How to Avoid Miscommunications with Clients Who Aren't Good Communicators

By Melissa Batai

Every self-employed, work-at-home mom has to have one of these.  You know, the one client who you could talk to for 30 minutes on the phone and miscommunications would still occur.  Sometimes talking to these clients can feel like running a maze in a paper bag.  You know the kind of client I'm talking about.

If you deal with one of these clients on a regular basis, you need to have a strategy or both you and the client will grow increasingly frustrated.

If you primarily deal with the client in person or by phone, then when you get to the computer, you might want to send him an e-mail recapping the main action steps that were discussed in your meeting.  Then, if there is any confusion, you have in writing confirmation of what was said.  Just make sure to hold on to the e-mail.

If the client primarily communicates with you via e-mail but doesn't convey her thoughts fully, you may need to follow up by phone or with a Skype chat.

However, if you routinely have trouble communicating clearly with the client, you may have no choice but to let that client go. 

For instance, I have one client who often "forgets" what he has told me over the phone.  Since I've been sending him a follow up e-mail after our phone chat, we haven't had any difficulties.

However, I had another client who I would talk to both over e-mail and the phone, and each time, I was confused as to what tasks she actually wanted me to complete.  Try as I might, I simply couldn't understand what she was asking. 

In retrospect, she was swamped at her job and had many different projects she was working on at once.  Her thought process seemed to be as scattered as she was with many different projects, so after two months, we amicably parted ways.

Have you had to deal with a client who couldn't communicate well?  If so, what strategies worked for you?

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