How To Manage Our Reputation Through Communication With Clients

9 Jan. 2024

Reputation is a complex phenomenon that is formed and changes under the influence of many factors. We have repeatedly talked about the importance of the number and tone of reviews and the need to maintain a positive vibe around the company and brand. However, before you start pumping in reviews and social networks, you should pay attention to the basic tools that are as accessible to you as possible. In particular, how you build communication with the client and how you communicate with them.

Often, for some reason, the aspect of communication is underestimated. Over the past 20 years, the communication sphere has changed, if not completely, then at least in part. New channels of interaction have been formed, and the style and format of the dialogue with clients have changed. And to transfer the same cliches and templates from channel to channel means not getting even a fraction of the possible advantages.

To prevent you from making such mistakes, we have collected some important tips on how to use communication as a tool for managing the company's reputation.

Personalize your first contact

Remember that your interaction with a client starts long before they call or come to your office. It begins to form already at the first touch:

• when a user sees your offer in the search results;
• when your newsletter arrives via email;
• when your advertising post appears in the social network feed.

Any of these events is in itself a communication that gives one or another result: if a person is interested, then positive, and if they scrolled through or closed, then negative. Therefore, it is necessary to try to accurately meet the user's expectations with the first contact; you and your proposals should not only be interesting but also relevant to a specific subject and relevant to their needs.

This implies a very important rule: every client, including (or rather, first of all) a potential one, needs to be addressed in a personalized way. No matter how cool the text of the mailing list or advertising post is, you cannot broadcast it unchanged to the entire audience. Remember: the user found you for a specific query, or advertising algorithms showed your ad based on their past behavior and interest. That is, there is a formulated need, and you need to try to get into it as accurately as possible.

To do this, change the texts of posts and ads, diversify advertising campaigns for different requests, and use different creatives. After all, the clearer the user sees the solution to their question in your offer, the higher the probability of converting them into a client.

Communicate in the client's world

A very important rule is that communication should be built in a way that is convenient for the client. Even if they contacted you in one way or another, there may be more suitable options for them. Therefore, it is better at the first stage to clarify with the person what kind of communication format they would prefer.

The statistics of recent years show that clients especially appreciate the opportunity to communicate with companies through messengers. If you offer clients such an opportunity, then this is a definite plus for your reputation. Messengers can be called, in a sense, an informal channel of interaction, and for a modern person, this is valuable. This is more person-to-person communication than person-to-company communication.

Correspondence will be useful for you as well. This is a very flexible tool that can be launched at any stage of communication with the client.

• accept new applications via Messenger;
• answer the questions of potential clients;
• notify about the stage of order execution;
• activate previous clients by sending out special offers.

It is also important that the history of interactions in Messenger can be saved and easily exported.
Another valuable opportunity of such communication is that it is convenient to summarize communication here, coordinate final tasks, and advise on any issues. From the point of view of reputation management, this shows your concern for the client, your ability to maintain communication with him, and your responsibility for the result.

If you've already built a client base, messengers provide an excellent means to sustain their loyalty through occasional check-ins. Simply remind them periodically, preferably in a familiar tone. Inquire about their well-being and the progress of their projects. People value this attentive approach; being remembered is appreciated. Moreover, such interactions allow you to grasp the current needs of the client, enabling you to present them with new offers in the future.

Choose a communication model for the client

For the interaction to be as effective as possible for both sides, it is necessary to strive not just to smooth out misunderstandings but to prevent them. Moreover, one should always be prepared for such a misunderstanding; various questions from the client, certain disagreements, and the manifestation of emotions on their part can be considered a habitual working moment that almost always arises. Especially if you provide certain services and do not provide a ready-made material product.

The explanation is straightforward: no individual can be an expert in everything. If they seek your assistance, it indicates that your field of expertise is not particularly familiar to them. Consequently, there is a learning curve for achieving the desired outcome, involving a lack of understanding of certain aspects.

Therefore, it would not be superfluous to offer the client a choice of interaction format, for example, like this:

• As a performer, you take on all the tasks and are responsible for the final result yourself. The client only needs to receive periodic reports (and even then, it is not always required) and the result of your work itself.
• The client participates sufficiently in the execution of the order.

To choose a model of interaction, it is important to accurately understand the desires and motivations of a person. Otherwise, one client will think that you want to dump part of the work on them for their money, and another may be convinced that since you do not devote them to the details of solving the task, it means that you are hiding something from him. Both will not have the best effect on your reputation in the eyes of a particular client. However, negative impressions tend to spread quickly, especially in the current age of accessible communication technologies.

Ideally, the format of the work should be discussed at the initial stage of the project. Moreover, you can offer the client the opportunity to test different options so that they can choose the right one. This is again both providing a choice and taking care of the client, both of which will be useful for your business image.

Create an environment where the client is reluctant to "depart" from your services.

Remember that in all cases, it will be cheaper to keep the current client than to find a new one. Therefore, you should work in such a way that the client forms a "dependence" on you (exclusively in the good sense of the word).

However, this does not mean that it is always necessary to make concessions; so long as the client does not leave, mutually beneficial cooperation should be put at the forefront. It is possible to concede on this or that issue if:

• It will not bring a loss to the company;
• This will pave the way for further effective cooperation.

If the client makes more claims than it brings you money, then in this case you should not give in. Therefore, always reserve the right (actual and moral) to refuse service to one or another client and not to take up their task. This is normal and natural.

However, first, you should always try to find a compromise and mutual understanding with the client. In the end, as the immutable rule says, the client is always right. At least because they are not experts in your field.

Therefore, always try to make your work as transparent as possible for the client.

• Show what result they will get;
• Explain exactly what you will do;
• Explain what you will not be able to achieve in the current situation under any scenario;
• Discuss all the nuances of communication by order: date and time, convenient channel, procedure for making edits, and approval of interim results.

Today, in conditions of abundant choice, clients value not just a specific product or service but also a service. Work in such a way that the person is comfortable with you throughout the interaction, and they will definitely remember it. But do not forget about your own benefit; it is hardly worth conceding to yourself at a loss.

Politeness and honesty are the basis of any communication

No matter how often you interact with the client, the following pillars should be the basis of cooperation:

• Always use polite communication. It doesn't matter if you talk on the phone, communicate in Messenger, or use social networks; you have to be polite. But without fawning and excessive unctuousness!

• Punctuality. All incoming requests should be processed as quickly as possible. Answer not only the explicitly voiced question but also those that may arise after reading your answer. That is, it should be as complete as possible. Write strictly to the point. Remember that the addressee has their own affairs. And the sooner they get the information they need, the sooner they will make the final decision.

• Focus on the client's needs. Develop empathy and analytical abilities in yourself (and in your managers) to accurately understand a person's "pain" and offer the best solution for it.

• Agreements must be strictly observed. If you have agreed on a deadline for certain work, then do everything to meet it. If, for one reason or another, it is not possible to meet the deadline, inform the client in advance and be sure to explain what caused the delay.

As a conclusion

A crucial aspect to consider is a thorough assessment of your strengths. Before undertaking any task, it's essential to gauge how well-suited you are for it. If you realize that you don't align with the client's specified conditions, such as budget, deadlines, or expected results, consider presenting a counteroffer. For instance, you might say, "Certainly, we can take on the project, but we propose completing it by a different date." Alternatively, you could articulate, "While we understand the task, it would require a higher budget due to..." or express, "Under the given conditions, it might not be feasible because..."

Always bear in mind that the impression you leave as a performer hinges on the outcome of your work. It's not just about taking on the task; rather, the emphasis should be on how effectively you execute it. Opting to decline an order today with a clear rationale increases the likelihood that the client may return with another request. On the contrary, if you fall short of their expectations, the chances of them seeking your services again become slim.


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