Just like any healthy relationship, good communication is one of the most important things when managing freelance clients. In my experience, everything you do with a client needs to be very detailed and clearly written out. Everything needs to be in terms that are simple to understand —the more transparent you can be, the better.
I’ve defiantly struggled with communication in the past, and I still do from time to time. It’s not always as easy as you think it should be. The simplest of statements can be misunderstood and get out of hand fast.
I’ve had clients not read full emails or contracts and then get upset down the line when something was missed. I’ve also slacked on keeping clients in the loop enough about their projects which has also caused issues. These are all communication problems that need to be addressed and improved because it’s never a fun experience to go through.
When you have an online business, there are many times you’ll work with people that you never meet face-to-face. The majority of your communication will happen over the phone or by email. I think this adds to the complication of effective communication.
There are a few things that I do now in order to ensure (as best as possible) a smooth communication process with my clients.
Project paperwork– Paperwork can NEVER be skipped. I’ve learned that your quotes, proposals, contracts and invoices have to be as detailed as possible. They also need to be easy to understand and straight to the point. I require the acceptance of the terms by signing all paperwork and sending it back.
Schedules– When projects kick off, I send a schedule that includes milestones and different tasks that will be completed. This gives the client a good idea of how their project will progress and how long it will take to complete.
Updates– After a project has kicked off and their schedule has been sent, I always type up a detailed progress report each week to send to the client. I think this helps keep your client in the know about their project. It also forces you to stay on top of the project schedule.
Emails- I send out a monthly email to my client and prospect lists. I include detailed information about my services and processes. I also include a new topic on web design or digital marketing every month that might help them in their business. The more I can educate the people I’m working with about what I do, the better the experience for both of us.
Listening– Last, but not least, truly listening to what your client has to say and understanding what they want is probably the most important thing. Listen to them during your conversations, reiterate it back to them and execute the project in alignment with your client’s needs.
Even when I follow this process, I still run into issues once in a while. Everyone has a different communication style, which makes it hard to have a positive experience with every client.
All you can do is try to be as clear and transparent about the work that you’re doing. Stay on top of your projects and stay in touch with your client every step of the way.
Do you have any communication tips? Comment below =)
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
Thanks for Reading,