Last time I talked about dealing with bad reviews. While it’s impossible to please everyone one hundred percent of the time you can hit ninety nine without too much trouble. Problems, and therefore bad publicity, normally come down to a breakdown in communication. One party heard one thing while the other another and no one bothered to clarify. The proactive approach, in its simplest form, is taking the time to ask if everyone understands what’s going on.
Take a few extra moments to make sure the client is on the same page as you. Ensuring that they know what you’ll be doing for them, how long it should take, and the approximate cost, will go miles in fostering trust. Not only that, if you want to take a wiff from the cynical bucket, if they are unsatisfied then you do have the correspondence to prove that you did walk them through your whole process.
Don’t Worry About Sounding Stupid
Being professional isn’t the same as being obscure. I’ve seen it and odds are you have to, people hiding behind large words and complicated terms. My suspicions are that they are doing this to sound professional or smart, and for the most part it works. However, like a software engineer explaining a website development project solely in PHP, there’s a chance that your customer won’t understand a word. That’s how miscommunications occur.
Instead explain everything in the simplest terms possible. This, by the way, does not mean that you think your customer is stupid. For all you know they have fifty things to do that day, their phone has been ringing since 8am, and they are going to have to stay late to finish it all. They are distracted and will ignore complicated overtly lexiconic terms.
Being straitforward does not make you sound stupid nor does it imply that you think they are. I mean, don’t talk down to them like a child, but speak like they know nothing about your business; that’s why they are hiring you right? Simply acknowledge the fact that you two are getting started, getting to know each other, and speaking simply is the best way to make sure you’re on the same page.
There are hundreds of ways to go about this. Send an email after you’ve finished work, call them to remind them, even train them on how to use review sites. What’s important is that they do it themselves. Users respond to originality and honesty. Even if you truly believe the work you just finished was the best you’ve ever done, you won’t be able to make it sound as happy as the actual client. Writing your own reviews can come across as dishonest, giving credence to the bad one written by an outside person.
And Another Thing
These are just tips, good practices, a starting off point, something to get you thinking. You understand how your clients act and will know how to foster communication. Maybe a phone call, well worded email, or tweet will do the job. For the most part being proactive is about being considerate. Talk to your clients, treat them equally, and make sure both of you know what you’re getting from the business relationship.