It’s crucial to be aware that internal communication is the key element of building long-term success in any industry, especially if it is so demanding. Another inevitable factor of success is proper communication with a client.
It influences not only your company but also your professional and personal life. To find out more about communication with a client and its significance, keep reading.
Project Manager’s perspective
As a Project Manager, you are mainly responsible for the technical side of specific projects. Building relationships with clients isn’t an essential part of your job, but informing them about progress is.
You may be responsible for:
- Preparing regular reports
- Arrangements regarding changes or new functionalities
- Planning and managing projects
- Ensuring that all projects are delivered on time
- Answering the client’s questions and doubts
As a programmer, you may be asked to stay in touch with a client directly to make the whole process much faster and more convenient. And be prepared for this, although it might be distracting and inconvenient. Sometimes you may even have to visit the client personally to work on -site for some time.
You may be responsible for:
- Relationship with a client
- Responding to bug reports and fixing them in accordance with the client’s requirements
- Preparing project documentation
- After-sales technical support
- Suggesting improvements and changes to specifications
How should you talk with a client?
Regardless of your position in the company, some communication guidelines are common and should serve as a signpost. You may even apply them in areas other than business.
- Be respectful and treat him or her as you would like to be treated. Money isn’t everything. Focus on relationships instead.
- Ask a lot of questions about the client’s business. Be truly interested in what he or she has to say. Practice active listening.
- Don’t hide anything, be straightforward and say what you mean or think in a respectable manner.
- If you are going to miss the deadline, inform the client before it happens. Different things happen, and the client will appreciate the information in advance.
- Be helpful even if the project has already been completed. Simultaneously, don’t allow anyone to use your kindness excessively, and set clear boundaries. The client should respect that.
Good communication and its benefits
Why is it even worth working on communication skills to improve them? The answer will be shocking – it’s all about… money.
Yes, they are important because money for your company is like oxygen for a human, but in my opinion, you should focus on the client in the first place.
The list of benefits is longer, and not all of them are countable. Here are just a few of them:
- Increased customer satisfaction, which leads to…
- Long-term cooperation
- Bigger number of recommendations
- A better-organised process, which means less wasted time
- Better clarity with regard to the client’s requirements
Negative impact of poor communication
What if communication with a client is poor? Take a look below at the list of the possible long-term effects of such a situation. What do you think about that? Are they real or are they just the product of my abundant imagination?
Impact on professional life:
- You don’t understand requirements clearly
- Your motivation and morale are low
- Your productivity drops drastically
- You miss deadlines, meetings and calls
- Your clients may be disappointed
Impact on personal life:
- You are stressed out, tired and overwhelmed
- Your in-house relationships get worse
- You lose contact with some of your friends
- You come back home late due to tons of unfinished work
- You don’t have time for yourself and your passions
That was just a pessimistic vision of your future at work and home. How to prevent it from happening? I think that you already know the answer, because you just read about that.
One more piece of advice – read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. It’s a classic recommended by many prominent figures, and it helps to either change the communication style or recall some of these timeless rules.