It is often said that people tend to hire service professionals that they know, like, and trust. Clients entrust us with their life stories, their precious photographs, and personal data on their entire family tree. Developing and maintaining a respectful, professional relationship – that is warm and friendly but not too close – is a key skill that should be considered of utmost importance.
You may find yourself in difficult situations where you will have to deliver some sort of bad news to a client. If you find these situations difficult, stop and think about what it would feel like if you were in the client’s shoes. You will go a long way toward helping the client accept the situation if you approach them with possible solutions to the problem.
Another situation might arise when you feel you must refuse a client’s request, perhaps because you believe it is unethical. Here are some suggestions for having a conversation with the client about this difficult subject:
- Try to keep from expressing judgment of the client.
- Time the conversation for as soon as you learn of the situation as possible.
- Steer the conversation away from blame or accusation.
You may find, however, that a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, and you may have to withdraw from the project.
Another prime opportunity to communicate with clients is when all the work is done (i.e., after you have completed the book, presented them with a family tree, or pulled the records they requested). Soliciting feedback and evaluation is something that many entrepreneurs neglect to do. When you have received evaluations or feedback, be sure to review them in detail. Make note of any positive comments for your Compliments File. Look for suggestions for improvement and follow through on them.
In the course Business Skills: Business Administration you will discover more about keeping your clients happy and growing your business.