Software developers often care less about the client than the code.
After all, most of them think that client relationship is a management thing and don’t like doing it at all.
I’ve unfortunately met many full-time and freelance software developers that hate person they live off and they often refer to as “Clients From Hell”.
This is the core problem of each developer writing an email or performing any kind of communication with the client.
Luckily there is an easy way to solve it.
The trick is to understand what client really needs.
They are just a person in need of help and they found you.
Out of all people in this world, and out of all developers they decided to work with you.
Sure they can be unclear about their requests and technology, but it’s all due to a fact that they are not so much into technology.
They just need it, and they called you to help them out.
The best way to help someone is to ask the right questions and communicate as clearly as possible.
So, to be clear and have the best possible communication, follow the list of simple rules and you will succeed in having a great communication with your client.
1. Make Only One Point Per Email
Although it is easier to send one email with multiple points you’d like to discuss, it is better keeping them focused on one point.
Such emails can be observed as to-do items and answered really quickly upon getting an answer.
Long emails that require multiple answers take longer time to resolve and to be responded to.
The reason for this is that all items must be solved in order to respond to all.
2. Ask a Question at the End
If you need an answer to your email, ask a question at the very end of your email.
This will create an urgency for a client to respond to you as the most fresh memory of the reading process is focused on your question.
3. Be Specific About What You Need
If you need something – be specific about it.
Don’t beat around the bush and don’t decorate too much.
This way – you will ensure the client will know what is the purpose of your email.
4. Open With the Point
When looking into any inbox, it is easy to notice that every user can see a few things.
From who they got the email, the subject and beginning of the email.
If you begin with the point (I am considering that your subject will be as clear as possible) client will easily know what to expect and might not leave email to open it later.
5. Keep It Short and Simple
Nobody has time to read long emails.
So, before you catch yourself in writing an essay, ask yourself how would you write this very same email if you were writing from mobile device?
With small and uncomfortable keyboard, possibly on the go, we don’t have time to write so much.
We stick to the point, and keep the communication simple.
The fact is, the more simple it is, it will be easier to avoid misunderstanding.
Less is really better.
6. Be Personal
There is nothing worse in communication when you’re pretending to be something you’re not.
You are a person so be one. Be human and be direct.
If you’re personal, other will be able to recognise and classify you and they will consider you easier to communicate with. It will end on mutual benefit.
7. Break Into Paragraphs
The last point is that you should make your email easy to read, just like you should make content readable.
Give it some white space and chance to recognise different sections and people will appreciate it.
Finally, you should remember that even though your clients might be somewhat hard to work with, you still have their respect for what you do, and you should respect them for trying to understand more of what you do.
So, next time you’re writing an email, use these advises to have better communication.
In the end, it’s all about understanding each other, isn’t it?