Are You Making These Mistakes in Your Client Communication?
How many times have you seen in a Facebook group someone complaining that they sent an important piece of information to their client via e-mail or even in their contract and then come to find out the client didn't read that piece of information? And now you have a problem because you assumed they knew something that they claim they didn't know and the entire experience with your studio is threatened over a miscommunication? It is even worse if it has happened to you.
Now, don't get me started on the whole "people don't read anymore" excuse for this happening. People do read what is important to them but it needs to be clear and concise. The number one mistake I see photographers making in their client communication is that they think everyone interprets and thinks the way they do. That is how photographers write their policies, emails, ads, marketing materials, and more. We all like to think we are great communicators. And I believe we are . . . with people who think and speak like us. The rub comes when we have to communicate with people who use the language differently than we do.
So when these miscommunications happen what is going on? Well, chances are you used a turn of phrase or combination of words that can be questionable at best and confusing at their worst. So I have compiled a list here of 12 things that I have heard in business that don't make any sense and I encourage you to check any written communication with your clients and remove them if needed.
1) "Trust me" - You shouldn't have to remind people to trust you. When you say this you are inferring that there are times when they shouldn't. "To tell you the truth" has the same implication.
2) "No worries!" - This is one that has become popular in recent years. I'll be honest, I hate this phrase. It sounds flippant. My home designer uses this phrase all the time but in a way to dismiss things that are worrisome to me. People worry and have concerns, don't dismiss them. They may not be worrisome to you, but they are valid to your client.
3) "I'm not one to judge." - This is usually used right before a judgemental statement. If you aren't one to judge, then you probably shouldn't judge and leave this statement and the judgmental one that you were going to follow it with, out.
4) "4 PM in the evening" PM literally means Post Meridium which means afternoon. so when you say 4 PM in the evening what you are really saying is "the 4 that is afternoon in the evening" 4 PM is fine.
5) "In my opinion" - don't you usually state your opinion? Do you need to preface it by announcing that this is your opinion? As a business owner and photographer who is an expert in your craft, speak with authority, this phrase can lessen the impact of your discussion because it brings into the conversation that there are other opinions out there they should consider.
6) "Postpone until later" - Postpone literally means to put aside, to delay. Adding the "until later" makes it redundant.
7) "To Be Honest With You. . ." Aren't you always honest with me? Should I be looking out for times when you are and when you aren't? Just leave this one out.
8) "Briefly Summarize" - Summarize is one word that means give a summary. A summary in its definition is brief. No need to use both words.
9) "The general consensus is . . . " A consensus is a generally held opinion. So you don't need the word general.
10) "End Result" - The word result means the end of something. You never hear of the middle result, or the mid result. Again, leave out words that are not needed.
11) "In Closing" - Make sure you use this only at the end.
*****12) "It's an honor to work with you" - An honor is something good that happens to somebody else. You wouldn't say it about yourself. I hear this ALL the time. In fact, I say this myself sometimes. Lesson learned.
Having a good grasp of your chosen language is something that you need if you want your written communication, whether it's email, a formal letter, or an article, to be as clear and concise as possible. Some words and phrases can be are inherently confusing our clients. By understanding what these words and phrases really mean, you will be able to write and communicate more effectively.
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