“Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.” – Herman Hesse
Public Relations are immersed in managing effective and appropriate communication for optimal client achievement. However, problems continually arise between our coworkers and our clients with the messages we attempt to transmit to one another.
Communication skills are never a given, and we often challenge ourselves in this aspect when approaching a new client, by analyzing their needs. The majority of the time spent on the emergence of new clients is dedicated to creating useful content, crafting persuasive messages, and recognizing potential untapped markets.
Why isn’t more time dedicated to developing a clear communication strategy with the client? Here are some insights as to why making client communication a primary concern.
- Personality: Know your client
It is very rare to find clients that operate with the same ideology. Each experience with a new client is unique. Taking that into consideration, the approach to each client will also have to be unique. Company style and ‘persona’ continuously vary and must be identified for success.
The most effective way to internalize and assess the fabric and framework of a client is to ask questions. Only by asking questions will a PR firm realize their niche in providing the client with what they NEED, no what they MIGHT need. Client interaction creates an illustration of that company’s culture.
- Teamwork: Not a one-person job
Frequently, clients are delegated and distributed to a specific number of employees. Although team members have work-related relationships amongst one another, client accounts are mainly individual and task-oriented. Obviously, the person managing the account will be more aware of the client’s style and needs than their coworkers. It is pertinent that business and personal account information becomes mutually exclusive with the rest of the team. Within reason, the personal information may be confidential. However, this info exchange may include client struggles, concerns, or organizational issues.
By putting your team members on the same page, the team is able to evade the obstacle of miscommunication.
- Efficiency: Style coordination is key
Similar to how every new client is unique and time is taken to learn their ‘persona’, both sides must facilitate and operate synonymously. Companies may have a process and structure of organization and communication that isn’t in line with a PR firm’s modes of operation. The most effective process will be the one that works for both parties.
Flexibility and acceptance are crucial to integrating a reciprocated understanding. For example, some clients prefer a certain communication app over another (Skype vs Zoom) or have specific objectives on how to label and send their documents via email. Being adaptive and adjustable allows more room for success and improvement.
- Rules: Keep it basic and follow them
Although the process of communication is rarely appreciated or noticed, people often lose sight of their intention when they begin speaking to a client. Keeping a list close by of the points and detail one wants to discuss will keep the conversation on track and in check. When the rambling, unimportant tasks and partial information come into play, the conversation will have lost much of its value and the time of both parties. To maintain satisfied clients, one must be able to maintain an engaged conversation, exchanging the necessary information, and wavering from distractions.
Effective client communication is vital to Public Relations success! A PR firm with competent communicators will create a long-term success and development for future clients.