8. Be a Standout with Clear Communication
Communication can make or break the relationship you have with your clients. Do an outstanding job and you’ll become the bar they expect every other service provider to reach. Do a less-than-stellar job and they’ll also remember you…but not for the reasons you want.
No matter what role you play for your clients, they want to know the status of the projects you’re working on. And if you’re the visionary in your business, communication may not be where you excel.
That doesn’t mean you can ignore it. It means you need to find ways to support your clients, regardless of your own communication style.
This week on the podcast, I’m sharing two ways to do this. It’s something I do in my business and it’s been a game-changer for me. Listen in!
Links and Resources:
Tracy Jepson 0:10
Whether you’re looking to grow or ready to scale and so navigating the challenges you face as a business owner are hard, and knowing which steps to take next can be overwhelming. Each week on Beyond the bank account, I will walk you through overcoming the overwhelm and confusion around your business. From the bottom line and beyond. I’ve worked behind the scenes and in the weeds of small businesses, including several my own for over 20 years, and I have a personal mission of guiding owners to have profitable sellable businesses while living the life that you’ve always dreamed.
Tracy Jepson 0:43
So I’m in a little different place recording of the podcast today. And let’s be honest, my podcast manager is probably going to kill me and tell me to never record this way again. But here we are, because sometimes getting it done is better than perfect. It’s when I was in middle school, my church youth group went to a weekend retreat. It was an overnight camp about an hour away from my hometown, you know, one of those like, where you get to spend the weekend away from your parents, and hang out with all of your friends and get super inspired and then go back to real life on Monday morning. Well, now thinking about it, it seems an awful lot like what makes me go to business conferences. It’s basically adult church camp, because you know, somebody’s gonna be preaching on the stage and lifting you up for the next six months. But I’m at this church camp, and my best friend’s there. And we’re just so excited for a weekend away from our parents, so we can hang out with the older kids at our church and find all the cute boys. Because let’s be honest, at that age, that was probably the only reason I was going to church camp. And man, oh, man, we find the jackpot. So we’re sitting in this auditorium, you know, like when you get somewhere in a big crowd and you start doing this like visualization amongst the crowd, see who’s got their notebook out salsa, likely the people who are in the front row, who’s sitting by who, if anyone’s checking you out, again, are 14 year old girls, like let this be part of the story. So anyhow, we lock sights on these two guys that looked super disinterested in this opening session, and they look so cool. With their 90 skater jeans and their Green Day shirts, like the entire outfit had to have been from GadZooks. And if you don’t know what gadZooks were one, you’re probably not as old as I am. But to definitely google it, it was the epitome and the mecca of fashion in the 90s. So after the session is over, we kind of had been I flirting with these boys for like two hours. And it’s time to depart the auditorium into this little gathering place with like super cute fireplaces and stuffed chairs. And it’s lovely. So we find the skater boys and they’re over there talking to a group of girls, which immediately we decide that we hate because if our sights are set on these guys, and they’re talking to somebody else, it’s not our favorite thing.
Tracy Jepson 2:47
So anyway, we walk up we say hello everyone introduce themselves and the awful girl awful girls who turned out actually to be super nice are actually from their church. And we’re also on the prowl for their own weekend puppy love, so they just exited stage left pretty quickly. All of a sudden, we’re in the midst of this super awkward teenage get to know you, session and my best friend. And I realized that we don’t actually understand a single word, these guys are speaking to one another. They’re in this like foreign language conversation. The only way I can describe it is going to be verbal cursive with the fluency of a pastor teaching the 10 commandments. Were kind of looking at each other. We’re looking at the guys, we don’t know what to do. I mean, are they talking about us? Are they made fun of us? Do they like us? Do I have something in my teeth? We didn’t understand. And it wasn’t clear. But we did know one thing. We were super confused. Now, Tracy, what is your ninth grade crush have to do with my business? The number one problem in client retention is based around communication. When we don’t clearly communicate with our clients, we create confusion and they will look for another provider almost immediately, who are going to give them clarity around their problems. In general, most service providers aren’t communicating with their clients the way that they expect that we will, their idea of under or over communication looks very different than ours. Can you imagine the frustration of not knowing the status of a project, how it must feel to wonder if somebody is working on your numbers or website or whatever else it is that they hired you to do? I have this client he was working with a CPA to get his taxes filed and incent over all of his information. And you it’s gonna be a few weeks before he’d heard anything. I mean, it was prime tax season and in general, that can take a little while. But weeks went by than two months and he hadn’t heard anything from a CPA. He had sent emails, no response called no response. So out of frustration, he engaged another CPA to file His return. He got extended had everything taken care of in a couple of weeks. all was said and done. About a month later after his return was filed. He got a letter in the mail from the original CPA firm that he’d been working with. His CPA had died in a car accident. He hadn’t been communicated with because his CPA wasn’t alive. Please don’t make your clients wonder if you’re Live? And if you aren’t, make a plan to communicate that, too.
Tracy Jepson 5:04
So how do we improve? How do we communicate with our clients in a way that keeps them apprised of the status of their job and not overwhelming ourselves and our staff with constant communication that’s required to keep competence with our clients. Now, in my business, we use a number of different ways to communicate. And during our onboarding, this is the first place that we ask the client, how do you like to communicate. And while I fully believe that we teach our clients how to communicate with us, if we are using a tech stack that our clients are simply not familiar with, and they’re not going to pay for, such as slack or something else, where they can have a dedicated channel directly to us, I use a lot of Voxer, with clients, and some clients just aren’t super comfortable with it. So when one thing that we don’t teach our clients how to do is use a new communication platform, if they want to call us they call us if they want to text us, we have a number for that. And no, it is not my personal cell phone. If they want to use Slack, we invite them to our channels, we have a number of ways that we’re willing to communicate with clients, because we want to have the first line of defense, when it comes to needing a statement or something else from our clients. We have to know how to reach them best. And they have to know that the way that they connect with us, we’re going to hear them and get their message as well. We also use a ton of video in our organizations. So again, sending an email clients don’t necessarily know how to take it, if you’re giving them hard news, they may take it as super passive aggressive, they may take it as they’ve done something wrong. We want to communicate with clients so that way, there is no question on what the tone of your voice is either. So I really do encourage people, even if you don’t love being on video, you can just make it a shot of your screen.
Tracy Jepson 6:41
But I want to make sure that you’re communicating all of the tone and all of the emotion to your client. So they know exactly what position they are in for something. Another way to improve improve client communication is hire somebody dedicated to communication. We have that person in our office, and oh my gosh, I could not live without her. She is seriously a godsend. And my clients think so to sitting in my inbox would be a whole bunch of unread emails if it weren’t for her. And my clients know that I am usually the stopgap for, or I’m usually the stopping point for something that should be going on. If it’s going to hit my inbox, I’m not going to be looking at it. And so we have a dedicated person who reads my email communicates with clients. She is the one who is coordinating all of the chaos. And again, I couldn’t work or live without her. So when we were sitting at that church camp, their communication loves such an impact on us that we still talk about and even on occasion use the verbal cursive. They taught us how to say it. They taught us what all of the meaning and how to put the words together. And it was actually a super fun little language. But can you imagine if your communication left such an impact on the client, they use you as a benchmark for every engagement that they have going forward. That the way that you and your team communicate with your clients can be so sticky that it changes your industry.
Tracy Jepson 8:07
If you have questions or want to know about communication with your clients or want to get vetted out on a couple of tech stacks that we use, or any other video platforms, that kind of thing, check out my website, Tracyjepsen.com/podcast and look at all the resources that we have regarding communication. And if you have questions, don’t forget to drop those on that site as well. Tracyjepsen.com/podcast I will see you next week. Thanks for listening to beyond the bank account, you can check out the notes of today’s shows. For links and resources we discussed. Just check your app or visit Tracyjepsen.com/podcast and you can catch all the past episodes. And don’t forget to subscribe to the show. Just search for beyond the bank account on Apple podcast, Spotify, or anywhere else you listen. And if you can take the time to drop us a like or a thumbs up even a five star review. It really helps us to know what you’re enjoying about the show and it’ll help newless listeners find us more easily. And lastly, do you have a question or a challenge that you need help with? Send me your questions through my website Tracyjepsen.com/podcasts and I’ll be answering all of your questions via email and on the show.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
7. What Can You Try Today?
6. How to Pay Yourself for a Thriving Life
5. Find and Live Your Business’s Core Values
4. Overcome Entrepreneurial Loneliness with Connection
3. Having Sticky Pricing Conversations With Clients
2. Is Your Pricing Aligned with Your Life?
1. Managing Your Boundaries as a Business Owner
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