Jo Stephens is the CEO of Law Firm Sites, Inc. She has worked for over 15 years helping lawyers with website design and SEO marketing.
If your job requires you to communicate back and forth with clients via email, you know how important crafting a great response is. A single response can make or break the relationship between you and your client, so these communications shouldn’t be written haphazardly. On the other hand, you don’t need to spend your whole afternoon creating the perfect response. Here are a few tips you can lean on when responding to client emails.
If you have to choose between responding too often or not responding enough, I suggest always going with the former. Even the shortest of responses and updates can help build trust in your services. In fact, 90% of customers want a response immediately (meaning a response in 10 minutes or less).
For example, if a client emails a request, respond with “I am on it for you” as soon as you can. This type of response does two things: First, it lets the client know that their request is important to you. Second, the client can rest easy knowing that their problem or question is being handled.
After you complete the task, be sure to email the client again sharing that the request has been completed. As a rule of thumb, a client should never have to come to you for an update.
2. Offer ideas and suggestions.
You are an expert—that’s why the client is paying for your services! Even if your suggestion or idea wasn’t solicited, clients are likely to value your opinion. Of course, be sure to bring up your ideas in a way that’s uplifting and positive.
Here are some examples of suggestions for clients I’ve seen in the website design services world.
• “I’m also not loving this logo—I think something with your firm letters might look better.”
• “Testimonials are extremely important for your homepage. Is it okay if I create a section for those?”
• “There might be too much content on your bio. I think we need to condense that to make it easier to read.”
In addition, a great compliment can go a long way.
• “I love the firm photos—you guys did a great job!”
3. Keep your promises.
If you say you’re going to have something done, then you need to have it done. It’s that simple.
However, if and when a delay comes up, it’s crucial that you communicate that with the client and give an update on when they can expect their project/task to be completed. Especially if you’ve already set up a pattern of over-communication (see the first tip), they’ll likely not stress over whether or not you’ll deliver. They already know you will.
4. Be relatable.
When computer pixels and thousands of miles separate you and your client, it can be easy to forget they’re a real person. The same goes for the other way, as well. Without a face and a voice to connect you to, it can be difficult to remember that you’re human.
If you want to combat this problem, make a specific effort to be relatable. You might want to occasionally include some “small talk” in your email greetings. You could ask how the weather is, how the client’s local sports team is faring or ask if they have fun plans for the holidays. Even a simple “Happy Friday” can make you seem more real to the client.
Ultimately, your goal is to form relationships with your clients. If you can create a great relationship with a client, I’ve found they are more likely to continue paying for your services.
5. Respond positively.
Finally, you want to make sure your client doesn’t feel like they’re burdening you. There’s nothing worse than asking for a request from a service or professional that you pay for, only to get a negative-toned response.
Instead, always opt for the positive: “Of course! That’s not a problem at all,” or “We are always happy to help” are great go-to phrases you can use.
Your clients will remember how you responded to their questions, concerns and requests, so make sure you’re giving the best impression possible.