Get To Know Your Clients
Have you ever asked yourself why telecommunications companies are working so hard to provide new and better ways to keep in touch? The simple answer is: “People want more effective ways to talk to each other.” We know this to be true because the goal of any business is to make money and to that end companies evaluate consumer demand. They only make products people want – and the flood of communications technology on the market indicates that they clearly want to “talk” to each other.
It is important that contractors do not forget that clients want to talk. Remember, at its core, a business is really just a group of people working together for a common goal and like any people they thrive on intrapersonal relationships. Everyone wants to feel that they have a special relationship with the person on the other end of the phone, video, e-mail, text, or social media line. When clients feel important, like a friend instead of just a customer, a relationship develops. A casual water-cooler camaraderie forms between client and contractor that reveals much more about the project than can ever be learned from a Statement of Work.
Fostering a friendly relationship with a client allows the contractor to understand what they want to achieve from any project – not just in terms of deliverables but what goals they personally envision the project meeting. Additionally the contractor will better understand not only what the project should do now but how they envision the project evolving in the future. A friendly five minute conversation on the phone can eliminate dozens of back and forth help desk tickets and clarification e-mails. As these tickets fly back and forth the cost increases and so does the level of frustration on both ends.
Contractors, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk to your client. They are people just like you. Learn about their families and their vacations – become friends with them. Don’t fake it. Really get to know them, not to pull information from them, but to be their friends. If you’re faking it clients will know and it will be worse for you than if you kept it formal. If you are not a friendly person and have no desire to know your clients then you shouldn’t be dealing with people to begin with. Instead, you should be in Storage B with Milton and his Swingline stapler.