Keeping your clients close

The conductor on a local train waits for an express to pass.I love it when I’m in the train and the announcer tells us why we’re not leaving on time or why we need to stop in the middle of nowhere for more than 2 minutes. The simple fact that I now know “why” makes me relax. It makes me realize that there are real people doing their utmost at that very moment to try to get me to my destination.
Preferably on time.
It resizes my world from a line in my calendar to a place where people live together. Yes, I want to get to my meeting but I’d rather wait right here, between an odd farm, an electricity pole and 23 ruminating cows, than to speed on with a good chance to hit another train!

There’s companies that get this and encourage their people to talk openly to their clients and there’s companies that don’t.  I run my own company and I’d really like it to fit the first profile.

If you are a bit like me, you are likely to know times when you’re keeping more balls in the air than you’re comfortable with. I’m not saying you should stay comfortable, I like running and I try to push myself out of my comfort zone regularly, but I do think that my clients do not have to suffer from my tendency to take on a lot of work.

But that’s hard to keep up sometimes. For everybody working on projects larger than just you, there’s times you need to wait for certain tasks to be done, decisions to be made. That’s why we work on multiple projects at the same time.
But when I’m really busy, I tend to focus on nothing else but completing the current project. And then I sometimes forget to keep my client in the loop…

So that’s why I’m setting up Visible Fridays. A returning event in my calendar to make sure my company grows towards the we-get-it profile. I’ve scheduled 1,5 hours on Friday mornings, every week from tomorrow. I will use this time to update my clients on where we stand with their project. This might be a big-fat-obvious to you but to me it’s a small epiphany. Of course they want to get the project done but, like everybody else, they also want to know how things are going and why.

So I’m going to make sure that my clients are not in between of an electricity pole and 23 ruminating cows without knowing why they’re there… I’ll report back in 4 weeks to talk about my experience and what response I got, if any.

So, what do you think is the best way to stay in contact with your clients? Do you think just responding to requests is best or do you actively update them? Let me know in the comments!

photo credit: Thiophene_Guy via photopin cc