Generally, if someone is coming to your organization for a service it’s because they can’t do it themselves. This automatically puts you in the position of “subject-matter expert” and paints a clear picture of the disparity in knowledge between the two of you.
Unfortunately, however, this information gap is often left unaddressed, which can lead to wasted time and money, as well as anger and frustration on both sides. To change this, it is up to the supplier to lead the way, making sure that their client knows exactly what they are getting and how the process will work. This is often easier said than done, but if you’re looking to improve your client education, here are some tips to get going.
How to Educate Clients
- Find out where they are starting from
The first step in client education, and indeed most education, is understanding where the other stands in terms of pre-existing knowledge. To put this into practice, it can be useful to simply ask them, e.g. “Are you comfortable with the mechanics of SEO?”. As your relationship with the client progresses, noting where they are at in terms of technical knowledge can greatly improve product and system roll-out and ease your communication.
- Avoid confusion in your communication
To make sure your message is getting across and that there is full understanding of the processes at play, ensure that the language you use is consistent, easy-to-follow and relative to the client’s interests. Jargon is relatively unavoidable in many fields, but if you are using it make sure the client knows what it means. The same goes for team members, if they’re to be referred to directly, make sure the client knows who they are.
Finally, make sure dates, deliverables and expectations are clearly expressed in concise summaries and signed off on.
- Make learning a constant
Rather than attempting a major educational intervention, which can be awkward and embarrassing for both parties, another approach when considering how to educate clients is to keep the information flow steady from the start. When creating reports or having meetings, take the opportunity to expand on certain points that are crucial to the project.
- Vary your methodologies
The beauty of having so many resources and platforms at hand for sharing knowledge is that you can change things up to make sure they stay interesting and relevant. In terms of client education this could involve using different media to convey your messages. For some clients, a well written case study, with hard facts and clear conclusions might be what’s necessary to get greater buy-in, in another situation an informal video about how a new feature works will grab attention and stick in the mind.
Sharing information and making things clearer for all stakeholders are some of the core benefits that Planview AdaptiveWork can deliver to client-supplier relationships. With insight into the production process and customizable, up-to-the-moment report making, you can ensure that your clients know everything they need to about how your project together is going. To find out more, get in touch with us today to organize a free trial.