How we speak and interact with clients.

It’s critical that we follow some general guidelines when working with clients to maintain an even presentation of the company to clients. These guidelines keep our brand strong and consistent, and also ensure that we are providing the best possible service.

General Guidelines

Here are some things that you should keep in mind during virtually every interaction:

  • Keep it professional, but not overly formal or cold. Have fun when communicating!
  • Always stay positive and helpful
  • Don’t be afraid to throw in an exclamation point or smiley face occasionally! 🙂
  • Always say please and thank you
  • Avoid jargon and provide explanations in simple terms
  • Apologize any time a client perceives that something when wrong or wasn’t done properly. It doesn’t matter if it’s your fault! Saying things like “I should have been more clear, sorry about that!” goes a long way.
  • Make sure you address every question and thought from a client. Not doing so causes delays and makes us look unprofessional.
  • Be proactive! Anticipate questions or points of confusion and handle them in the first email. You want to minimize the back-and-forth. Sometimes a single additional email can cause a delay of a whole business day!
  • In general, it’s better to act on an ambiguous request and ask for confirmation that you’ve done it correctly than to ask for a clearer explanation and wait for their response. You probably are understanding correctly and that way you’re much faster and save an email.
  • Always be specific, thorough, and easy-to-follow. A link is better than a description; a numbered list of questions is better than a long paragraph; and screencasts and screenshots are better than written tutorials.
  • Use numbered lists whenever possible. Makes it much easier to track the conversation.
  • Re-sharing a link makes things easier for the client, so you should do it. For example, when making changes to a page and requesting review, include the link to that page again even if they already have it. You don’t have to do it every time but occasionally it’s very useful to the client!

When a client isn’t happy

Sometimes things go wrong. How you handle them is critical! You must remain positive and helpful and do whatever you can to solve the problem quickly. Here are some guidelines when speaking with the client:

  • Never, ever get short or angry with a client. You can BE angry or frustrated, but that should never come across in your emails or conversations.
  • Always keep things apologetic and helpful
  • Acknowledge the problem, demonstrate you understand, and then explain what you’re going to do to fix it
  • Fast turnaround times are your best tool for making clients happy! Fix it immediately.

Conclusion – Empathy

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to have empathy for the client. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand where they’re coming from. Most are business people who care deeply about their businesses and by extension websites. They come from varying levels of technological skill and understanding. They want a great website and they want it to be as easy as possible. Always be thinking about the client and how you can make things easier and better for them!