9 effective ways to improve client communication

Smart practice

In a data-rich digital environment, targeted, thoughtful communication with clients can create great benefits.

Good communication can cut through the flood of information that bombards clients in a world of constant connectivity. Before communicating with your clients ask yourself:

  • what does my client need or what do they value and,
  • how can I deliver that to them in a way they can understand?

Once you’ve answered these questions, the best way to ensure your message stands out in the crowd is to use your expertise and unique insights to meet specific client needs. Combine these with some emotional intelligence and your client communication will be much more effective.

If you carefully select the most appropriate channel, hone your messaging skills, and carefully consider your client needs, your communication skills will significantly improve.

Follow these nine simple tactics to hone your communication skills and strengthen your client relationships.

1. Establish a human connection

You can be informal and still be professional. Ultimately you’re one person talking to another and reminding a client they’re dealing with a human being helps break down a barrier.

2. Be sensitive to your client’s comfort zone

On average, 78% of Australians between 14 to 65 have internet access at home, but age is still the greatest barrier to using digital services.

But less than half of all Australians aged 65 and over have a home internet connection – but that doesn’t mean they’re not engaging with online services.1

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 65% of Australian men and more than 40% of Australian women use internet banking services.

With the increasing emphasis on digital communication it’s important to survey older clients to make sure you’re engaging with them effectively.

3. Leverage your company brand

The company you represent has its own style and brand ethos. Use it to your advantage. If your business is about trust and dependability, use language that reflects this, such as “consistent” and “reliable”. Likewise, if excitement and breaking barriers is what you want to emphasise, reflect this in the words you choose. Words like “ground-breaking” and “pace-setting”, for example.

4. Understand communication channels… and when to use them

Technology unlocks new ways of communicating, but traditional avenues are still good options. Below is a list of ways to contact clients, with benefits and recommended use of each:

Email (eDM)

Cost-effective, scalable and targeted, but it’s important to achieve the right tone in the message and include a clear “call to action”.

Direct mail (DM)

More expensive than email, but has the advantage of deeper penetration and greater uptake than eDM. Ideal for educational information.

SMS

Save these for times when a simple response is required.

Presentations

For face-to-face interaction. Slides should be visually interesting and reinforce the words spoken by the adviser, not repeat them.

Landing pages

When a client or potential client has clicked through to your website via eDM, banner ad, promotion button or DM, make sure you keep their attention with a clear purpose and “call to action”.

Video

Animated video is ideal for demonstrating how to use a new service or explaining the revised steps in a company process, for example. In addition to this, video case studies using testimonials can add credibility to the benefits of a product or service. Both options are expensive, however when cleverly realised, video communications can be extremely effective and worth the investment.

Statements

These are usually reviewed thoroughly and present an opportunity to include a personal or campaign specific message.

5. Prioritise quality over quantity

Ask plenty of questions when you meet a client to gain a clear understanding of their goals. Armed with this knowledge, you can provide targeted communications that specifically address their concerns and needs.

6. Use your marketing team wherever possible

Marketing staff are trained to deliver company communications that are on message. Run your intended communications by them to ensure it’s compliant and includes the most up-to-date information.

7. Add a personal touch

When a client feels understood by their adviser, the relationship can flourish. In the age of digital communication, a handwritten note can go a long way. Sending them a handwritten note with their report can strengthen your relationship.

Likewise, knowing a client’s interest in a certain area and sending them relevant information will reinforce the knowledge that you’re invested in them.

8. Use your knowledge to everyone’s advantage

An adviser is in the unique position to judge how best to engage with clients. Only the adviser knows which client will be receptive to highly technical, data-driven analysis and who would prefer their communication in layman’s terms. Make sure you tailor your engagement based on your client’s preference.

9. Follow up promptly

Lastly, it’s vital to close the loop on communication with clients. A considered follow-up email, written in thoughtful sentences, is likely to be better received than a list of bullet points. Likewise, a short handwritten note on top of printed material will land better than a volley of non-relevant information communicated via email.

If you carefully select the most appropriate channel, hone your messaging skills, and carefully consider your client needs, your communication skills will significantly improve.

Better Communication Toolkit

A handy reference guide to effective client communications

Download the guide

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