- Promptly returning phone calls.
- Promptly replying to emails and thoroughly addressing all points raised.
- Log on to a scheduled call 2 minutes in advance of start time.
- Hold fast to estimated call end times, or (near scheduled end time) inquire if attendees are free to keep going.
Conform to Their Work Style
Consider establishing communication preferences part of your new client onboarding process. If you establish preferences for modes and times (Call? Email? Skype? Breakfast meeting?) early, then that demonstrates you’re thinking of all the details and willing to take some steps to accommodate the client.
Keep Your Commitments
This concept ties in with respecting someone’s time, but goes a bit further. Consultants can’t accomplish work without input (feedback, tangible assets, consent, etc.) from clients. You can’t expect a client to do their part to uphold a timeline if you’re not toeing the line yourself. This translates to:
- Keeping appointments.
- Promptly getting back in touch with any follow-up items promised.
- Regularly communicate progress made toward an established deadline
Listen for Their Pain Points And Relieve Them
It can be hard to dig down beneath the basic barriers to being more productive we all share – too little time and too many meetings. But if you listen closely enough for underlying root cause, you may just find ways to make your client’s life just a little easier. And that’s just one way to demonstrate your commitment and gain some trusted ground.
Establish Level Ground
- Ask them to thoroughly complete a project brief at the onset of working together. Some people will try to avoid it, saying it takes too much time. Those people will be very hard to satisfy because they haven’t zeroed in on their priorities.
- Get them to talk about projects that they consider having been successes. What variables contributed?
- Get them to talk about projects that failed. What were the communication failures? Administrative or logistic failures? Learn from what worked and what didn’t.
Communicate Clearly and Openly
- detailing phone discussions or in-person meetings where decisions and task assignments were made and outstanding questions raised.
- Maintaining a central repository of messages and associated files. For projects or ongoing assignments with clients (not a simple, quick info exchange),
- Never assuming information/requests sent was received. “Well, I emailed her but didn’t hear back” is weak.
Maintaining solid business relationships does not mean your customers or clients must like you. Everyone wants to be liked. But creating customers and clients for life is more about them trusting you to deliver on your promises.
These are all good things to keep in mind when you are trying to gain the trust of a client or clients. IT professionals that are starting out myself include have a difficult time with gaining trust with there bosses which are basically clients that want to see your work ethic and other things. For the first week of any job you have you must gain some sort of trust with your employer to make sure they can trust you.