One of the most common questions we see from designers would be how to handle communicating in the best way when it comes to certain situations with clients. In episode 32, we talked about how to handle 5 specific awkward situations with clients; however, it doesn’t necessarily take a sticky situation to leave you questioning the way you’re responding.
In today’s episode, we wanted to cover a few ways you can go about improving your client communication, in general, so the next time something comes up you’ll feel more confident in what you’re saying.
Start off on the right foot
We’ve talked about setting expectations and boundaries with your clients, but when it comes to communication this is really important and can totally make or break a project. When you’re starting off on the right foot, clients get the right impression of you and what to expect during their project with you.
Respond to their inquiry within 48 business hours
Obviously the first way you can set a great impression from the get go is to respond to their inquiry in a timely manner. If you take longer than 48 hours, they may assume you’re too busy and find someone else to work with in that time.
Be respectful when turning down a project
If you’re turning someone down because you’re too busy, remember that they could still want to come back to you in the future or share your name with their peers. This reason alone should be why you want to a) actually respond to that potential client and b) be polite in turning down their project. If you’re not sure way to say, try something like this:
Thank you so much for filling out that form! I currently work within a more specific niche, so unfortunately, I don’t think that I’m the right fit for this project. I hope you can understand! If interested, please check out (name here). I truly believe your project would be in great hands with her. Wishing you all the best!
Don’t respond to unhappy clients right away
This is a biiiiig one, and it’s by far the easiest way to improve your communication with clients. We all know that when we get certain types of emails from certain types of clients we can get frustrated and want to send a snappy response back, especially if we’ve had a tough day.
Always, always give yourself time to cool off after reading their email so you can put together a level-headed response to what they’re saying. This will avoid you sending a super confrontational email and either making things worse or actually making the project take a bad turn for both of you. It’s important to remember that the client might not have meant for something to come off in a negative way, so you could be escalating a situation that’s not even bad.
Use canned responses where you can to save time
This is a pretty easy one and will definitely help you move through your inbox a lot faster. Using canned responses is also going to help you avoid getting annoyed when you’re asked the same question for the third time in one day. Canned responses are super easy to setup in Gmail; in fact, here’s a tutorial on how to do it.
I personally have 3 different canned responses that I use regularly:
- Turning the project down
- Asking for more information
- Onboarding clients
- Wrapping up with clients
If you’re including someone’s name in the email or any other project specific information, I recommend bolding the text so you never miss changing those details out. I’ve learned by mistake. #oops
- Create canned responses that you can use to send in a variety of situations to not only save time but help make sure you’re responding professionally
- Email Scripts for Designers – Get my email scripts + more in the Polished Designer Toolkit (use the code ‘podcast’ for 15% off your entire purchase)