One of the key skills of customer service is being able to effectively communicate with your clients! But how often should you be in touch? Over my career (read: forever! Ha), I’ve worked hard to develop a strong communication plan to keep my clients happy and to keep my business running smoothly. Here’s the schedule that works for me:
A project can last from several months to even a couple of years, so it’s important to keep your clients on top of the latest info. I like to send out weekly Friday emails to every single current client. It gives them an update on construction, changes to orders, current timelines, and where we are in the process. I want them to feel like they have the latest information and that I have a handle on every detail. These emails are especially important during that “quiet time” when you’re waiting for furniture to ship! It’s a perfect time to let them know that things are still in great shape on their project.
Even though I’m in touch weekly with emails, I still have phone calls with those clients at least once a month (if not more) so my clients feel heard. There are so many things that can come up during a conversation that you can miss in an email. The calls are a great time to be sure that the client is happy and feels that the project is under control. Phone calls are also more personal and are great for building relationships in a way that emails just can’t. If any new decisions are made on a phone call, though, be sure to follow up with an email so you have a record of the new information. During construction, I find my monthly calls turn into weekly calls- and I include the contractor on the call. I find I can never be too careful!
I love to meet face-to-face with my clients, especially on site visits. It’s exciting when they can see things coming to life in their project! But their time is valuable, so I try to keep any in-person meetings as quick and efficient as they can be. The frequency will depend on your client and his/her schedule, but once the project is underway, you want to have site walkthroughs whenever their are important decisions to be made and when you have something really great to show them.
Important Contact Points
There are of course other important points when you should be in touch with your client. If something goes wrong, it’s key to get on the phone with your client as soon as you can. And be sure you have a solution to offer! If the issue is your fault, be sure you apologize, too. Taking responsibility right away builds trust with your clients. Also, if you anticipate that there will be a lot of questions, or if you have to explain something complicated, a phone call is the best way to communicate. And most importantly, don’t forget those birthdays and holidays! They’re a great time to reach out and let your clients know you care.
After the Project Is Over
So the project is over, but that doesn’t mean you should drop all communication! In fact, staying in touch with former clients is critical. I like to check in about 6 months after we’ve completed their home, and then again after a year. I ask them how they’re enjoying their home and I let them know how much I loved working with them. After that, I try to reach out at least every year to former clients. You never know when they might be thinking about moving, buying a vacation home, or needing a refresh.
The most important thing is to have a client communication plan and to stick to it! Download my free by clicking here Client Communication Log!