shows as clients complaining about small issues, jealousy, or other ways to get more attention. In a world where data is harvested at every touchpoint, clients expect personalization that transcends mere token gestures. Address them by name, recall past interactions, and illuminate the path of their journey. As humans, we tend to project our communication and learning styles onto others. Then we wonder why our clients don't understand "simple" things that may be second nature to us. So I urge you to reflect, on how are you personalizing your experiences for clients who want ALL the information before making a decision, versus the client who likes to say, "Just tell me the bottom line and where to sign." A labyrinthine of communication transforms a simple problem into a complex saga. Clients seek clarity and simplicity, not a journey through a maze.

  2. Lack of Proactive Communication "I haven't heard from anyone." "I have been waiting for an update." "What are the next steps?" Clients want to be acknowledged beyond the tumultuous waters - especially when they have little to no idea how your service or industry actually works on the backend. Think of the last time you shopped online, here's a rough list of touch points you received:

    1. Email confirmation email

    2. Order confirmation email

    3. Order ready to ship

    4. Order shipped

    5. If you sign up for delivery alerts, you can get a text for every warehouse your package enters as it makes its way to you

    6. Delivery confirmation

    7. At least 1 feedback email Chances are each of these updates gives you a sense of either control or trust, or both. A company's silence during fair weather and sudden appearances during storms can erode trust. And I don't need to remind you that a client's instant gratification is a precious commodity. If you are not currently over-communicating with your clients, there is room for improvement.

  3. Poor Issue Resolution Picture this: a client's concern like a fragile glass sculpture, entrusted to the care of a succession of hands. Each time it's mishandled or handed off, it chips away at the client's trust, leaving a mosaic of disillusionment. What are we doing to regain that trust beyond just fixing each problem? A cryptic message, an email apology – these are the harbingers of confusion, breeding an atmosphere of exasperation as both parties grapple to decipher each other's intent.

  4. Inconsistent Messaging: Imagine the discomfort of a client discovering that the information they received from two different team members contradicts itself. Or better yet, have you ever been told two different things by team members working under one roof? How did that make you feel? While we focus so much of our efforts on external communication, how often are we over-communicating our Vision, Goals, Initiatives, standards, and expectations with the team? Does each department understand what the others do? Is everyone clear of client stages, roles, and responsibilities? Unless we communicate these to our team members, they will inform each other, and it will be based on their path of least resistance. So as leaders, we need to improve internal communication to impact external communication.


 


Part 2: Competing For Attention

Zappos

This e-commerce giant elevated customer satisfaction to a staggering 87% by embracing a communication philosophy that's available 24/7. Their agents don't just respond; they engage, they empathize, and they treat each interaction as a chance to build a bond. By using simple systems like saying the customer's first name, the agents make angry clients feel heard. And while people don't remember most of what you say, they do remember how you made them feel.

Ritz-Carlton

Renowned for their commitment to perfection, Ritz-Carlton empowers employees to spend up to $2,000 to solve any guest issue. This means, that if an employee finds out a client's taxi canceled their airport ride, a kid lost their toy by the pool, or a guest broke their reading glasses before a big meeting, the employee can create personalized gifting experiences up to $2000, no questions asked. This investment in swift and exceptional service creates stories that echo through the halls of hospitality.


At least 15-20 clients I work with from various industries have rolled out similar programs, usually with lower budgets. Even a $20 budget can go a long way when personalized.


Part 3: Revamping Customized Communication

In this era of digital discourse, a universal truth prevails: effective communication isn't one-size-fits-all. It's a symphony where every note must be precisely tuned to resonate with the individual preferences of each client:

  • Segmented Communication: Just as a conductor arranges instruments in a symphony, segment clients based on their communication preferences. Some prefer the strings of email, while others resonate with the percussion of instant messaging.

  • Proactive Updates: Imagine receiving a note from your bank, a mere day before a planned maintenance outage. Proactive updates aren't just informative; they're a testament to a company's commitment to transparency.

  • Active Listening: Akin to the harmony that's forged between musicians on stage, active listening cultivates genuine connection. Acknowledge not just the words, but the emotions that dance within them. If you haven't already read How to Win Friends and Influence People, this one's an oldie but goodie.

  • Feedback Loop: The cadence of growth is driven by feedback loops that transform critique into evolution. Responding to client feedback with action breathes life into these loops.


Conclusion: A Crescendo of Client-Centricity

The pursuit of excellence necessitates mastery over communication – the vessel through which relationships flourish or wither. Leaders, envision your organization as a grand orchestra, each team member an instrument, each client interaction a symphony. As the conductor of this orchestration, it's within your power to compose an unforgettable experience that resonates through time. Elevate communication from a mere transaction into an indelible narrative that weaves the threads of trust, empathy, and innovation. In the realm of client experiences, it's not just communication; it's a crescendo of client-centricity that echoes beyond the realms of business into the hearts and minds of all who engage.


 

Maya Isharani

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