Avoid Negative Questions and Statements
Your customers are more interested in your capabilities rather than limitations. To put it differently, they want to know what you can do, rather than what you can’t do.
Additionally, affirmative sentences are easier to understand. So, for example, instead of saying, “I can’t help you unless you upload a new file,” consider saying, “Please upload a new file so that I can help you.”
Now, suppose you ask a customer, “You don’t have Word installed?” and he answers “Yes.” What does he mean? Yes, you’re right, Word is not installed? Or yes, he has Word installed?
So to avoid such cases, use affirmative language.
Misunderstanding is the major stumbling block for effective customer communication. Because of it you risk to waste a lot of time and nerves with no project results. So, you’d better set the ground clear from the very beginning.
Send a list of questions you already have or anticipate to have. Ask the customer spend some time and explain that these details are important for successful project accomplishment. With all information at hand you can assure high quality work without wasting time and spoiling relationship with the customer.
Protect Your Writings
A word of caution for you: any samples or parts of work you provide to a customer should bear a watermark or other means of identification or at the very least your name and a statement of copyright. Preferably deliver your writing in .pdf, when it’s impossible to copy the content.
This means that you should answer emails quickly, even when an answer seems unnecessary. That is a simple “ok, I’ll get to this later” is much better than no reply at all. Customers feel helpless and vulnerable when they don’t get a word from you. It’s important for them to know that you attend the issue and pay attention to their comments.
However, there’s no need to send tens of emails per day. Your customers aren’t always available online and get confused once they come back to notice a bunch of emails with lost trail of thought. So prepare all your questions you have at some stage of writing and send all of them in a single email. Ask for confirmations or answers on point-by-point basis.
While communicating with clients, always stay professional. Clients are paying for your writing services, and they expect you to conduct your business in a professional manner. However, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know your clients on a more personal level. Simply bare in mind that what you say and write can impact your relationship with the customer.
What’s Your Advice?
What lessons have you learned from your freelance about communication with customers? What tips would you offer to other freelancers?