Dictionaries have some great descriptions of what the word 'communication' means, and whilst for website design it can be related to how a website communicates with its readers, the focus of this article is how we communicate with our clients and enquiries about the web design services we offer.
Since my first retail job back in 1993, the need to communicate well with customers and colleagues has been very important. Learning not only how to speak or write to the varying levels of expertise and understanding of each individual or audience, but also to understand what timescales are required each time.
Enquires about my services come in a range of types, from phone calls, emails, social media messages and even the occasional Skype or WhatsApp message. I always strive to respond to enquiries as soon as possible, even if initially it is just to say thanks for getting in touch and I'll get back to them with more details by the end of the day once any current work is finished. For phone calls that I can answer, they would usually involve a longer conversation as the medium of voice is a bit more immediate.
I've been successful in gaining a number of clients based on this initial quick response, being told specifically that I was either the only one who responded at all or that I was much more prompt in my communication than competitors - I do sometimes ask clients why I was successful, and it's always good to get this type of feedback so I can be sure to continue with what works the best.
The same goes when working with existing clients - if I get an email then I will always try to respond as quick as possible depending on the nature of the message. If I'm asked about how to do something, or to check if something is possible on their website, occasionally I may need a little time to find out - in that case I would always reply promptly and let them know I am looking into it and will get back to them as soon as I can.
When I hear positive comments about how well I communicate with clients and respond to enquiries, it makes me wonder how other website design companies manage things. A number of times I have been told that a client wanted their website provider changed because their existing web designer never got back to them or took weeks sometimes to respond.
Seeing how other businesses manage their communication, and how prompt they are with enquiries, provides me with continued inspiration - this is a two-way street though. I see ways to improve my own communication based on doing better than others as well as looking at what others do that works and taking note. Sometimes communication can be an area that drops off when a business is really busy, but for me, it is a critical aspect of running a business and an area that should not be put to the side.
Which reminds me, I have a phone call to make!